Appalachia, crime, Denver Beckett, history, Logan, Logan County, Logan County Jail, N.E. Steele, West Virginia, William B. Johnson
Here is a bit of history for the Logan County (W.Va.) Jail based on documents from 1921:
Appointment of Jail Inspectors
Dr. N.E. Steele, Wm. B. Johnson and Denver Beckett are hereby appointed, authorized and directed to inspect, investigate and report in writing to the court at the present term the existing conditions of the Jail of the county, the care and treatment of the prisoners therein confined, in detail, as required by Secs. 40 and 41 of Chapter 41 of the Code of West Virginia.
The Clerk of the court will furnish said inspectors a copy of said sections for their guide in making said inspection and report and will make four attested copies of this order and place them in the hands of the sheriff of this county to be served on the above named inspectors which shall operate as a summons to them to forthwith appear in open court and take the oath required by law and to enter upon the discharge of the duties herewith.
Law Order Book X, page 183, 11 April 1921
Sec. 40. DUTIES OF JAILER. The jailer shall cause all the apartments of his jail to be well whitewashed at least twice in every year, and have the same properly aired and always kept clean. He shall furnish every prisoner with wholesome and sufficient food, and with a bed and bedding cleanly and sufficient, and have his apartment warmed when it is proper, in case of the sickness of any prisoner, he shall provide for him adequate nursing and attendance, and if there be occasion for it, and circumstances will permit shall confine him in an apartment separate from other prisoners. In no case shall a jailer permit the use of ardent spirits in the jail, except when prescribed by a physician. (Code Va. 1860, p. 289; Acts 1881, c 19.)
Sec. 41. Annual Inspection. The circuit court of every county shall annually, or oftener, if deemed necessary, appoint three persons, one of whom shall be a physician, to inspect the jail of each county. The judge shall administer to them the following oath: “You shall truly report to the court, as to the jail in this county, the size thereof, the number of its apartments, and its state, and condition; whether it is secure, sufficient for those who may be confined therein, and such that convicts may be kept in apartments separate from each other and from the other prisoners; whether every apartment is as constructed that it can be kept comfortable; whether it is kept in constant and adequate repair, and supplied with the furniture and other things necessary, and if not, in what it is deficient. You shall also diligently examine and truly report whether or not the jailer, has, during the last twelve months, faithfully performed the duties required of him by the fortieth section of the forty first chapter of the Code of West Virginia, and if not, in what respect he has failed to perform the same.” The said inspectors shall be furnished for their guide with a copy of the said oath, and of the said section. If they make a report, which fails in any respect to conform to said oath, it shall be recommitted to them until they fully report upon all the said matters. (Code Va. 1860, p. 289, Acts 1881 c. 19.)
N.E. Steele, William B. Johnson and Denver Beckett, who were appointed to inspect and report the existing conditions of and at the County Jail, by an order entered at a former day of this term of court, pursuant to Section 40 of Chapter 41 of the Code of West Virginia, and who were sworn as the law directs, having made the inspection as required, returned into court and submitted the following report in writing:
“We the undersigned appointed to inspect the jail of Logan County, hereby make the following report.
Size of Jail approximately 39 by 84 feet. Exclusive of jailer’s Residence. Brick building with concrete floors, three stories high, with cells on first and second floors, third story unfinished.
31 apartments or cells.
Capacity 112 men.
Confined therein at present 93 persons.
State and condition of jail, Good.
We consider jail secure and sufficient for those who may be confined therein, and convicts may be kept separate one apartment or cell from the other, the capacity of each apartment or cell being 3 or 4 persons or more.
Apartments or cells are so constructed that they can be kept comfortable.
Jail is new and in good repair and condition, and supplied with Furniture and other things necessary.
As to the jailer performing the duties required by Section 40 of Chapter 41 the past twelve months, will state that the present jail is new, and the old jail recently torn, and we doubt if the jailer could during the past twelve months comply with all the requirements in all cases in the old jail which has been torn away.
At present we believe that the jailer is complying with section 40 of Chapter 41.
Wm. B. Johnson
It appearing from said report that a new county jail has been provided and the prisoners moved from the old jail into the new one but a few days before the beginning of this term of the court, and the old jail was torn down. It was not possible for the committee to make a report as to the condition of the old jail for the year preceding, but the report showing that the new jail is in good condition, ample and sufficient to provide for the comfort and well-being of the prisoners, as well as for their proper detention, and that the prisoners are being provided with suitable clothing, bedding, food and other necessaries, as required by law, the court perceives no reason for making any order changing the existing conditions, and the report is therefore received, confirmed, ordered to be filed, and the committee discharged.
It is further ordered that the said committee each is allowed for his services in this behalf the sum of Five Dollars ($5.00), payable out of the treasury of this county.
Law Order Book X, page 264, 6 May 1921