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daily toil. It is also believed that the Agent has practiced the most rigid economy in all expenditures for building materials.

For information in relation to the financial concerns of the Prison, we would beg leave also to refer you to the report of the Agent. That report and tables annexed, together with the monthly statements made to this board under the oaths of the Agent and Clerk, hereto appended, present a clear, comprehensive and truthful exhibit of all the receipts and expenditures on account of the Prison during the current year.

More especially would we call your attention to that part of the Agent's report which suggests the propriety of making such improvements upon the walls and in the work shops as are calculated to diminish the number of men necessary to guard and keep the Prison. If the estimated cost of these improvements there made be correct(which we have no reason to doubt,) it would certainly be wisdom on the part of the state to authorise their completion at the earliest possible day. For it will at once be perceived, that by making a comparatively small appropriation for this purpose, the state will annually save a sum nearly equal to the amount expended.

The managemeut of the internal police and government of the Prison, together with the maintenance of discipline among the convicts, are duties devolving more especially upon the Deputy and Assistant Keepers, subject, it is true, to the general supervision and direction of the Agent.

These duties, it is believed, have been ably and faithfully performed

During the past year comparatively few cases of insubordination and violation of the rules have accrued among the convicts, while a large proportion of them have pursued their daily avocation with a surprising degree of resignation, and even cheerfulness. This happy state of things results, unquestionably, from the institution, to a great degree, of the law of kindness in the place of brute force. The number of cases in which it has been thought necessary to inflict corporeal punishment have been gradually diminishing in the Prison for a series of years, and those cases have been more rare during the past year than for any other corresponding length of time. While the convict has been taught that the least infringement of the rules would meet with its due award, he has at the same time been made to understand that he will be regarded and treated as a man-as a

being capable of comprehending the force of reason and moral suasion. Appeals are made to his judgment rather than to his fears and anima] passions. These, and their kindred mild measures, such as occasional solitary confinement, &c,, (giving the culprit time to reflect upon his conduct,) have been found amply sufficient in nearly all cases to bring the offender to repentance and a strict observance of the rules of disciplinc.

We are aware that the opinion has, and still does, to some extent, prevail, that there are some men whose moral perceptions are so entirely blunted as to render them wholly insensible to the law of kindness, and accessible only through the medium of their animal fears. It may, perhaps, well be questioned, whether this opinion is not founded in an ignoronce of the motives which operate upon the minds of such men.

At all events, it is to be hoped that the time is coming, and is not not far distant, when the treatment heretofore, and even now, to some extent, administered to men in Prison, and especially corporeal punishment which they are often doomed to receive, will be looked upon as unchristian and denounced as a relict of barbarism. Perhaps the wonder is that a practice so inhuman and reprehensible in all, or nearly all cases should have been so long tolerated in this enlightened country It should be remembered by all who are entrusted with the prerogative of administering punishment, that the convict in Prison is sentenced by the law to expiate his crime by confinement and hard labor, and that every degree of punishment beyond what is necessary

for the due execution of this sentence and the attainment of the best ends to be answered by it is excessive and beyond the sentence and intention of the law.

These sentiments, we firmly believe, will commend themselves to the mind and heart of every philanthropist, and are destined to prevail and to be acknowledged in every Prison and place of punishment in the land.

The report of the Physician will be found to contain all necessary details in relatian to the health of the convicts.

We will only remark in general terms that there bas occurred only one death within the walls of the Prison during the past year. This is certainly a matter of profound gratitude. Especially when we reflect that the past season has been marked by the prevalence

throughout the country of a variety of diseases of the most malignant character. It is true that considerable sickness has prevailed among the convicts, but it has been mostly of a nature that yielded readily to medical treatment; and it is believed that there has been less time lost from this cause than in former years. This comparatively healthy state of the convicts will cease, perhaps, to be a matter of surprise when it is stated that under the direction of this board, in conjunetion with the Agent, the officers having charge of the yard, shops, and prison buildings, have been unt.ring in their exertions to remove, or cause te be removed, every thing calculated to render the atmosphere impure and unhealthy. Lime has been used freely about the vard and buildings and great attention has been paid to cleanliness, both of the clothing of the convicts and their persons. Saperadded to all this, much care has been observed in relation to the diet of the men, and whenever it was found that a particular article of food furnished with the rations, proved injurious, it was immediately changed for something calculated to restore the system to a healthy and vigorous state..

