Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

session of the Sixty-second Congress prior to July 1, 1911, and received the department's approval in the original or in a modified form: Dental surgeons, to authorize the appointment of, in the Navy. (S. 290 and H. R. 761;

not yet reported by either naval committee.) Promotion of petty officers, etc., on the retired list, for creditable Civil War service.

(S. 2605 and H. R. 11038; not yet reported by either naval committee.) Officers on retired list with creditable Civil War service to have same benefits as though retired for disability incident to the service. (S. 473 and H. R. 9415; not yet reported

by either naval committee.) Revenue-Cutter Service, time served in, to be counted in computing pay of officers in

Army, Navy, or Marine Corps. (H. R. 11037; not yet reported.) Pharmacists, to be commissioned chief pharmacists. (S. 2795 and H. R. 11825; not

yet reported.) Relief of certain retired officers who failed to receive promotion on account of physical

disability, who have been already advanced on retired list by act of Congress. (S. 1505 and H. R. 749; not yet reported.)

The following measures were transmitted by the department to Congress: Deck court records, to provide for destruction of. (S. 1724; passed Senate May 29, 1911,

and now pending before House Naval Committee.) Suspension from promotion; to amend section 1505, Revised Statutes. (Reduces period

of suspension to six months upon professional failure for promotion; S. 2004; passed Senate May 30, 1911, and favorably reported in the House June 6, 1911.) Naval attachés, to fix rank of. (Gives naval attachés temporary rank of captain or

commander; S. 2316 and H. R. 9766; Senate bill passed May 29, 1911, and now pending before the House Naval Committee.)

The following matters of legislation, referred to in the Judge Advocate General's last annual report, are provided for in the new personnel bill (S. 2002 and H. R. 8144): Constructive service, section 21. Retirement of officers who are additional numbers, section 15. Providing for acting assistant paymasters and acting second lieutenants, sections

31 and 55.
Examining boards for warrant officers, change in composition, section 51.
Medical Department of the Navy, to increase efficiency of, section 25.
Vice admirals, to provide for appointment of, section 5.

Following upon the approval by the President on March 1, 1911, of the “Act to protect the dignity and honor of the uniform of the United States,” the legislatures of several States enacted measures having & similar end in view. The governors of other States have been communicated with concerning this matter and from them gratifying responses have been received in most cases, indicating a desire to further the movement toward securing such respect for the uniform as will permit its being worn by persons in the service in all public places of entertainment, etc., without causing the wearer to be refused admittance or his departure demanded, as has been frequently the case heretofore, and for which indignity there was no legal remedy or penalty.

CIVIL WAR DESERTIONS.
Requests for removal of charge.
Granted...
Not granted..
Requests for information relative to removal of charge..

[ocr errors]

HONORABLE CIVIL WAR SERVICE.

Inquiries as to whether service was honorable.
Requests for certificates of discharge, and discharge in true name, etc..

21 15

COMPTROLLER'S DECISIONS.

Requests for, by disbursing officers, etc..
Referred to comptroller...
Answered by the department.

83 68 15

REQUESTS FOR CLEMENCY, PARDONS, ETC.

This office during the past year has received, considered, and answered a very large number of written requests for clemency, etc., in the cases of men tried or likely to be tried by court-martial, as well as numerous applications relative to pardons for officers and enlisted

men.

SYSTEM OF PUNISHMENTS FOR MILITARY OFFENSES AND GENERAL

POLICY TOWARD PRISONERS.

[ocr errors]

The department having appointed a board (consisting of the Judge Advocate General, the Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, and the commanding officer of the naval prison at Boston) to examine into and report upon the present system of punishments for military offenses, including the general policy toward prisoners in naval prisons, and to make such recommendations as may be considered proper, the board, on June 21, 1911, submitted the following report:

Enlisted men convicted by courts-martial should be classed under three heads and dealt with as follows:

(1) Those convicted of crimes not of a purely military nature. It is believed that men convicted of criminal offenses should not be confined with those convicted of purely military offenses only. All cases of a filthy nature, theft, and cases where the offenses are not of a purely military character should be sent to State prisons. Arrangements were made with the New Hampshire State Prison at Concord, N. H., in December, 1910, for the confinement therein of naval prisoners, and such arrangements are now in existence with the Connecticut State Prison, Wethersfield, Conn., and the California State Prison, San Quentin, Cal.

(2) Those convicted of military offenses whose separation from the service is necessary or desirable.—Men convicted of desertion from the Navy or Marine Corps must in all cases be sentenced to dishonorable discharge, and their reenlistment is expressly prohibited by law. Other cases arise where the offense committed or the record of the offender is such that the retention of the man in the service would be undesirable. All such men should be confined in naval prisons and dishonorably discharged upon expiration of confinement in accordance with the terms of their sentences. Should the sentence not include dishonorable discharge in such cases, other than desertion, the men should be discharged as undesirable upon expiration of confinement.

Prisoners confined in naval prisons should be allowed only such plain wholesome rations as may be necessary for their health and general welfare. The selection of guards for naval prisons, their pay, and period of service should be governed by the recommendations made below with reference to guards for “detention quarters.'

Persons confined in naval prisons should be worked 10 hours per day, if possible, and some means of useful employment should be supplied. The manufacturing of coal bags is suggested as best serving this purpose. However, if this be impracticable, any form of labor which would be beneficial to the Government should be allowed.

It is believed that there should not be more than three conduct classes, as a larger number causes confusion. Men confined in naval prisons should be required to serve at least three-fourths time, with conduct excellent; seven-eighths time with conduct good; from seven-eighths to full time for any conduct under good.

If it is practicable to surround naval prisons by walls, it would greatly reduce the number of sentries required for duty thereat.

