OF JAILS AND WORKHOUSES.
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE NEW CASTLE COUNTY WORKHOUSE.
Now therefore be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met; (with the concurrence of three-fourths or all the members elected to each House):
SECTION 1. Within thirty days after this Act shall become law, the Judges of the Superior Court and the Court of General Sessions of the State of Delaware, residing in New Castle County, shall appoint five suitable persons, residents of said County; who being so appointed shall constitute "The Board of Trustees of the New Castle County Workhouse." The trustees so appointed shall serve for the respective terms of one, two, three, four, and five years. The term of each one the said trustees shall determine by lot. Their successors shall be appointed by the said Judges for the term of five years. All vacancies shall be filled by the said Judges for the residue of the term. At no time shall all the trustees, be of the same Political party. No trustee shall, receive any compensation for services, other than the actual expenses-of attending the meeting of the Board. Each trustee, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation for the faithful performance of such duties.
SECTION 2. For the purpose of establishing the said workhouse the Levy Court of New Castle County is hereby authorized and directed to borrow upon the credit of the said County, such stun or snips of money, as may be necessary, and as may be directed by the said Board of Trustees, not exceeding in the aggregate one hundred thousand dollars; and for such purpose, shall issue certificated of indebtedness of such denomination and in such form as by the Levy Court may be deemed most expedient. Such certificates shall bear date July first, 1899. They shall be payable on or before the first day of July, 1919; at any time after the expiration of five years from the date thereof at the option of the said Board of Trustees. They shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding four per cent per annum, payable semi-annually, on the first day of January and July in each year. This loan shall be known as the New Castle County Workhouse Loan. Each certificate shall bear upon its face the words, "Loan for the establishment of the New Castle County Workhouse." This loan shall be kept separate and distinct from all other indebtededness of the county; for the purpose of identification and liquidation as hereinafter provided. The money realized from the sale of the said certificates, shall be paid to the said Board of Trustees, and by them shall be applied to the purchase of the necessary land for a workhouse, and toward paying for the erection, completion and furnishing of the said workhouse, with implements and appliances, necessary and proper for the successful establishment and operation of the same; and also to the payment of interest on the said loan as it falls due, until the workhouse is built and in operation.
SECTION 3. The trustees herein named shall immediately after the passage of this Act, procure suitable lands for the erection of buildings, for the accommodation of all prisoners, sentenced to terms of imprisonment by the courts of this State in and for New Castle County, including those sentenced and committed by the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington, and by the Justices of the Peace, for the said county. The title to said lands shall be vested in " The Board of Trustees of the New Castle County Workhouse;" which is hereby authorized and empowered to take, receive and hold the same. The said buildings shall be fully completed within two years from the passage of this Act. As soon as the said buildings shall be completed, and within ten days after notice in writing of such completion shall have been served upon the Sheriff of New Castle County by said Trustees, the Sheriff shall deliver to the trustees at said buildings all the prisoners in the jail or in his charge, under sentence of imprisonment for a certain term, and all others held by him on coma-fitment. The Sheriff is hereby expressly authorized and directed to make such delivery. Whereupon the said trustees shall take charge and control such prisoners, and safely keep them, for the residue of their terms of imprisonment, respectively, or, until they lie duly discharged. With respect to all such prisoners, and also with respect to the workhouse and lands, the said trustees are hereby clothed with all the powers heretofore vested by law in the Sheriff of New Castle County, in the Commissioners of the jail of said county and in the Levy Court. On or before the first day of January in each year, the Board shall make a report in writing to the Levy Court, showing the condition of the workhouse, together with a detailed statement of all the receipts and expenditures with such suggestions and recommendations as they may deem necessary. No trustee shall be interested directly or indirectly in any contract relating to said workhouse; nor shall any member of his or her family be appointed to or hold any office or position under said Board.
