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of the island. The amount of money received from the collection of taxes was insignificant. The salaries of municipal officials were about all that was paid from the municipal revenues, with perhaps partial payment of public lighting and some other minor sanitary expenses. The result was that the government paid in full from the revenues, principally customs, all the principal expenses of the different municipalities-public education, administration of justice, police, sanitation and sanitary works of any magnitude, jails, hospitals, and asylums.
Yet, after paying all these expenses, the government was called upon to pay at the close of the calendar year 1899 municipal deficits amounting to nearly $300,000, all of which had been incurred in the preceding six months. So discouraging and far-reaching had been the effects of the war that the municipalities were practically without revenues from proper municipal taxation. The policy had been for the state to assist them in every possible way until the harvesting of the first crop, and until affairs should be placed upon a somewhat stable and normal basis. The presence, however, of large municipal deficits, incurred after the state itself had paid all the principal cost of municipal maintenance, made it apparent that the municipalities were not attempting to collect their proper revenues, and a systematic series of investigations was undertaken, which confirmed this opinion. The result was that a general order was published to the effect that the state would not pay any municipal deficit incurred subsequent to December 31, 1899, but would continue to pay the expenses of the police, public instruction, justice, jails, asylums, charities, hospitals, sanitation, etc. It seems at first sight unnecessary for the state to have assumed practically all the burden properly belonging to the municipalities, but the object in so doing was to relieve to the greatest extent possible municipal taxation, in order that the entire energies of the country might be devoted to reconstructing the agricultural interests, upon which the island's prosperity depends.
After a time, however, it was found necessary to make the enforcement of the laws of municipal taxation a little more rigid and insist upon their operation being more fully carried out, and this has been gradually accomplished, and although the state still continues to pay all the expenses above referred to, the municipalities have been able to collect sufficient revenues to pay the expenses of their own salaried officials and to accomplish such public works as the restoration of municipal buildings, minor sanitary improvements, and in some instances to secure small amounts of furniture for the school buildings.
There has been as a rule little public spirit displayed by citizens of the different municipalities. By public spirit I do not mean to say that the officials and certain individuals have not interested themselves in obtaining appropriations of public funds for municipal works, but rather, that there have been very few instances of organization by the citizens for the purpose of local improvements. There is little doubt that with the development of this spirit throughout the island a very great benefit would result. In some few towns the people have offered to build schoolhouses, and the government has made an effort to encourage this feeling and promote it. The revenues of the state are not sufficient to conduct extensive and general public improvements, but united action on the part of the citizens of the various smaller towns will result in rapid advancement being made. With this end in view efforts are now being made to interest the various municipalities in the
construction of schoolhouses, and I believe that in a few months it will be possible to arouse sufficient interest in this particular work to enable the state to establish its schools in buildings so constructed in many of the smaller towns of the interior.
The tendency in almost every municipality, with few exceptions, throughout the island has been to employ a personnel much greater than necessary to perform the proper work of the municipality. Hours of work are, as a rule, short. This comes largely from the old system of numerous officials and short hours; but in justice it must be said that the tendency has been to exceed even the old standards, and in Habana, where it is fair to expect the greatest percentage of educated and able officials, the municipal administration since July 1, 1900, has been one of the worst and most incompetent in the island, and constant restraint has had to be applied to prevent serious abuses. Maintenance by municipalities of municipal public roads, local municipal charities, municipal schools, etc., are all things of the future. Since the election of July 1, 1900, mayors have been given more authority and jurisdiction, and intervention of civil governors in municipal affairs has been very materially diminished. What is more needed than anything else for the proper performance of municipal affairs is the formation of a public spirit looking to the economical and efficient conduct of all municipal business. The people are unwilling to formally protest or submit charges of extravagance against their official representatives, the alcaldes and city councils. So far it has been difficult to apply uniform rules to all municipalities, as many of them have only partially recovered from the effects of the war. The general policy is to gradually help the municipality to assume its proper responsibilities and obligations and to gradually withdraw state aid.
The difficulties in the reorganization of municipalities have been very great. New assessments and tax lists had to be made, new school laws put in force, in many places new records begun, and all this work has had to be performed by men who in many instances were without previous experience in affairs of this kind. The patience and good nature of the people has tided them over many difficult and annoying situations.
