November 30, 19 73
NEW WAYS OF HANDLING CRIMINALS
Allen C. Steere
"You black son-of-a-bitch.'" With this epithet, the guard
spoke to the prisoner as he was brought in for a disciplinary
hearing at the Indiana Reformatory at Pendleton. The prisoner
resented this manner of address, and protested to the acting
judge, a lieutenant of the prison guard—a "white hat", in prison
parlance, who compounded the prisoner's sense of personal insult
and outrage by replying/ "You ARE a black son-of-a-bitch." This
exchange was reported to me by a former inmate. It reflects the
intensity of feeling—even hatred—which sometimes exists between
the keepers and the kept.
As a result of the hearing, the prisoner was found guilty
of a breach of the prison rules. He was placed in solitary confinement, his time credits previously earned for good behavior
were forfeited, and parole was more than a year delayed.
It is possible that the guard's attitude provoked the incident
in the first place, but regardless of the circumstances which
caused the trouble, and independent of the question of who was at
Members of the Quest Club authorize the Allen County Public Library to digitize and publish past, present and future Quest Club papers for dissemination on the Allen County Public Library website (Board of Directors of Quest Club, Inc., Resolution of May 2010).