Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/577

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Like a Spider in His Web

So the guard sits in one of the new circular cell houses of Joliet Prison. He can keep watch over two hundred and forty-eight cells

By Fred Telford

��OCCASIONALLY somebody earns the title of genius by transplanting into action what others regard as impossi- ble or lack the perseverance to carry through. Seemingly this is what fate has in store for W. Carnys Zimmerman, of Chicago, the architect of the new state penitentiary in course of erection near Joliet, Illinois, which is not only built along new lines but is the last word in prison construction.

Jeremy Bentham was the first man who seems to have realized that the consequences of imprisonment should be calculated both in their effect on the con- vict and on society. More than a century ago he proposed that the conventional prison building with its long* tiers of cells invisible to the guard except when he walked in front of them, was well calculated to defeat its own purpose, and that a cir- cular cell-house, with the guard stationed in the center where he could see the interior of each cell, would be better. Attempt have been made in England to carry out

���cage in the center of each cell house- Thus he can see into any cell on any tier at any time without taking a step. As the guard's own room is in darkness, no prisoner can ever be sure that he is not under direct observation. With the old straight row of cells, the prisoner could be observed only while the guard was pass- ing his cell; moreover, the guard's approaching footsteps were an audible warning to a vigilant prisoner. The same idea is carried a step further in the grouping of the eight circular cell houses about a circular dining-room, with a covered corridor leading directly from each cell house to the part of the dining-room to be occupied by the prison- ers from that building. Thus all crossing of columns is eliminated, and in effect each cell house is a unit for eat- ing and lodging pur- poses. The

���Bentham' s idea, but it re- mained for Mr Zimmerman to work out the idea perfectly in the new Joliet buildings, now nearly ready for occupation.

Throughout the group of buildings, ease of administration has been a cardinal principle. The most radical departure from the conventional style is the shape" of the cell houses. The 248 cells are arranged in four tiers around the periphery of the structure, while a guard is stationed in a


��The general plan of the prison buildings, all of which are con- nected by means of corridors with the dining-room, so that all cross- ing of columns is eliminated

��accompanying drawing shows clearly the general plan of the prison colony. At the same time, economies are ef- fected by preparing food in a central

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