The municipal officers elected at the elections in June, 1900, took office July 1, 1900. Since that time the general government has abstained as much as possible from intervening in strictly municipal affairs, except in the manner prescribed by the laws in force. Explicit instructions have been given and definite rules and regulations prepared, and the municipalities have been called upon to put them in operation and to be governed thereby. During the past few months of the present year a systematic inspection of the various municipalities has been instituted and every effort made to correct abuses or mistakes, and I believe that at the end of the present municipal year, July 1, 1901, we shall find the majority of the municipalities conducting their affairs in a more satisfactory manner than at present.
After the harvesting of the first large sugar crop since the war, which will be completed the coming spring, together with the gathering and sale of tobacco, coffee, cocoa, and other products of the island, it is believed that the municipalities will be able to assume a large proportion of the burden now borne by the state and that as a result of this increased municipal revenue the general revenues of the island will be available to a greater extent for public works of general utility, such as constructing roads, dredging harbors, etc.
The most serious condition which presented itself for immediate action was that of the prisons. This was such as to demand a thorough and rigid investigation in order that existing abuses might be corrected and avoided in the future. In order to have this work systematically conducted, an inspector of prisons was appointed and directed to inspect all prisons and all prisoners at least three times per year, at as nearly equal intervals of time as possible. The following order was issued:
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION of Cuba,
The military governor of Cuba directs the publication of the following order: I. Carlos García Vélez is hereby appointed general inspector of prisons for the island of Cuba.
II. The general inspector of prisons is authorized and directed to visit and inspect thoroughly every presidio and cárcel in the island of Cuba at least once in four months, at as nearly equal intervals as possible, and to personally see, examine, and inspect every person detained in each of the above institutions, examining, in each case, the records of the presidio or cárcel and reporting upon the sanitary condition thereof, food, clothing, and bedding, records and discipline of prison. In making the inspection, he will personally examine the record of every prisoner and detained person, ascertaining the date of expiration of sentence, and see that the records are well kept and complete in every particular and that each and every prisoner is properly informed of the date of the expiration of his sentence. In the examination of those awaiting trial, careful inquiry will be made in each instance to find whether the prisoner has had a preliminary hearing and whether or not this hearing was held within the time specified by law. If there has been delay, he will ascertain the cause and also whether the prisoners have been informed in regard to their right to bail and have had lawyers assigned to defend their cases. He will also report the length of time since arrest and since the preliminary hearing. If preliminary hearing or trial has been delayed, reason therefor must be set forth and responsibility fixed, and report made on the case. Blank forms will be furnished for the above reports, with full instructions printed on back of same.
III. The inspector's salary will be at the rate of $5,000 per annum. Actual transportation will be furnished and an allowance of $3.50 per day while traveling.
He will be allowed one stenographer, who will also be his secretary and clerk, receiving a salary of $115 per month, actual transportation and expenses at the rate of $2.50 per day while traveling.
IV. All military and civil as well as all prison officials in the island of Cuba will assist in every way the inspector of prisons in his examination and will furnish him free access to their records.
V. In cases wherein the inspector reports adversely upon the conduct or administration of a presidio or cárcel a copy of his report will be forwarded to the person or persons affected, who will be called upon for an explanation. If, after careful consideration, their explanation is found to be unsatisfactory they will be dismissed from the public service.
VI. The inspector of prisons will see that the prison regulations are strictly enforced and that they are posted in the cárcel or presidio in places where prisoners have access to them; also that complete lists of the inmates, showing the date of their arrest and of expiration of sentence, are posted in at least two places in each presidio or cárcel where the prisoners or detained persons may have access to them.
VII. The report the inspector of prisons will be made to the secretary of justice for transmission to these headquarters.
ADNA R. CHAFFEE, Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.
The purpose of this was to keep the prisons under rigid supervision, thereby preventing overcrowding and unjust and improper detention. The administration and conduct of the prisons was one of the worst features of the former government of Cuba. When the United States
1 Reduced to $3,600.
assumed control of the island the prisons were found without proper sanitary arrangements, without proper appliances for cooking, lighting, or ventilation; in fact, they were simply medieval prison houses. There seemed to be no system looking toward the reformation of the inmates, the whole purpose being solely to punish, never to correct. Records were imperfectly kept. Prisoners awaiting trial in many cases had no idea of the charges under which they were held or date of their trial. They had no means of procuring witnesses, and often were held months awaiting trial and finally discharged for lack of evidence, their small plantations in the meantime having been ruined and their families scattered. In Habana I found conditions existing of such a character as to warrant prompt action in connection with the cárcel. The sanitation was bad, the prisoners were without sufficient hammocks or cots, and in many instances without blankets or other suitable bedding.
The cooking arrangements were extremely bad.
