“There are men confined here who have enjoyed every social and home environment which tends to elevate, and who know and can fully appreciate the rank injustice and demoralizing abuse heaped upon them in a most deplorable way. The writer has reference to the conduct of a deputy sheriff, a negro, whose delight seems to be the application of language which can not be even hinted at here, so vile and foul it is. This is not an exaggeration, but a true recital of facts made in a very conservative way. Men are called names which, anywhere else, would be resented in a very forcible way. When men such as are here have to listen to the blasphemous abuse of a negro which reflects upon the honor and virtue of their mothers, it seems it is high time to call the attention of those who strive for the honest administration of law to correct and prohibit such abuses.
Called It Public Disgrace.
“These are but a few of the true facts, and an investigation would show a state of affairs, a disgrace to any civilized community, and more especially so in a city like Indianapolis, noted for its educational and religious influences.
“It is a notorious fact that the night turnkey, on several occasions, has been so disgracefully under the influence of liquor that he fell prostrate on the floor in the effect to discharge his duties. This occurred once to our knowledge. This man’s language in addressing the prisoners is one continual string of profanity and abuse, and his delight seems to be just how much suffering he can cause the men in every possible way.
Appeals Were Not Heeded.
“We have previous to this appealed to the sheriff with no noticeable change for the better. Refusal has been made of a common garbage can, in which to deposit the natural accumulations of dirt, which, in a place like this, borders on filth. A visit to this ward a 9 o’clock at night will show a condition of affairs worse than has been described.
“The bill of fare of the jail will, no doubt, be interesting to the taxpayers of Marion county, who pay 40 centers per day for the keeping of each inmate. Six mornings a week, sirup, diluted with water; three slices of small loaves of bakers’ bread, with a small cup of coffee, which is invariably cold, compose the breakfast meal. For dinner, either hominy or beans, with meat in a small quantity, and three slices of bread, and water compose the meal. Supper consists of either soup, which, in most cases, is not touched, or diluted sirup and bread with coffee. On Sunday the men eat their breakfast at 8 o’clock.
“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 8, col. 3; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).