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Report of the Physician. To the Inspectors of the Michigan State Prison:
GENTLEMEN:--In compliance with the established usage of the Institution, I make the following report of the health of the convicts in the Prison since the period of my appointment, and previous to the first of April, so far as I have personal knowledge.
I visited the Prison occasionally during the months of December and January last, in the absence of the attending Physician, and more frequently in the months of February and March.
The health of the Prison was good during the winter, and there was nothing to claim particular attention in the hospital department until the latter part of March, when the colored convict Jackson was taken with an hemorrhage from the stomach which proved fatal in a few days.
A post mortem examination was had a few hours after death, which exhibited an ulcer of considerable extent in the mucous coat of the stomach. The blood vessels of the stomach were highly injected. and the blood appeared to have escaped from a blood vessel uncaped by the ulceration.
This is the only death which has occurred in the Prison during the past year. This is a matter of congratulation, particularly when we consider the mortal epidemic which has prevailed throughout the country, and particularly in the prisons of other states.
The establishment has not however been exempt from sickness, and in the latter part of the season of a severe form.
The diseases of the summer months were principally fevers of an intermittent and remittent type, and such as were met with on the outside of the walls.
In the latter part of July the prevailing epidemic began to show Aself in the more frequent occurrence of cases of cholera morbu, and diarrhoea. Many of the cases were severe, and so many were under the epidemic influence for a time as to seriously affect the business operations of the Prison. This form of disease, however, grad
vally disappeared, and I am happy to say that not a well marked ease of cholera existed in the Prison during the season. For this cremption I believe we were much indebted to the sanitory measures adopted by the officers of the Prison.
The cleanliness of the Prison buildings--the regular and nutricious diet--the occupation of the mind by the daily task of labor- the cleanliness of persons and clothing of convicts--and, not least, the kind attention and encouragement given to those who were sick, had much to do in warding off a disease that is often produced by desponding fear,
About the commencement of Autumn the Dysentery made its appearance in the Prison, and continued more or less severe up to the fore part of November.
This proved the most obstinate form of disease that we have bado in the Prison during the past year. The health of the convicts is good at the
time. In conclusion, I would acknowledge the cordial co-operation of the Inspectors, Agent, and other officers of the Prison, in carrying into effect the most humane plans for alleviating the confinement of the convicts and for administering to their wants when sick. All of which is respectfully submitted.
IRA C. BACKUS, M. D., Physician to the Penitentiary. Jetson, Dec. 20th, 1849.
Notr.— The Report of the Chaplain, referred to in the first paré of the body of this Report, has been unaccountably mislaid and lost. This is to be regretted.
B. KNIGHT, Inspector.
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT of the Secretary of
State, giving the number of Insane, Deaf, Dumb and Blind persons in the State.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF State,
Lunsing, Junuary 7, 1850. To the Hon. the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of
The “Joint Resolution relative to statistical information of the insane, deaf, dumb and blind,” approved April 3, 1848, makes it the duty of the township assessors, when making out their assessment rolls, in each year, to ascertain and set down in tables prepared for that purpose, the names of all insane, deaf, dumb and blind persons in their respective townships, with information respecting the condition of each, with regard to health, habits and occupation; the pecuniary ability of the patients or persons liable for their support, with other particulars specified in the resolution.
This statement is required to be deposited by the assessors, with the Supervisor of their township, on the first day of October, in each year, with the facts brought down to that date.
, It is made the duty of the supervisor of each township to deliver such statement to the county clerk of his county, to be by him laid before the board of supervisors of the county, at their annual meeting. The several boards of supervisors are required to condense the facts exhibited in the returns for their sereral counties, and transmit the same to the Secretary of State on or before the first day of November in each year, to be by him reported to the legislature at the commencement of the next session.
The language of the resolution seems to require that the report from this office should contain a full statement of all the items of in
a formation, enumerated in the resolution, including the name, habits and pecuniary condition of patients and others, as received from the supervisors. Upon examination of the returns received, it was apprehended that such a statement, involving as it would the publica. tion of the names, habits, character and condition of persons without their consent, might, in some instances, be justly regarded as an improper or unnecessary disclosure of the affairs of private life; I have therefore prepared abstracts of the returns received, omitting particulars which might be deemed improper for publication, but embracing, it is believed, all the facts reported of practical importance. All which are herewith respectfully submitted as the first annual report of this department under the joint resolution above mentioned.
GEO. W. PECK,
Secretary of State.