So far as public interest went, there was absolutely none, in the institutions or in their proper conduct.
At the women's prison, Casa de Recogidas, the prison board informed me that they found the women without proper bedding, without cots, and without proper clothing. The same was true, to a large extent, of the San José Asylum for Boys.
Immediate steps were taken to install in the cárcel modern cooking arrangements, proper sanitation, sanitary closets, sewers, etc. A steam kitchen, steam laundry, and other additional sanitary improvements, such as were possible in an old and illy constructed building, were put in. Recogidas was also thoroughly overhauled, put in good repair, a kitchen put in, also modern plumbing, and the inmates were supplied with proper bedding and proper clothing and put to work. This prison is now a model of neatness, and the inmates are all well clothed, clean, and industrious.
San José Asylum was removed to Reina Battery and the boys placed under proper restraint and discipline. Since then they have all been moved to the country and put into new buildings constructed for a military post, and every effort is being made to render it a correctional institution as well as a place of restraint.
The prison system of the island consisted of the presidio, or penitentiary of Habana, provincial prisons at the capital of each province, and district prisons in each judicial district. The presidio at Habana (not the cárcel) is one of the few prisons in the island which has been efficiently conducted. The warden, General Montalvo, is a young man of energy, marked ability, and progressive ideas. He has maintained an excellent system of discipline, a clean prison, with records up to date, and has shown himself to be a man well fitted for the position. (General Montalvo was sent to the United States during the summer to personally visit and make a study of methods in vogue in our best prisons.)
For the purpose of conducting the presidio in accordance with modern ideas, a new set of rules and regulations, based largely upon those of Joliet and Leavenworth, were drawn up by General Montalvo and Lieut. M. E. Hanna, aide-de-camp. They have been in effect now for several months, with marked benefit.
The provincial or audiencia prisons, situated in Habana, Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Puerto Principe, and Santiago, are all
comparatively large prisons. They were formerly conducted with little regard to system or method, the sole object being to retain the prisoners within the walls. Hardened criminals and boys awaiting trial were found in the same general prison rooms. Prisoners were allowed to have food sent in pretty much at will. Their prison rooms were filled with all sorts of articles, reading matter, mess outfits, and special articles of food. Convicts, if they had sufficient means, were allowed to have separate rooms, supplying themselves with whatever luxuries they could purchase. Bathing facilities and sanitary arrangements were of the crudest possible description, and in many places wanting.
General orders have been published requiring that prisoners detained and awaiting trial be kept in rooms apart from those sentenced and that boys, whether sentenced or awaiting trial, be separated from adult prisoners.
In these provincial prisons were found all classes of cases, men serving sentences of many years' duration, as well as men awaiting trial. Very few of the persons arrested and charged with crime were able to furnish bail, and many of them from remote points in the interior were unable to communicate with their witnesses. The judicial authorities were thoroughly inactive in procuring witnesses and bringing cases to trial. The result of all these conditions was that the jails were, as a rule, full. In the smaller district jails, remote from the capital, abuses of all sorts existed. There was little pretense at sanitation, and the conditions existing were in accordance with the section of country in which the prison was situated. If in a remote interior town, the prison was usually found to be without supplies; prisoners lived mostly upon food furnished by their friends; prison records were illy kept and the prisoners without knowledge of what was to be done in their cases or how to proceed and without lawyers assigned to defend them.
In order that the prisoners might be kept under as close supervision as possible, all prisoners serving sentence of more than six months. were ordered removed from the district jails and transferred to the audiencia prisons at the capitals of the provinces, where they were under the immediate supervision of the provincial as well as the military authorities of the island.
During the year 1900 all the prisons have been thoroughly cleaned up, and nearly all have received general repairs, which in some places amount almost to reconstruction. Wherever possible, bathing facilities have been furnished and the condition of ventilation improved. Suitable bedding has been supplied. The result is that at the present time, while the condition of the prisons is far from satisfactory, yet I believe that there is no unnecessary suffering, little, if any, improper detention, and the condition of sanitary affairs good. Frequent inspection of the prisons and the investigation of prison records have had a double effect. They have demonstrated to the prisoners that their rights are being looked after, and they have shown the prison authorities that they are under close and constant observation. Complaints of prisoners are promptly investigated, both by civil and military officers, in addition to the regular inspections of the general inspector of prisons. Applications for pardon, reduction of sentence, etc., are submitted to the secretary of justice and to Major Dudley, judge advocate of the division and member of a board for investigating requests of this character. The work of this board has been beneficial and has facilitated