I read from the link you give that,
'All the inmates are called upon to make a statement as to their last employment, and the cause of their misfortune, which is afterwards inquired into'
If this was the truth, between needing a reference of present employment or none needed at all, I wonder how they would have dealt with Thompson. His last and only employment, apart from with his editor from the middle of 1888 was with the shoemaker who fired him after Thompson inured one of his customer. The shoemaker said that of all those he employed Thompson was his only failure.