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There is, furthermore, to come back to your original question, Mr. Bates, the fact that the District government pays the Federal Government, the Department of Justice, for the care and keep of District of Coulmbia prisoners in Federal 'institutions.
Mr. BATES. Such as what?
Mr. CLEMMER. Such as a District of Columbia offense committed here in the District. A man is too criminalistic for care in our institutions; he may be shipped to Atlanta or Alcatraz At Alcatraz the cost is $5 a day-exhorbitant.
Mr. BATEs. To the District?
Senator Cain. Did I hear you say it is exhorbitant? You would not mean it in the sense of being exhorbitant, it is just a lot of money we have to pay ?
Mr. CLEMMER. That is true.
Mr. BATES. Every prisoner from the District. So if he is there 365 days of the year, you will have a bill of around $1,700 ?
Mr. CLEMMER. If he is there 10 years it goes up to some $18,000.
Mr. CLEMMER. It is about $1.92 a day now. In Atlanta they have 2,400 men in 8 or 9 acres. The more men condensed in the area the cheaper it is to care for them.
Mr. Bates. I suppose the reason they send them to a Federal institution is because we have not any, what you would call State prisons
Mr. CLEMMER. That is true, of an adequate type.
Mr. CLEMMER. We have the jail in the city with about 700 men today.
Mr. Bates. And the maximum sentence to be served at that insti. tution is what?
Mr. CLEMMER. That is simply a holding institution. We have in the country at Lorton, Va., 30 miles from the District, a reformatory with about 1,100 men.
Mr. BATES. What is the maximum age for that reformatory?
Mr. CLEMMER. No. We have a workhouse also near the reformatory with some 600 men there.
Mr. BATES. What do you call that?
Mr. CLEMMER. Occoquan workhouse. We also have a women's reformatory with 150 to 200 women.
Senator Cain. Who makes the decisions covering one of your District of Columbia residents who is charged with being a criminal going to Atlanta or to Alcatraz?
Mr. CLEMMER. The men committed to my jurisdiction are actually committed to the Attorney General. The Attorney General through the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons makes the decision. Actually the decision is made routinely, except in controversial cases.
Senator Cain. You do not have many in Alcatraz, do you?
Mr. CLEMMER. The District is spending $250,000 a year to care for District of Columbia prisoners in Federal institutions. Since last year the Federal Government through the Department of Justice, is beginning finally to pay the District government for the care of Federal prisoners held in District institutions. That will come out, it now appears, to be about $160,000 a year.
Senator Cain. It has been a one-way street ? -
Mr. BATEs. What is the determination between a District prisoner and a Federal prisoner?
Mr. CLEMMER. Thinking of the District as a State for a moment an offense committed in a State that would go to a State penitentiary is a District offense. That is, an offense such as a robbery of a post office, that would be a Federal offense.
Senator Cain. What fee would be charged back against the Federal Government?
Mr. CLEMMER. We charge them our per capita fee, which now is about $2.40 a day.
Mr. Bates. Has there been any objection to that?
Mr. BATEs. Do you have an institution that you commit, say, firstdegree men to?
Mr. CLEMMER. We send men whose criminality is not too advanced and who are more or less adaptable to our reformatory.
Mr. Bares. Let us take a life prisoner.
Mr. CLEMMER. Depending on the degree of criminality. If he is not an escape threat, not psychopathic, we will handle him. We have thirty-some lifers at Lorton reformatory.
Mr. BATES. The total number of prisoners is what?
Mr. CLEMMER. It is. That is why I want to come to this point since an earlier comment this morning, when you pointed out that the appropriated portions of the dollar going to correctional work in the District are a good deal higher than your 13 cities, that is so because we probably have more prisoners and operate more institutions.
Mr. Bates. That is because the crimes incidence is much higher?
Mr. CLEMMER. Higher than those other 13 cities, and also because we actually run an institution similar to a State penitentiary, you see. Most cities do not, they will run a jail and a workhouse. We run a jail, two workhouses, a semipenitentiary, and a reformatory.
