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"Well, I tell you, dat chicken he was property, I was property, and if property took property to support property dat wasn't stealin', d'ye see?"
It would be interesting to know how some of our early law-men would view that type of logic when they were establishing a system
|of law and order.||.|
It was in 1864 that concern seemed to have been first shown for a systematic means of establishing law and order. (See - The First Council.) And it is logical to assume that it was in 1882 that the Province, in setting up its legal subdivisions, made Portage la Prairie the Central Judicial District. The 15th annual report which was sent to Hon. J. W. Sifton on January 15th, 1898, leads us to believe the latter statement to be correct.
The report, mentioned above, was written by Daniel Mcl.ean, Jailor, C. J. D. and will be of interest to those who have a yen for history along the legal line, being descriptive of those times. We quote -
"It is a matter to be regretted that the number of persons committed to this jail has increased from 47 in 1896 to 101 in 1897, an increase of over 100%: the enlargement of the district was responsible for 10% of the commitments during the year 1897.
An examination of the report shews that nearly 20% of the persons admitted during the year were boys and young men under the age of 20 years, many of them being charged with serious offences.
During the summer a number of professional tramps were in carcerated for short periods. These men, as a rule, are a filthy, wicked, hardened class, who seldom express a desire to lead a better life, and who make it their boast that the prisons of the continent have been their temporary homes for the greater part of their lives. This class should if possible, never be confined in the same Institution with our ordinary prisoners, as they seem to delight in sowing the seeds of wickedness and crime, and frequently destroy all reformatory efforts made on behalf of the other prisoners. How to deal with this class is a grave problem, but my opinion, based upon some knowledge of their habits, is that the magistrates should be em powered to sentence such offenders upon conviction to a short period of hard labor with a ball and chain attached, on the public streets of the nearest city, town or village. If this system were generally adopted, it would, I am convinced, rid our Province of this un desirable element.