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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

If these county officers had charge of the county jail or the county penitentiary there might be some excuse for their being on the payroll. But there are separate staffs for jail and penitentiary:

Harold A. Lewis, warden, Hudson County jail $6,000
William A. McDermatt, deputy warden 4,000
Lawrence A. Murphy, deputy warden 4,000
James J. Kelley, clerk-bookkeeper 4,000
William C. Armbruster, commissary, private clerk to warden 4,000
John C. Edwards, private investigator to warden 3,500
Edward Beck, private investigator to warden 3,500
John J. Hill, assistant chief guard 3,000
John J. Harmon, supervisor, criminal identification 3,000
John Kane, bookkeeper 3,000
25 guards 2,200 (each)
1 guard 1,900
21 guards 1,750 (each)
7 utility men $6.25 per day (each)
2 chaplains 1,600 (each)
Katherine M. Penders, organist 1,000
Mary E. Kelly, organist 1,000

It is not every jail that provides an organist to play for the prisoners; and surely there cannot be many jails in the United States that provide two. Without having access to all the payrolls since the present regime came into power it is impossible to ascertain how long this service has been provided for inmates, but two organists were on the payroll published in 1932, Katherine M. Penders and one M. A. Carmody. Mayor Hague, who often makes speeches about crime, criminals, reformatories, and methods for rehabilitating criminals, appears to have failed to report upon this Hudson County experiment on the effect of organ music upon offenders; since at least sixteen thousand dollars has been spent upon music for jail inmates, it would seem that he should make some announcement to the taxpayers of the results that have been obtained. Inquiry among policemen as to how often these organists play and what sort of music did not elicit much information; one officer, however, observed that he thought maybe they played at Christmas and Easter on a portable organ which is brought into the jail, so that the experiment appears to be rather limited in scope.

The county jail is reported to have one floor of cells which the prisoners call `Palm Beach.' Here it is possible to obtain special food, brought in from a restaurant near-by, although the jail food is said to be very good. The fortunate inmates of `Palm Beach' can also obtain a highball or other special favors on occasion.

Life at the county penitentiary does not seem to be so happy. There is no `Palm Beach,' and no organists appear on the payroll.

Michael J. Gill, warden $5,000
Thomas Kelly, deputy warden 3,000
Harry J. Stearns, secretary to the deputy warden 3,000
Grant P. Curtis, visiting physician 3,600
27 underkeepers 2,200 (each)
27 other employees Various


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