Weird Universe


Wee tot sent to prison, 1906

Harsh justice in Switzerland.

Could this boy perhaps have been the youngest person ever convicted of a crime and sent to jail?

The Minneapolis Journal - Nov 18, 1906

Wee Tot Sent To Prison
Three-year-old Swiss is convicted as a thief.

Geneva, Nov. 17 — The Swiss public and press are aroused at the extraordinary action of a magistrate presiding at the criminal sessions at Weinfelden in the commune of Thurgoirs, who has sentenced a child barely 3 years of age to three and a half months' imprisonment for "theft."
The child, who is the son of a laborer, saw some penny toys dangling from the doorway of a shop. He seized two of them, and took them home, and an hour later was "arrested" by a tall gendarme on a charge of theft.
When the case was called at Weinfelden the child had to be carried by a gendarme, as he could not be seen over the top of the dock.
In response to the magistrate's questions the little fellow laughingly admitted that he took the toys. He could not speak plainly, and it was with difficulty that the gendarme, who acted as intermediary, was made to understand that he wanted them "as he did not have any toys like other boys."
"Three and a half months' imprisonment," said the magistrate sternly.
The boy's parents fell on their knees before the magistrate, and pleaded with him to remit the sentence on account of his tender age and his inability to distinguish between right and wrong. The magistrate declined to revise the sentence, however, and said "Remove the prisoner."
The gendarme, who was much affected, carried the child out of the dock and placed him in the arms of an astonished warder.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Nov 08, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Prisons, Babies and Toddlers, 1900's

Won’t happen again

Sources: The Daily Standard (Sikeston, Missouri) - Feb 11, 1956; Bridgeport Telegram (Connecticut) - Apr 4, 1955. More >>
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jul 19, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Crime, Prisons, 1950's

Hitler tamed by prison

Epic prison board fail: This guy, Hitler. Prison has changed his ways. He won't cause any trouble now!

From The New York Times - Dec 21, 1924.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jan 13, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Predictions, Prisons, 1920's

Prison Pennants


With USA incarceration rates at an all-time high, surely there's a market for these nowadays?

From the 1950 catalog.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Sep 09, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Johnson Smith Catalog, Prisons, Signage, 1950's

Jimmy Tayoun, Prison Consultant

Jimmy Tayoun was a Philadelphia City Councilman who got busted for accepting bribes and concealing income from the IRS. As a result, he spent some time in a federal prison, but he used the experience to good advantage by penning a 64-page guide of practical advice for those on their way to prison, which was published upon his release in 1995. He titled it, Going To Prison? It seems like a book that deserves a place in any library of the weird. [Allegheny Times]

He also set up a 1-900 number to answer questions from "fearful first-timers," charging them $2.50 a minute to select from a menu of seven topics. In this way, according to wikipedia, he pioneered the profession of "prison consultant" (apparently he was the first to use the term), that being someone who "provides newly convicted criminals with advice on how to cope and survive in the unfamiliar surroundings of prison."

Jimmy's tips included these words of wisdom:
  • Bring a good amount of cash if you can.
  • Ask the custodial officer for a couple more razors, some more soap, and later for toothpaste. After a while you will learn where it is stored, check the door until you find it open, and help yourself — though never take too much since your lockers do get checked
  • See a dentist before serving time
  • Be wary of probation officers
  • Never snitch on another inmate or guard
  • Bring two pairs of eyeglasses, though "nothing fancy schmantzy"
  • Get a doctor's note to avoid being assigned a top bunk
  • Arrange private transportation to prison to avoid being handcuffed on the trip

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Apr 17, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Prisons, 1990's

Prison Sign Language, 1941

Back in the 1940s, talking wasn't allowed in the dining room of the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. So the convicts developed a primitive sign language to communicate what food they wanted:
  • Upheld hand: more bread, please
  • Upraised fist: more potatoes
  • Upheld knife, fork and spoon: more stew
  • Washing motion with the hand: water
  • Thumb up and index finger straight out: coffee or tea
  • Open and close the hand as if milking a cow: milk, please!
  • Hand flat and passed back and forth across the plate: gravy
  • Fork held up: meat
  • Thumb thrust through the fingers: vinegar
  • Two fingers thrust out: salt and pepper
  • If the person at the end of the table beats the table with his spoon: dessert is on the way
[Milwaukee Sentinel — Nov 16, 1941]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Apr 14, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Languages, Prisons, 1940's

Last-Meal Plates

Artist Julie Green creates plates that show the last meals of death-row inmates. She's been creating these plates for 13 years and now has around 500 of them. The most popular last-meal request? Junk food from KFC and McDonald's. [Daily Mail]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jan 30, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Art, Food, Junk Food, Prisons

Jugged Rooster

[From Life magazine for December 14 1942.]

I'm not sure what the impetus was for this brainstorm, but the letter writer has confessed to sticking a tiny chick into a jar through a small hole, then letting the chick grow to adult size totally within the confinement.

Proper punishment suggestions welcome!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jun 16, 2010 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Horror, Prisons, Outsider Art, 1940's

Take your child to work day…the F-sate way!

An F-state prison guard decided that the best way to help his co-workers' kids understand what it's like to work in prison was to tase them. Please note that this is now an international story.
Bonus Quote: 'The big shock came when I got fired.' the Daily Mail
Posted By: Lovemonkey | Date: Tue May 05, 2009 | Comments (3)
Category: Prisons, Stupidity, Children

Ferguson Safety Smock

Why you should buy a Ferguson Safety Smock:
  • They're virtually indestructible.
  • They have no hard fasteners that can be filed into weapons.
  • They have no nylon hook-and-loop fasteners that can be torn off and used as a rope.
  • They include a sanitary belt "designed for self-destructive females on their menses."
  • Plus, they make a great fashion statement!

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Apr 28, 2009 | Comments (10)
Category: Fashion, Prisons
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