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Belle Deming, State Agent, Soldiers' Orphans' Home.
Genevieve Henderson, State Agent, Soldiers' Orphans'

Home, and Women's Reformatory.
Henrietta Webber, State Agent, Soldiers' Orphans' Home,

and Juvenile Home.
Ray M. Hanchett, State Agent, Training School for Girls.
F. M. Hoeye, State Agent, Training School for Boys, and

Juvenile Home. S. V. Culp, State Agent, Training School for Boys. AbsentMrs. Lucy M. Sickels, Superintendent, Training School for

Girls.

FINGER PRINTS.

Chairman Strief: The first number on the program is a paper by Lena A. Beach, M. D., Superintendent of the Women's Reformatory at Rockwell City, on the subject of “Finger Prints.'

I saw the finger prints of President Harding while at McAlester, Oklahoma, last week,

I take great pleasure in introducing Doctor Beach.
The paper will be found on page 21.

Chairman Strief: The paper is now before the conference for discussion.

Superintendent Voldeng: I would like to ask Doctor Beach what effect the use of acid would have on finger prints, to destroy the normal prints. I understand it is being used by criminals but do not know how successfully.

Superintendent Beach: It would only temporarily destroy the ridges but not permanently. It might destroy the ridges so that if a print was found soon after the impression was made, it might be impossible to identify it.

Superintendent Witte: Since this discussion has come up, I will have something to say on the subject. I know there are all sorts of devices, contrivances and methods used to enable the evil doer to accomplish his will and still hide his trail so far as finger prints are concerned, but these methods can be only temporary. The tracing of the finger print is a permanent affair and is individual, and characteristic as a person's face. Any method used to change your print would have to be some method to prevent the papillae of the true skin from registering their impressions in the print. To change their arrangement permanently it would be necessary to injure and remove part of the true skin, removing the epidermis would be insufficient. You may remember that the skin is made of two parts, the superficial scarf-skin, which can be easily raised and removed, and does not contain nerves, but does contain the coloring matter of the skin, and the true skin lying underneath, which contains in its structure little elevations containing nerves, blood vessels and tactile corpuscles, the papillae referred to. For the malefactor to change his prints he would simply have to skin his finger, or at least destroy the papillae. The inability or unwillingness of the individual to do this renders finger prints an important and reliable means of identification.

Superintendent Kuser: I do not hope to add anything to Dr. Beach's very excellent paper. I have been very much interested in it and chiefly so, perhaps because we are going to adopt the plan of taking finger prints of the boys in the Training School at Eldora. I have not in the past been greatly in favor of such a thing for the reason that it has been used for the most part in identifying criminals and if that thought were held by the boys it might cause them to feel that we expected them in due time to qualify as such. As a matter of fact we try to make them feel that the opposite is true; that we believe they are going to make good and that few of them will drift into penal institutions.

I am very glad to have Doctor Beach's suggestions along the line of taking foot prints of babies in hospitals, in order to identify them, not because of any crime they may commit but because the mother wants to know beyond a doubt which is her child. And the further thought that instead of using finger prints to prove one's guilt they may also be used to prove his innocence. I was interested in the story of the man, wherein ten good, repu table people identified him as being the one who was in a city of California on a certain day when as a matter of fact it was positively proven, that he was in the state of Kansas at the time.

As I stated, I am glad to have these favorable points brought out by Doctor Beach as they will be very valuable to me in presenting the matter to the boys and introducing the system in the Training School. We shall want the boys to feel that the plan is not wholly to detect criminals but partially at least, to protect innocent people.

The idea of using finger prints as a means of identification is gaining ground and is becoming of greater service each year. Banks use it quite extensively and even the public schools are finding it of value. I am sure, however, that in making and recording finger prints of our boys, they should be made to feel that we are not doing it with any thought of pre-judging them. Some of them will stray from the straight path but the making of the finger prints will in no way adduce to such tendencies and no boy need feel that merely because his finger prints are taken we are expecting him to be anything but a good, honorable citizen.

Member McColl: I was interested not long ago, in reading about a very famous painting. A duplicate was found and the charge was made that it was a forgery, that the painting was not the original but a copy. It was by Corot or Millet, I believe, or by some one of the other great masters. On close comparison the finger prints on the painting supposed to be the spurious painting were found to be exactly the same as on the original. The result was they found that the painter had painted the two pictures exactly alike and the value of each piece was established.

