“The men are well treated,” he said. “Their food is good. It is utterly false that Edward Franklin, the night turnkey, has been intoxicated. I know he has not touched a drop in ten years. As to the complaint about the filth, they are expected to clean their own quarters. I announced to them in criminal court, where some of them were arraigned, that none would get a bite to eat until the cells were thoroughly cleaned.
“Yes, Judge Alford asked me about the complaint, and I showed him the evidences of the plot to escape. They made the complaint in order to escape punishment.”
Inspection of Ward.
County Commissioner McGregor and a representative of The Sun visited the jail Thursday, inspected the United States ward, and talked to the prisoners, who were house-cleaning very industriously, by applying streams of water from the hose to the cell floors. They said they were required to mop the floors every morning, but complained that there was a thorough cleaning ordered only once in about three weeks.
“Everything in that letter was true,” said Attorney William B. Schwartz, the counterfeiter, looking through the bars “Our bed-clothing is full of vermin, which is the worst things we have to bear.”
Prisoners Were Beaten
“Is it true that Jack Blake and L. Knauss were seriously beaten because they did not wish to sign the letter” he was asked.
“They were not hurt,” Schwartz replied, smiling, but he admitted they had been punished by the “Kangaroo court.”
Knauss cried when asked about his experience. “The ‘Kangaroo court’ said that I could not have a cot unless I paid for it,” he said, “and after the first night I had to sleep on the floor. They beat me up when I refused to sign the letter of complaint. I was whipped with a strap. Boys, it wasn’t right.”
Court Must Be Stopped.
Sheriff Sourbler is taking strenuous measures to break up the sessions of the court. John Smith and a prisoner named Greeley, two officers of the court, have been confined with the negro prisoners as a punishment, but the men in the dungeon are thought to have been the ringleaders.
Commissioner McGregor suggested to the sheriff that a garbage can be provided for the prisoners and that the cells be washed out oftener. Otherwise, he thought the prisoners had no right to complain, and will so report to Judge Alford.
“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 8, col. 3-4; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).