Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview
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the Democratic party from internal strife and bitterness, to the end that we may have unity and good government for the benefit of all people in North Carolina. In so far as my administration is associated with politics, it will be controlled by the objective of a united democracy.


PRISONERS REMOVED FROM HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS

JUNE 19, 1929

As governor of the State I felt--and the prison authorities felt--that it was not the proper policy for this State to work prisoners at an extra-hazardous occupation. The withdrawal of these prisoners from the Carolina Coal Company* mines will reduce the revenue of the State's prison $90,000 per year, but we felt that the question of the safety of these prisoners, who are in our charge and who have to work wherever they were directed to work, is of more value than the mere question of dollars and cents. We have boasted for some years that we were one of four or five states operating a prison without a deficit. The operation of a prison without a deficit is of course desirous, but in order to obtain it there should not be an exploitation of the labor of the prisoners.

With the ever-increasing population of the State's prison and the unusually large surplus of free common labor existing at this time, the problem of what to do with the surplus labor in the prison is a growing one. Unless it is possible to effect some arrangement whereby this surplus prison labor can be used in work connected with the building of our highways, it would appear now

____________________
*
A total of seven prisoners were killed in the fifteen months they were in the coal mines. Five died in an elevator accident, one was electrocuted, and one was crushed by a coal car.

-490-

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