Member Butler: We have been talking about this matter here among ourselves in regard to the Training School for Boys and the taking of finger prints, and I do not seem to be able to reconcile myself to the view taken by Superintendent Kuser. I sort of deplore the idea that seems to be becoming quite general that it is necessary to indite the public. While it may be true that quite a number of the boys at Eldora may get into trouble, yet it is also true that boys generally in cities and in the country, and everywhere else are liable to get into trouble. It is going to be a very delicate matter to suggest to a boy who has any sense of responsibility and any hope of reaching certain ideals that he may have in this world, to go up to him and tell him that we want to take his finger prints. It may be suggested to the boy that he is under suspicion, in fact if he is a normal boy, he can arrive at no other conclusion, no matter how delicately or gently the approach may be made with that sort of a proposition. I am quite sure if anything happened in a community where any of us happened to reside and a bunch of state officials, or city offi cials, or county officials, should come in and undertake to take the finger prints of the community, everybody in the communitysome of us would raise quite a howl about it. We would not want to be embarrassed that way, that somebody else thought that we had or intended to commit some offense against the public. Personally, I cannot see that it would be a good thing or a proper thing to indite the school at Eldora in that way and I cannot make myself think that it would have any other effect than to impress upon all the boys there who have thinking strength enough to understand what it meant, that the state was suspicious of them. That the state thought it more than probable that they would be mixed up in some crime in the immediate future and they wanted to be prepared to get after them in that way. I have an idea that it does not help to make the country better, by undertaking to impress the people with the thought or the supposition that they may all become criminals.

Superintendent Kuser: Perhaps it may be a very delicate subject and yet I do not know why any honest man should fear the truth. If anybody should accuse me of a crime, I am perfectly willing that he use any fair method whereby he can prove me guilty. He would be at perfect liberty to use finger prints and I should also demand that I have every possible means of using my finger prints to prove that I was not the guilty person.

Unfortunate as it may be there are those in the state of Iowa who make it their business to look with suspicion upon our boys and no matter how straight a lad may go, he is under constant surveillance and upon the slightest provocation he is accused of wrong-doing. These people do not endeavor to guide and stabilize our lads but look on each one as a probable criminal and seem to be really surprised when they make good as the great majority of them do. Because of this suspicious attitude toward the boys I can see where finger prints might work to the great benefit of a boy.

But because our chaps do go out with certain elements of society rather expecting them to misstep, the boy who wants to be on the square will not object to having his finger prints in the State Bureau of Identification.

Chairman Strief: I am entirely in accord with Superintendent Kuser's idea relating to the taking of finger prints at Eldora. I think it is a splendid thing. I am the father of two sons, and I do not think either of them would have the slightest objection to having his finger prints taken. In view of the fact that one of my sons travels all over the United States and there is always the possibility that he might meet with an accident at any time, and so many unidentified bodies are found in many cities, I do not know but that it would be a good record to have. I think my finger prints are on file in connection with my life insurance policy and I do not object to it. I believe it would be a splendid thing to have finger prints of the boys at Eldora.

Superintendent Kuser: I believe it will also act as a restraining influence. Even as straight forward as we all consider ourselves to be I wonder how honest each would be if there were no laws restraining us? I am inclined to believe that if a boy feels that there is a positive way of identifying him should he break a law that the blame could not be laid on some other person, he would be much less apt to have a part in any undertaking which might cause him to be called before the bar of justice. In other words the very fear of detection would be a very great assistance to him in throwing off the desire to do wrong. SOME THOUGHTS ON THE CAUSE, CONSEQUENCE,

AND CURE OF CRIME. Chairman Strief: We are honored this morning by having with us a gentleman who has been in the service of the state for a great many years—thirty-five I believe. Father Robert Powers, chaplain at the Men's Reformatory at Anamosa will read his paper on "Some Thoughts on the Cause, Consequences, and Cure of Crime." I take pleasure in introducing Father Powers.

The paper will be found on page 26.

Chairman Strief: Are there any remarks on this excellent paper ?

Member Butler: Of course I do not pretend to know much about the paper just read and I want to admit that to start with. I do want to say that I have been very much impressed with the paper. It is about as fine a paper as I have ever listened to and as a member of the board of control, I want to express my thanks to Father Powers for the splendid paper which he has read.

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