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REPORT .

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Mr. SPEAKER: Your Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, which has had under consideration, among other matters, the affairs and condition of the Folsom Branch State Prison, beg leave to submit the following as their report on the same, as also the accompany. ing recommendations. It may be proper, however, to give in this place a general and concise history of the Branch Prison, in order to arrive at a better understanding of the whole subject matter. The Folsom Branch State Prison has a history which extends back over eleven years. As early as eighteen hundred and fifty-eight the Legislature saw the necessity of enlarging the prison accommodation, and by an Act of April fourth, of that ycar, the Board of State Prison Directors were empowered to select a site for the Branch Prison, and to employ a certain number of convicts in building such a structure as would be suitable for the purpose. The Act of March thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, supplemented the former Act, and directed the Board of State Prison Directors, before July first, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, to select a site for the Branch Prison building either at Rocklin, Placer County, or Folsom, Sacramento County.

On December first, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine, the Board reported to the Legislature that, in compliance with their instructions, they had selected Folsom as the site of the Branch Prison, and had taken from the Natoma Water and Mining Company a deed for three hundred and fifty acres of land in that locality. Subsequently, under Mr. Booth's administration, a further deed for about one hundred and thirty-three acres of land was made to the State by the Natoma Water and Mining Company; all of which land was conveyed in consideration of the State's removing a certain number of convicts to Folsom, and giving the grantor the use of their labor to the extent of fifteen thousand dollars, calculated at the rate of fifty cents per day for each convict so employed. It might be well to point out here that this land is so situated, and is of such a nature, as to afford every reason to expect and believe that the labor of convicts can be there employed in a manner which will not only enable them to support themselves, thus removing a portion at least of a heavy burden from the over-weighted tax-payers of this State, but will also enable the State in a very short time to reap a profit from the labor of the prisoners without, in any manner, interfering with or decreasing the legitimate gains of that portion of our citizens

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engaged in skilled mechanical industry. This is no illusory hope. Your committee have for themselves seen the almost inexhaustible quarries of granite on the land, for which granite, when cut, the demand is far in excess of the supply. The labor of quarrying and cutting stone, being at once healthful and laborious, is peculiarly suited to prisoners. The art of cutting stone is one easily acquired, and when acquired cannot fail to be unceasingly remunerative. A skillful person can cut two hundred blocks of this stone in a daythe price paid for the labor of making them is two cents each. Of course it is not expected that a convict will do so much, but if we take the value of their labor at, one-half we have for each con vict employed on this work two dollars per day. Allowing for tools used, for powder, incidental expenses, etc., fifty cents per day, we have one dollar and fifty cents as the net earnings of each person. . Assuming that three hundred, out of the five hundred prisoners it is proposed to confine at Folsom, be employed in stone-making, this industry alone will yield to the State an income of four hundred and fifty dollars per day-a better result, certainly, than can be attained by farming the prisoners out to contractors, who force them into competition with free white labor, at from fifty cents to one dollar a day.

Vegetables for the use of the prison can be cultivated on many parts of the land, which is well watered throughout, and thus a cheap and wholesome supply of provisions can be secured by a judicious use of the labor of the convicts.

Portions of the land are sufficiently wooded to furnish all the fuel required for many years to come. In addition to the large waterpower which the State has here acquired, and which offers inducements for engaging in many profitable manufactures, there is ani abundant supply of water for the uses of the prison at an elevation of fifty (50) feet above the floor of the building.

To go back to the history of the prison. We find that after the report of the State Prison Directors had been made, nothing further was done in the matter, until by the Act of March thirtieth, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, which appropriated one hundred and sev: enty-five thousand dollars to the Branch Prison, it was rendered imperative on the Board to commence work at Folsom on or before October first, eighteen hundred and seventy-four. A contract was entered into with M. Miles, on the first day of September, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, for the completion of sections numbers one and two. Work was then commenced, and continued until November, eighteen hundred and seventy-five, when, in consequence of the bankruptcy of the contractor, it was stopped, and the building now stands in the unfinished condition in which he left it. Such is a brief history of this building, which was projected many years ago on account of the urgent necessity then felt for increased prison aecommodation. And your committee does not think that this necessity has been at all lessened by the lapse of years, or that there should be any difference of opinion as to the advisability of immer diately providing such increased accommodation, and this feeling of necessity has been a very strong factor in their deliberations and the conclusions arrived at by them.

The means by which this very necessary object can be attained is one of the questions wliich has been presented to this Legislature to determine. Your committee, therefore, for the information of this

House, submit the following facts, in doing which it will be necessary to recapitulate some matters already set forth :

First --The two first sections of the building at Folsom are already advanced to a stage nearly approaching completion, and have, up to this time, cost the State seventy-nine thousand one hundred and twenty-four dollars and sixty-one cents; the contractor further claims that there is a balance still due him amounting to nineteen thousand seven hundred and eighty-one dollars and eighteen cents.

Second-The State, on-taking a deed of the land on which, the prison now stands and other lands adjacent thereto, from the Natoma Water and Mining Company, contracted to supply the company with fifteen thousand dollars' worth of prison labor, no part of which has yet been furnished, and as the land is now in possession of the State there can be no doubt but that the Natoma Water and Mining. Company will have its remedy over against the State if this building be not completed, in which case, of course, the prison labor cannot be furnished as agreed upon.