(3) Those convicted of purely military offenses who may be developed into desirable members of the service.-In our opinion, enlisted men convicted of purely military offenses, with the exception of cases specified in class 2 above, should be confined in detention barracks or camps, termed “detention quarters." Rigid discipline should be maintained at such places of detention, officers being detailed for duty thereat who are known to be good disciplinarians, and also who possess a good knowl

edge of human nature. Enlisted men who may thus be confined should wear the service uniform and should not be known as "prisoners" as the term is usually applied. They should be put through a carefully selected course in service drills and instruction so that at the end of their detention they may, if recommended as desirable, be returned to the service as proficient as possible. During the time under detention their pay and leave should be stopped as at present, the men being allowed only their uniforms and such other articles, including tobacco, as may in the opinion of the officer in command, be deemed necessary for their health and comfort.

As respects rations, men in detention should be given the regular rations, except desserts, special holiday meals, and extras.

A system of rewards for good conduct should be established as follows: For excellent conduct: Released at the expiration of two-thirds of the sentence; then to be restored to duty on probation at the place of detention for observation while not under restraint. For good conduct: Released at the expiration of three-fourths of the sentence; then to be restored to duty on probation at the place of detention for observation while not under restraint. For conduct below good: To serve full time; then to be discharged in accordance with the terms of sentence, or as undesirable.

Upon being released from confinement in detention quarters, men not discharged should be placed on probation at the place of detention, allowed liberty, and given the same amount of work and responsibility as would be given them if they were placed on probation on board ship or at barracks. No man, with the possible exception of a very few special cases, should be placed on probation in the general service; that is, on board ship, at naval stations, or in barracks.

Officers on seagoing ships or in regular barracks have not the time to devote the necessary amount of attention to the cases of men serving under their command on probation.

The place selected for “detention quarters" should not be a makeshift. It should have good airy barracks, plenty of ground for drill and exercises, and should be located in a temperate climate, so that outdoor drills could be carried on the year round,

The men to be used for guards should be carefully selected men of known excellent character; they should receive extra pay and be kept on this duty during good behavior. Owing to emergencies frequently arising which now require the detail of men on prison duty to other stations, it is recommended that men so detailed as guards be not transferred unless the call for their services elsewhere is extremely urgent. It is believed that in thus selecting men as guards fewer will be required and better discipline will be maintained.

We believe that in most respects the best location for the proposed “detention quarters” would be at the naval station, Guantanamo, Cuba. However, owing to the expense and other obstacles, especially the necessary frequent transfer of men to and from Guantanamo, it is recommended that for the present the proposed "detention quarters” be located at some place in the southern part of the United States where outdoor drills can be carried on the year round.

It is strongly recommended that the “detention quarters” feature be tried out for å period of at least one year, by the transfer of not less than 300 men to such point as may be designated for the" detention quarters," where this idea could be thoroughly developed and given an opportunity to demonstrate its value to the service.

As will be understood from the foregoing, the objects of the proposed system are, first, to prevent enlisted men convicted of offenses solely against naval discipline from being subjected to the stigma attaching to imprisonment, and, second, the saving to the service of a large number of such men who give promise of becoming, under proper discipline, desirable members thereof. With this in view, it is recommended that there be adopted a form of punishment to be termed “detention,” and that in cases that may be deemed worthy of such clemency the department mitigate sentences of imprisonment to “detention."

We further recommend that commanding officers be given by law the authority now vested in deck courts, and that the membership of general courts-martial be restricted by Navy Regulations to officers not below the rank of lieutenant in the Navy, or captain in the Marine Corps.

ROBT. L. RUSSELL,
Judge Advocate General of the Navy.

H. B. WILSON,
Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.

C. B. HATCH,
Commanding Officer Naval Prison, Boston, Mass.

In view of the fact that the department has issued orders directing the establishment of “The United States Naval Disciplinary Barracks at Port Royal, S. C., in order that the above-quoted recommendations of the board on punishments may be carried out, it is not believed that the increases in the capacity of the naval prisons heretofore recommended in annual reports of the Judge Advocate General will be necessary

The various naval prisons are in a very satisfactory state as to discipline and sanitary condition. All prisoners are required to do outdoor work, thus removing the depressing effect of constant indoor confinement with consequent benefit to the prisoners and to the Government; they are generally in better physical condition when discharged from prison than when they were received. The food is ample in quantity, of good quality, and is well cooked.

MISCELLANEOUS LEGAL WORK.

No record has been kept showing the number and variety of the purely legal questions referred to this office for investigation and preparation of opinions during the year. This branch of the work of this office is in many respects of even greater importance than the work connected with the administration of naval discipline and is of large and rapidly growing proportions. The questions which arise cover a wide range, requiring exhaustive research in various branches of the law. In this connection attention is invited to the need of a law library

a in the department which will provide at least such books of reference as have been found absolutely indispensable to a proper performance of the work of this office. The inadequacy of the present law library is constantly becoming more apparent as questions of special importance arise, the correct determination of which demands an examination of the leading authorities in order to ascertain how the principles involved therein have been applied in analogous cases by the civil courts. In a majority of these questions the parties interested are represented by able civilian counsel who usually submit briefs in support of their contentions, citing and discussing adjudicated cases to which this office is without ready access. Under such circumstances it becomes necessary to borrow law books from other departments. This practice is not only inconvenient, but results in a loss of time, and in urgent cases an examination of such authorities, while desirable, must of necessity be dispensed with. Specific recommendation on this subject, giving the list of the law books most urgently needed, has been made in a separate communication heretofore addressed to the department.

ROBT. L. RUSSELL.

« PreviousContinue »