SECTION 4. When the buildings provided for in this Act shall be completed and ready for occupancy as a workhouse all persons convicted off offences against the laws of this State and sentenced to a term of imprisonment shall there be imprisoned and held pursuant to this Act and other statutes relating thereto. Thereafter all persons that may be sentenced or committed by any court or magistrate in this county shall be delivered, by the officer having them in charge, to the warden of said workhouse or to the person authorized by said trustee to receive them. All persons convicted of any crime and committed to the custody of said trustees shall be compelled to labor at some suitable employment, eight hours each secular day, unless physically disabled. For all overwork each prisoner shall receive credit and be paid. The money earned by overwork may, at the option of the prisoner, be sent to his family, be expended for such articles as he may have in prison under the rules, or may accumulate and be paid to him in lump at the time he is discharged. The cost of the maintenance of the prisoners shall be paid by the county at the rate of forty cents daily per capita until the workhouse loan is liquidated, and thereafter such amount only as will pay the actual cost of maintenance. The trustees shall, on or before the first day of February in each year submit to the Levy Court of said county an estimate
of the amount necessary for the workhouse for that year. The said Levy Court is hereby clothed with full power to levy such amount in the taxes and provide for the payment of the same to the trustees, and shall so pay the same to them, on or before the thirtieth day of May in each year next succeeding the levy, in installments as required and needed by the said trustees, first installment to be paid on or before the first day of September of the year each levy is made. Out of the money so received from the Levy Court the trustees shall provide for the payment of the expenses of running the workhouse; they shall then pay the interest on said loan as it falls due. Any excess in each year shall be by them placed on interest as a sinking fund for the liquidation of the said workhouse loan until five years from the date of the certificates of indebtedness shall have expired, and thereupon shall immediately apply the accumulated fund to the extinguishment of the same, and any excess in each year thereafter shall at once be applied to the extinguishment of said loan.
SECTION 5. The prisoners shall be so classified that the parts of the buildings appropriated to female prisoners shall be apart from those for the confinement of male prisoners. In like manner prisoners of tender years and those young in crime shall be separated from the older and more hardened criminals. In order that good conduct may be properly rewarded the Board shall keep a correct daily record of each prisoner, showing his behavior, fidelity and compliance with the rules of the prison, to the end that each prisoner may merit diminution of the period of his confinement and a recommendation for restoration of citizenship in cases of felony under the following regulations:
First. For each month, commencing on the first day of his arrival at the workhouse, during which he has not been guilty of any violation or discipline, or any rules of the prison, and has labored with diligence and fidelity, he shall be allowed a reduction of five days from the period of his sentence.
Second. At any time after a convict has passed one full year of his sentence, in which he has not been guilty of any violation of discipline or of any of the rules of the prison, and has labored with diligence and fidelity, the deduction shall be seven days from the period of his sentence for each month.
Third. After he shall have passed two full years as above, the deduction in his sentence shall be nine days for each month.
Fourth. After he shall have passed three or more full years as above, the deduction shall be ten days for each month.
Fifth. For every violation of the rules and discipline, or for want of diligence and fidelity in the performance of work, the convict shall not only forfeit all gained time and earnings for the month in which the delinquency occurs, but, according to the aggravated nature and frequency of his offenses, the Board may deduct a portion or all of his previously earned time and money.
Sixth. If a convict passes the period of his sentence within five days of the completion thereof without any violation of the rules and discipline, he shall be entitled to a certificate therefor, from the superintendent of the workhouse, and also to a recommendation from the Board of Trustees recommending him for pardon and restoration to citizenship.
Seventh. If a prisoner be prevented from labor by sickness or other infirmity, not intentionally produced by himself, or from any cause for which he is not responsible, he shall be entitled by good conduct to the same deduction from his sentence for each month as above provided for.
SECTION 6. The said Board of Trustees shall have complete control and management of the said New Castle County Workhouse. They shall appoint and dismiss at pleasure all wardens, keepers, officers and other necessary agents and servants, and shall fix their term of service, as well as their compensation. They shall provide suitable tools, implements, food, raiment and all other necessary things for the safe keeping, maintenance and betterment of the inmates of the said workhouse. They shall keep accurate books of account, showing in detail all items of the receipt and the expenditure of money on account of the said workhouse. These books shall be open at all times to the inspection of the County Comptroller, and shall be audited by him at least once a year.
Approved March A. D. 1899.