Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/115

This page needs to be proofread.


Popular Science Monthly

��99

���The stables and shops of the model prison farm. The land shown in the photograph was a wilderness of pine forests and disease-breeding swamps before the convicts improved it

��each day in labor by the average free farm hand in the South. They take three hours, exclusive of the time spent en route to and from the stockade, for rest and dinner in the middle of the day.

They grow cotton, corn, sorghum cane, potatoes and all kinds of vegetables, and raise cattle, hogs and chickens. Last year their Irish potato patch was 550 acres, and an even larger area was given to sweet potatoes.

The methods of crop cultivation and livestock raising that have been adopted are

���This gives an idea of the work the convicts accomplished in converting the three thousand forest acres into tillable land

��the best known to the State Department of Agriculture. The Commissioner of Agri- culture, William A. McRae, sees to it that all the work is done in the best possible manner. The result is that practically all persons released • from Bradford Farms are highly skilled farm workers. The more intelligent ones are well trained in farm management also.

At the present time the prison popula- tion at Bradford Farms is approximately 650. About 250 are leased to counties to work on public roads. There are 736 working for private corpo- rations. But the lease law of to-day is not like the old one. It places the working of leased convicts under rigid State inspection, and gives the Commissioner of Agriculture the right to cancel contracts whenever lessees fail to treat prisoners humanely. Only negroes of low-grade intelligence are leased, and the contracts are limited to two years.

There is a rapidly in- creasing sentiment in favor of abolishing the lease sys- tem and sending all the State's convicts to Bradford Farms during imprisonment.

�� �