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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
During the following week I called on the Minister of Justice and informed her of my desire to learn the workings of her Department. She handed me a copy of the Penal Code, and I was astonished to find how simple the course of procedure was compared with that of my own country. Felonies ranked in the following order: Murder, Rape, Incest and crimes against nature, Arson, Robbery, Assault to Murder, Manslaughter, Mayhem, Bribery, Larceny and Perjury. The law held one degree of murder and that was with malice aforethought, but where a person killed a human being wantonly, without cause or malice, the homicide was committed to the Lunatic Asylum, and, after one year's imprisonment, deprived of the sexual organs, and if his or her conduct endangered the peace or safety of the community, were to be chloroformed.
The penalty for murder was imprisonment for life, subject to parole after ten years. Rape fiends were sentenced to twenty-five years, and after one year's imprisonment to be desexualized and subject to parole after five years.
Persons found guilty of Incest and crimes against nature received the same punishment as Rape fiends and subject to parole after five years. The penalty for Arson was twenty years, subject to parole after four years. For Robbery fifteen years and subject to parole after three years. The same penalty for Assault to Murder and subject to parole after three years. Manslaughter, Mayhem and Bribery were punished by imprisonment for ten years and subject to parole after two years. Larceny and Perjury were punished by five years' imprisonment, and subject to parole after one year. Public officials who embezzled public funds were committed for Perjury as well as Larceny, and were debarred from ever holding office. The law provided that in the course of the trial of any person charged with Felony, if the evidence showed they had committed a felony, other than the one for which they were being tried, then the Court could sentence them for the crime that the evidence showed they had committed, even if there was not sufficient evidence to convict them of the crime with which they were charged.
Any person found guilty was remanded to the custody of the Governor of the district to await the decision of the Supreme Court. If they appealed, and the appeal was not confirmed, they were sent to the nearest State Prison, of which there are at the present time twenty-five.
No fines were imposed for any crime and no confiscation of property for any cause.
A Magistrate was elected in every sub-district, according to population. One for every ten thousand inhabitants, at a salary of three dollars per day the year 'round, and who tried all persons charged with Felony, and if proven guilty, committed them to the District Court-but a charge of Felony could be made before the District Court, and if probable cause was shown, the case came up for trial. The Magistrate was authorized by law to release any person charged with a misdemeanor on probation, or to sentence them from one month to twelve months' imprisonment at hard labor within the district, and the prisoners were paid for their work from five to twenty-five cents per day, according to their ability and skill, and the money they earned was sent to their wives and children, if they had any. If they were single, what they earned was paid to them at the expiration of their sentence. No handcuffs, balls or chains or Oregon Boots were permitted to be used, but if the person in custody was violent, a jacket with straps at the waist to secure the hands at the side was provided and no punishment was inflicted for violation of the prison rules-but bread and water for three days at any one time. If a prisoner committed sodomy or other infamous crime against nature, while in custody, he was castrated, and if he still persisted in committing crimes against nature, he was chloroformed. No trial by jury was permitted in cases of misdemeanor-but an appeal to the Governor was allowed by law and a copy of the evidence in the case was sent to him and he had to decide according to the law and evidence within thirty days and publish his reasons therefor in the District Newspaper. By permission of the Minister of Justice I was granted authority to visit the State Prison, carrying with me a letter instructing every prison official to assist me and to furnish me all the information within their power. The prison was located in the center of a Military Preserve, consisting of ninety-two thousand one hundred and sixty acres, all in a high state of cultivation. Railways traversed the reservation, but no trains but military ones were permitted to stop within its limits.