Mr. Bates. I presume, however, that there may be some basis, and yet there may not be, that the Bureau of Census computed these figures on. I do not see how they can possibly do it. Maybe there is some correlation and maybe there is none.
Mr. CLEMMER. I am sure there is none.
Mr. Bares. Of course, the relative number of what we call local prisoners in State institutions is rather small.
Mr. CLEMMER. Yes.
Mr. BATEs. Let us take a population of say, 41,2 million people in my State. We have 2,500 people in the State institutions. So the relation, I think, is probably incidental, small, but you have a high incidence of crime here and that is the controlling factor to your penal costs?
Mr. CLEMMER. Yes.
Senator Cain. To what do you credit the high incidence of crime in the United States, in about 20 words, without laboring the point?
Mr. Bates. There has been a diminution of 32 percent in 4 years. There is a considerable improvement here. That is 1945 over 1941.
Mr. CLEMMER. Do you insist on that?
Mr. CLEMMER. It is very complicated. Part of it is the shifting population.
Mr. BATEs. I suppose a lot of them are floaters.
Mr. CLEMMER. A considerable portion are, especially of our misdemeanor type, the men who are arrested for drunkenness. Our workhouse, where we have 600 men, about 400 of them are there on short terms for overintoxication.
Mr. BATES. Which leads to other things, of course, does it not!
Mr. CLEMMER. Which frequently does, of course, all sorts of things. I can comment a good deal more at length if you wish.
I have given you the substantial facts. Some of the principles that Mr. Huff mentioned yesterday; I do not need to repeat them. For example, in the 10-hour week, where it took two or three men to mani a post, it now takes four or five. You understand that.
Senator Cain. Yes. Mr. BATEs. You are going to give the cost of your institutions in 1937 and 1947, are you not?
Mr. CLEMMER. Our total cost in 1937 was $1,300,000. Mr. BATES. And $2,200,000 ? Mr. CLEMMER. Yes: $2,200,000 in 1947. The personnel is up almost 100 percent.
Mr. BATEs. Now I think we would like to have you elaborate on why the per capita cost has gone from 89 cents to $2.40 per day. That is more than it cost to take care of our people in our welfare department. I think the evidence here yesterday was that windows and dependent children get about the same sum of money a week.
Mr. CLEMMER. The cost of that is the cost of watching them, the cost of custody. That is where the big bulk of it is. As I said, the increase in this department is due to three primary things—an increase in personnel, an increase in the pay of the personnel, and an expanded plant.
For example, at the jail here in 1935 and 1936 they were putting eight and nine men in a cell, like sardines. It was a most unhealthy situation.
Mr. BATES. Eight or nine in one cell? Mr. CLEMMER. In a large cell. Mr. BATEs. How large a cell? Mr. CLEMMER. Probably 8 by 7. Mr. Bates. Nothing large about that cell for eight men. Mr. CLEMMER. I know it. It was a very deplorable situation. The Commissioners and the Congress finally added space to the jail by adding about 400 percent of floor space. Now we have, as we should have, one man to a cell, or we have small dormitories for the noncriminalistic men. When you add 400 percent increase in floor space it costs money to watch it.
Of course, you know the story of the increase in food. I could give you some rather amazing figures on that in a moment.
Mr. BATES. Your food cost has increased 150 percent?
Mr. CLEMMER. Coffee is up 40 percent, lima beans up 300 percent since 1937, lard is up 226 percent since 1937, rolled oats 90 percent, sirup 297 percent. That is the plain, sad story.
Mr. BATES. How about butter
Mr. Bates. I am just inquiring whether butter has increased 200 percent, the same as sirup has increased; it might be cheaper to feed them butter.
