Corpun file 25763 at www.corpun.com
Chicago Tribune, 4 December 1898, p.7
Use Paddle on the Bad Boys.
John Worthy School Officials Bring Unruly Lads to Time by Whipping.
Four Slaps the Limit.
Paul Dasso, Chief Wielder of the Leather, Pleased with its Results.
Shortall Thinks it Good.
Spanking has been adopted as the official method of punishment
at the bridewell. While President John G. Shortall of the Chicago
Humane society and others have been advocating that the whipping
post be established in Illinois as a punishment for wife-beaters
and the milder types of criminals, Superintendent Adolph Sturm of
the bridewell has discovered that a broad leather paddle, applied
at the right time and place, is far more effective in keeping
discipline among his unruly boarders than either the dark cell or
the old-fashioned whipping.
Superintendent Sturm had recourse to spanking when he discovered,
not long ago, that the bad boys of the John Worthy Training
School, at the bridewell, were taking the dark cells as a joke.
Two boys who had broken the rules and had been shut in the
dungeon for several days on bread and water were overheard
referring to the cells as "de boles," and bragging
about the length of time they had held out. Thereupon
Superintendent Sturm and Principal R.M. Smith of the John Worthy
School decided on the new way of punishing, reserving the dark
cells and the bread and water for the smaller boys who were
afraid of the dark, and for milder infractions of the rules.
Uses Wooden Paddle First.
Superintendent Sturm first whittled out a long flat paddle,
something like a flapjack turner. It was polished to a velvety
smoothness, and it was tried on the first unruly boy in place of
shutting him in a dark cell. Instead of creating an uncomfortable
sense of great heat, as Superintendent Sturm had intended, the
wooden paddle caused welts of considerable size to appear. The
first half dozen boys who were paddled stood up for several days
afterwards, and Superintendent Sturm gave it up.
Then a leather paddle was tried. A 16-year-old boy, who refused
to obey the rules was made to get on his hands and knees, and
Assistant Superintendent Paul Dasso, who is the father of a boy
himself, took a firm grip on the leather handle and brought it
down on the bare skin of the culprit. A fearful yowl rose up, and
after four applications, during which the adjacent bridewell yard
rang with sorrowful howls, the offender begged to be let off.
Beyond four red streaks and a sensation of having sat down on a
hot cooking stove, which lasted for several minutes, the spanking
left no physical effect, and all the bridewell officials declared
the corrective treatment a success. Since then the leather paddle
has been used on the most unruly boys at the John Worthy School,
and spankings are almost a daily occurrence.
Every morning the bridewell boys who have been charged with some
infraction of discipline are lined up in the guardhouse where
there are two rows of dark cells. Assistant Superintendent Dasso
or Chief Deputy E.S. Harvey, who has been at the bridewell
twenty-five years, acts as judge, and the boys are given a chance
to tell their side of the story. The punishment is then
announced, and if Superintendent Sturm approves the finding it is
inflicted. Some of the boys are reprimanded. The younger ones,
who are afraid of the dark, are shut in the dark cells from one
to four days, on bread and water -- the rest are spanked.
Assistant Superintendent Dasso or Chief Deputy Harvey does the
spanking. The boys who have been reprimanded, or sentenced to the
dark cells, are made to look on. During last week nobody was bad
enough for spanking. But usually on Monday mornings as many as
five boys are punished in this way.
Dasso Gives His Views.
Assistant Superintendent Dasso declares he has about lost
faith in the dark cell as a punishment for everyone but boys.
Instead of being frightened by the dark and solitude the boys are
in the habit of shouting to each other through the doors. The
wiser ones have learned to take the board that is given them to
sleep on and thrust it between the bars of the cell door, so as
to make a spring bed.
Click to enlarge
Few of the bad boys have had to be spanked twice. Aside front the
physical hurt the older boys find it too humiliating to risk
punishment that way a second time, and discipline has been
greatly improved, it is said, since whipping was instituted.
The resident physician at the bridewell, Dr. B.B. Marheineke, who
has held the place eleven years, declares it is far more humane
than the dark cell. He is positive no boy has ever suffered more
than temporary discomfort from being spanked.
"There is the paddle," said Assistant Superintendent
Dasso yesterday, as he took the leather down from the hook:
"You can judge for yourself. We first tried the wooden
paddle but it raised welts instead of warming them up. We also
tried whipping the more unruly boys with rattan, but that was too
harsh punishment. The leather paddle works to perfection. We
don't make use of it any oftener than we have to, and either
myself or Chief Deputy Harvey always does the punishing. The
paddle is never used without both of us being present, and
frequently Dr. Marheineke is here, too.
"We never have made any secret of the fact that we punished
the boys this way. If any one thinks the boys are being abused he
can come out some morning and look on. I don't believe there are
many men in Chicago that weren't given a harder dressing down by
their father than any punishment the boys are given here. I was
one of ten children myself and I am none the worse for being
Dr. Marheineke, resident physician at the bridewell, said:
"I have been here eleven years and I believe spanking is the
most humane way of punishing the boys that has been devised. I
never have known of an instance where a boy was spanked hard
enough to draw blood. The boys are rarely struck more than four
"Good Thing," Says Shortall.
Click to enlarge
"I cannot believe that any one was ever treated brutally
or inhumanely at the John Worthy School," said John G.
Shortall. "It is too carefully conducted for that. I don't
doubt that some of the boys deserved ten strokes where they
received only four. I believe it far more humane than shutting
them in a dungeon. It is a good thing.
"You can't appeal to the moral sense of some of the young
rogues who are sent there. They haven't any. It only frightens
them to lock them in a dark cell. There is no way to appeal to
such boys but through their physical senses.
"But I do not approve of punishing the boys in that way
before the others, even those who have been reprimanded. That is
doing it with too much eclat. It is making too much of it. Let
the boy take his punishment alone, and the others will be certain
to find out about it. The culprit probably will make out the
whipping to be a good deal worse than it was to the others, and
it will have a better effect.
"That is why I advocate whipping. Whipping would either
drive offenders away from the city or else cure them. I haven't
any use for the sentimentality that is making criminals instead
of correcting them."
Corpun file 22757 at www.corpun.com
The New York Times, 5 December 1898
Chicago Bad Boys Spanked.
Click to enlarge
Innovation in a Public Institution Which Works Well.
CHICAGO, Dec. 4. -- Unruly boys at the John Worthy School,
in the Bridewell, are now spanked with a leather paddle by the
Superintendent of the Bridewell. Formerly they were punished by
incarcerating them in the dark cell, but this was not found to be
effective. Now they are held by an assistant while the
Superintendent paddles them into a state of obedience. Their
conduct has improved greatly, and the new process is considered a
success. It has been approved by the Bridewell physician and
President Shortall of the Humane Society.
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