Sluch cre lit is certainly due to the agent and his subordinate osticers, and also to the physician, for their humane efforts to promote the health and welfare of the convicts.

A knowledge of the religious and moral condition of the convicts, may be obtained from the chaplain's report.

The library of the prison, now contains many valuable books. The sum of one hundred dollars, has been expended for books during the past year, and much pains taken to select good, substantially bound, standard works.

These books are sought after with much avidity by the conviets, anl it is believed that many of them are deriving substantial benefit from their perusal.

The officers of the prison felt that it was due to the cause of humanity, to make a statement to the last legislature, in relation to the condition of convicts sentenced here to solitary confinement for life. These men were confined in small cells, situated in the body of the main block, badly lighted, and without any means of ventilation, er cept through a small iron lattice door. It was evident to all, that they were rapidly loosing, not only their physical, but mental faculties, and that thus situated, could not long survive.

The result of the deliberations of that body upon the subject, was the passage of the following act, to wit:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Michigan, That the convicts which have been, or may be sentenced to solitary confinement in the state prison, at hard labor for life, may be released from solitary confinement, and employed as other convicts are, whenever, and for such times, as the Inspectors may by resolution direct, until such times as proper cells are prepared, to enable such sentence to be fully enforced.”

At the first meeting of this board held subsequent to the passage of the above act, the following resolution was adopted, to wit:

Resolved, That the agent may and he is hereby authorized at his discretion to release such convicts as are now or may hereafter be sentenced to solitary confinement for life, from their cells and employ them in such manner as he may deem most safe and profitable to the State, Provided, said convicts shall in all cases comply with the rules and regulations of the Prison.

Thus clothed with authority, the agent immediately directed that four of the five then in confinement, should be taken from their cells and “employed as other convicts.” This favor it was not deemed either safe or prudent to extend to the other individual. Of those liberated three were placed on contracts. The other being a good mechanic was employed upon the state work. Two of those placed upon contract have conducted with the utmost propriety; laboring constantly and cheerfully for the benefit of their employers. The other one pursued the same course for some time. He finally made an attempt to escape---succeeded in scaling the walls ----was fired upon by the guard-wounded and retaken. He was then remanded to his cell, and there remains in solitary confinement. It is not known that the one employed upon the Prison buildings, has been guilty of a single violation of the rules. His conduct has been most exemplary throughout. He has been entrusted with the principal charge of the framing department; has labored constantly and faithfully, and his services have been of great value to the state.

These men when first taken from the cells, were so reduced and debilitated, that they could scarcely walk from the Prison to the shops, and in all human probability could not have long survived in that situation. They however rapidly improved and were soon able to perform their daily labor with ease and comfort.

What course shall be adopted in relation to these men in future is

a question which now arises, for it will be remembered that the act releasing them from solitary confinement extends only to such time as proper cells can be furnished. This it is thought can soon be done. Must they then, after having for a long time conducted so well and labored so faithfully, be again immured in solitary cohfinement, or will the legislature deem it wise and prudent to extend further lenity? In considering upon this subject, other questions are also presented to the mind, to wit: What effect would the latter course have upon the commission of crime, and how far would the safety of community be thereby effected ?

These questions we do not propose to answer, but have been thus explicit in stating facts and raising queries, for the purpose of placing the matter in a fair light before the legislature, where it properly belongs.

From frequent examinations made by this board, we are satisfied that the rations furnished during the past year were composed of articles of provision, as well proportioned to conduce to the health of the convicts, as can well be obtained. The contract has therefore been let to furnish rations for the ensuing year, commencing on the first day of December, in the same proportions, for six cents and six mills per daily ration.

Our monthly inspections of the prison, have tended only to convince us that every reasonable attention has been paid to the wants and comfort of the convicts, by the agent and other officers. We have uniformly found that the provisions furnished, were ample, and of good quality, and that the convicts were comfortably clad. All of which is respectfully submitted.

JOSEPH B. PIERCE,
BENJAMIN KNIGHT,
EZRA PLATT,
Inspectors of the State Prison.

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