Mr. CLEMMER. When alcoholics are coming off a drunk they need quite a bit of sirup. A good deal of the sirup is used in our workhouse. We feel it is a cheap sort of medicine. Senator Cain. Do
think your physical plant is adequate for the foreseeable future? Mr. CLEMMER. We are much better set in a physical plant way
than many other departments in the District.
Mr. BATEs. Having in mind the incidence of crime drop of 32 percent from 1941 to 1945, can you give us the populations at these institutions?
Mr. CLEMMER. At the jail today we have 700.
Mr. Bates. The drop in the incidence of crime, practically one-third below that of 1941.
Mr. CLEMMER. We have a total population at this time of 2,400. In 1937 we had 3,300. That, of course, as I say, is a paradox. Most of that population in 1937 was a higher proportion of misdemeanor alcoholics. The status of the more serious offenders has not proportionately changed. Mr. Bates. So as of a given date you had 2,400 ? Mr. CLEMMER. Yes; at this time. Mr. BATES. Against 3,300. Mr. CLEMMER. In 1937.
Mr. BATES. So there is the reflection, at least, in the number of inmates, and it checks somewhat with the diminution in crime in the District.
Mr. CLEMMER. Yes, sir.
Senator MCGRATH. Does the District of Columbia have a central purchasing agency?
Mr. CLEMMER. Yes; it does. We, through channels, do all of our purchasing through that, everything.
Senator Cain. How long has that been in operation ?
Senator Cain. You have had a central purchasing office for the last decade, say?
Mr. Mason. Yes; for many years. That will be testified to at Tuesday's hearing.
Mr. Bates. The situation from your viewpoint, from the standpoint of the inmates in correctional institutions, is more hopeful today than it was 10 years ago?
Mr. CLEMMER. I think it is, Mr. Bates. . We are doing everything conceivable, every sensible thing, to help these men who are reclaimable.
Mr. Bates. I am speaking now of population. The institutional population has dropped practically a third ?
Mr. CLEMMER. Yes.
Mr. Bates. During that period of time the population, we are told, has almost doubled. That is a striking point, I think.
Mr. CLEMMER. The paradox is, according to the FBI, that the crime rate is up some 13 percent over last year, the country over. Furthermore, the metropolitan police say that the incidence of serious crime in the District is up tremendously. I think it is 55 percent. Those things being so, it is still not showing up in our population. To me it is a paradox I do not understand.
Senator McGRATH. What occupations do you engage the men in, and what income does the District get from their work!
Mr. CLEMMER. We have, Senator, a division called the Industries Division. We have 11 different industries there, and this was set up in 1938, not for the purpose of making profit, but to keep men usefully employed and to train them all we can, incidental to keeping men active and not boondoggling the way prisoners did back in 1938 and 1939.
We have been able to turn back to the District government around $40,000 a year-close to $500,000 in the last 10 years of profit from these industries.
The story behind prison industries is long and complicated. It is conceivable that if we pushed one certain industry we could make enough profit almost to maintain our cost, except then we would start competing with private manufacture and so on. So we have 11 rather small industries, none of them doing more than $12,000 business a month. We manufacture brick, we have a commercial laundry, we have a machine shop and a foundry and a clothing factory, and a print shop and a broom ship, and so forth.
Mr. BATEs. What do you make in the foundry?
Mr. CLEMMER. We make a variety of articles for the District's use, hydrants, electric light posts, sewer tops, and various and sundry articles.
Senator Cain. That not only returns some money, but it does more than anything else to put some of these men back on their feet.
Mr. BATEs. Does the District credit you, for instance, when you build them a fire hydrant or a sewer top!
Mr. CLEMMER. Yes, they pay us.
Mr. CLEMMER. The rate is fixed by the Commissioners, with the advice of the purchasing officers, which is almost the prevailing rate; yes.
Senator Cain. What dollar increase have you asked in your 1947 appropriation request !
Mr. CLEMMER. We have asked for no increase other than two jobs which the Commissioners have approved, one to man a switchboard, and another for a medical technician.