Utahn Honored By Prison Association

Arthur Pratt, Warden of the Utah State Prison, Chosen as President

Oakland, Cal., Oct. 14—The American Prison association, at its closing session tonight, selected Buffalo, N.Y., as the place of its next meeting. The following officers were elected:

Arthur Pratt, Salt Lake City, president; Joseph P. Buyers, Philadelphia, secretary; David F. Forgan, Chicago, treasurer; H.H. Shirer, Columbus, Ohio, financial secretary.

The association recommended for selection by the secretary of state at Washington, to represent the United States in international affairs relating to prisons, John Koren of Boston, Marquis C. Brown of Indiana and R.B. von Klineschmidt, president of the Arizona State university.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 14, 1915, 4]
[Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 15, 1915]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]

Pratt Resigns as Warden at State Prison
Chief Deputy, Commissary Clerks and Guard Also Step Out of Institution

Law is Amended to Force Change
Resignation States Non-partisan Policy Abandoned—Storrs May be Successor

Arthur Pratt, warden of the state prison, presented his resignation from that office in person to Governor Elmon Hamberger this morning, along with the written resignations of A.C. Ure, deputy warden, Henry C. Taggart, commissary clerk, and J.W. Gray, guard. The resignations are to be effective April 1. It was announced that the governor had not yet selected any successor to the warden. The name of George A. Storrs, of Provo, has been most prominently mentioned in connection with the position, and the intimation was given on the floor of the state senate that he was the probable choice of the governor.

The resignation comes as the climax of some rapidfire notion which occurred on the closings days of the legislature. Last Saturday morning, in response to the importunities of several person who wished to have a bill presented placing the office within the list of those held at the pleasure of the state administration, the governor’s secretary called up the warden, and asked if he would tender his resignation. The reply was in the negative. That afternoon, immediately after house reconvened after the noon “saunter,” Representative Heppler introduced a bill which was rushed through, which amended the present law by cutting from it certain clauses which provided that the warden can be removed only after a hearing based on charges made in writing was held.

The board of corrections, however, was made the sole judge in the matter, and the first part of the section read that the warden was to hold office at the pleasure of the board. That clause remains in the law as amended. The bill passed the senate after some discussion, and although it was designated as a party measure, enough Democrats voted against the bill to prevent the emergency clause from operating, the bill standing 11 to 7. The bill was signed by the governor yesterday.

By this action the warden could have held office, except in case specific charges had been upheld by the board of corrections, for two more months. His resignation, however, is effective five weeks before the new law becomes effective.

The new board of corrections, which will have the duty of appointing a successor to Warden Pratt, has already been designated, as Governor Hamberger, ex officio member, S.R. Thurman, and J.C. Lynch. Mr. Thurman has been nominated for the supreme court, however, and it is doubtful he will qualify as the member of the corrections board.

Warden Pratt’s Resignation

The text of Mrs. Pratt’s resignation follows:

Hon. Simon Hamberger, President of the Board of Corrections of the State of Utah

Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith to you, as the acting president of the Board of Corrections, by which body I have been appointed, and to whom I am responsible, my resignation as warden of the state prison.

On last Saturday when you, as governor of this state, requested my resignation I declined to comply with the request. This was for the reason that I am an appointee of the board of corrections and not an appointee of the governor of the State of Utah; and for the further reason that for the last thirteen years, during which time I have served as the warden of the Utah state prison, I have conducted the affairs of the institution in accordance with the policy adopted and pursued by the American Prison association and by the American Wardens’ association.

I have been a member of both of said associations for many years and have had the honor of serving a term of one year as president of the former and for a similar term as chairman of the latter association. The experience of the members and officers comprising both of said associations has been to the effect that it is for the best interests of the states prisons and of their inmates that those institutions be conducted upon a strictly non-partisan basis, and that no claim by anyone be considered except upon the basis of efficiency. It is upon that basis that during my incumbency I have conducted the affairs of the Utah state prison, and no guard or other employee has ever been employed, or refused employment, or has been discharge, for political reasons.

Adopts Partisan Policy

Since the present legislature of this state, by and with your consent and approval, has, however, seen fit to repeal the law by which the warden of the state prison can be removed only for cause, and by which law the affairs of the prison could be conducted upon a non-partisan basis, and in its stead has enacted a statute by which the position of the warden is made political and thus the policy of nonpartisanship of the affairs of the institution must be changed. I can no longer conscientiously remain at the head of the institution as warden. For that reason I herewith tender my resignation to take effect on April 1, 1917.

I should have been pleased if I could have made my resignation effective sooner, but I cannot well arrange all the affairs of the institution and leave them in proper condition and order at an earlier date. I therefore respectfully request that my resignation be accepted and that I be relieved of my duties as warden ont eh date aforesaid.

Arthur Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mar. 13, 1917, 5]
[Deseret News, Mar. 13, 1917]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]


Pratt Steps Down From Wardenship

Relinquishes Duties After Continuous Prison Service of Thirteen Years

Closing a term of a little more than thirteen years of continuous service as warden of the state prison, Warden Arthur Pratt will step out and turn over his duties to Warden George A. Storrs this morning.

At 5 o’clock last night Chief deputy Warden Andrew Ure and Deputy Henry Taggart completed their duties and left the service of the state. Mr. Ure turned his duties over to Absalom G. Dyer, veteran guard of the prison, who became chief deputy warden.

Warden Pratt, who resigned from the position of warden recently, will take a position with the Oregon Short Line Railroad company, with which road he was connected when he was appointed warden of the prison thirteen years ago. Mr. Ure announced last night that he had not laid his plans of the future, and Mr. Taggart said the same.

Pratt was appointed warden by the state board of correction when Heber M. Wells was first elected governor of the state, and he had been in the continuous service as head of the prison. He was formerly warden in territorial days in 1888 and 1889.

Mr. Pratt also served as a deputy United States marshal for several years in territorial days. He also at one time was chief of police of Salt Lake City.

Chief Deputy Ure had been connected with the prison for eighteen years. He was a guard for five years, then was secretary of the board of pardons for three years. Twelve years ago he was named chief deputy warden, and had held that position continuously since. Mr. Taggart had been connected with the prison for about twelve years or more.

Mr. Storrs, who becomes warden and takes charge this morning, was formerly in charge of the Spring Canyon Coal company’s properties at Storrs, Utah county, and was formerly sheriff of Utah county.

Mr. Dyer, who becomes deputy warden, has been a peace officer in Utah for more than thirty years.

H.S. Shurtliff, acting superintendent of the prison farm, resigned yesterday. He will be succeeded by Wilford Giles.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1, 1917, 2]
[Salt Lake Tribune, Apr. 1, 1917]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]


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