Third-There is now on the ground a large amount of materials, estimated at ten thousand and seventy-three dollars and fifty cents, which the State might buy at a reasonable price, and which, having been purchased with special reference to the work on this building, and being on the ground, might be used no doubt to great advantage.

Fourth— The building at Folsom is—and for this the committee has the authority of all the experts who have examined it, as well as their own personal inspection-a strong, durable, and substantial edifice; whereas the buildings at San Quentin (with the exception of the workshop building, now burned up), are comparatively worthless.

Now, on one hand we have the proposition to enlarge the prison accommodation at San Quentin, and on the other, to go on and complete the building at Folsom. In view of all the facts, your committee feels bound, in the interest of the State, to make the following recommendations. But before doing so, it would be well to understand that it is not contemplated that the building should be completed strictly according to the original plans and specifications. Considerable modifications have been suggested by a competent architect which will materially decrease the cost, while not impairing the strength and utility of the building. The extent and nature of these modifications can be better appreciated from the following figures: Cost of building as per present plans.

$488,146 13 Cost of building as per modified plans.

256,346 00 To finish the building as it now stands, using the modified plans, will cost one hundred and sixty thousand dollars, and these figures include the price of the materials on the ground, and provide for free white labor. Consequently they will be much reduced by the employment of prison labor, which can be utilized safely in the class of work contemplated in the modified plans, and the building, when completed according to such plans, will afford accommodation for five hundred (500) convicts, one in each cell. The recommendations of the committee are as follows:

First-That the disposition of the whole Branch Prison matter be turned over to the Board of State Prison Directors, and that they be

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authorized and instructed by the Legislature to make a fair trial to see whether the building can be advantageously finished as above set forth, and if it can be so finished to go on and complete the work.

SecondThat said Board be further authorized to make such terms with the contractor as in their opinion may be of benefit to the State, for the purchase of the materials already on the ground and for the completion of the work.

Third-That there being already in the State treasury eighty-five thousand six hundred and ninety-four dollars and seventy-three cents to the credit of the Branch State Prison Fund, a further sum of thirty thousand dollars be appropriated to carry on the work on the Branch State Prison, or such other sum as may on examination be found adequate for said purpose.

And the committee further reports the testimony which they have taken, and which is attached hereto and made a part hereof. All of which is respectfully submitted.

CORNWELL, for the Committee.

TESTIMONY.

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H. G. LIVERMORE, sworn.

The facts are simply these: There was very early, in Governor Weller's time—as early as that--a law providing for a branch prison, and authorizing the Board of State Prison Directors to select a site therefor. That law was in abeyance till Governor Haight's time, when a law was passed directing the Directors to choose a site by or before a certain day. . And that Legislature enacted a law making it the imperative duty of the Board of State Prison Directors to elect a site and carry out the law. The original law provided that this Branch Prison should be built by convict labor. The State Prison Directors went and made an examination of all the places, and they selected Folsom. But they, reported to the next Legislature that no appropriation having been made, they had failed to carry out the law. Then the last Legislature enacted a law conclusively fixing the site and making an appropriation.

of Company with this matter, I will state it just as shortly as I can. will state that Governor Haight was always in favor of this project; and this has always been considered an eligible site from the time of Governor Weller down. Governor Haight said that if he could have an examination of the ground made, and it was passed upon by competent authority, he should favor the passage of the law. General Alexander went down there at Governor Haight's request, and sent in a report. Upon that report being brought in, Governor Haight embraced the project, and it was passed near the close of the session. As to the eligibility of the site, General Alexander's report was very favorable.

And now I want to speak about this matter of stone-cutting. It has been tried in other prisons and found to be the best work for convicts. It is hard work, and healthy work, and it is profitable work. These considerations influenced Governor Haight.

[The witness here read from Exhibits A and B in reference to the industry of stone-cutting.)

Now, as to the title. The State title is indefeasible. It has been passed upon, and it is indefeasible. There remains just this: these deeds are partly in nature of a contract

Mr. Clunie-Yes. As I understand, we agreed with this company that, in consideration of this company giving this land, that this prison should be erected ?

A.-And that we should get State Prison labor.

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To Mr. Bagge-Our compensation was thirty thousand days' labor --fifteen thousand dollars' worth of State Prison labor. The case with the company is this: If the State should not go on, it would be very much better for us; what the State would give us, we consider that we should have to get that rental value. The committee found, as a matter of fact, that the value was five hundred dollars a month.

Mr. CornwellThe State has acquired property from this company in consideration of the State's erecting a prison there, and giving it a certain amount of convicts, and supplying that company with thirty thousand days' labor of those convicts.

Mr. Clunie--And assisting in utilizing the water-power there.

Mr. Cornwell-But the State derives some benefit from that, and so does the company. Here is the proposition. The State must do one of two things; either put him in as good position as if he had not started at all, or give the company their labor. If the Legislature should see fit to abandon that site, then the question arises as to compensation.

A. -No, I want to say one thing. To refer to the consideration that has always been of great weight. The State Prison Committees have given consideration to these facts. That working of stone is profitable work, and an industry at which you can utilize prison labor so as to keep from competing with the mechanics in San Francisco. The work done in San Quentin takes the bread out of the mouths of the chair-makers, shoe-makers, etc. Now, suggesting uses for the State Prison labor, and here they are: Now, the wood that makes the furniture at San Quentin all comes through Folsom. The price of freight is but little more from here than from San Quentin, because the route there is in the hands of a monopoly. Not, perhaps, all the wood, but I know a great deal of it, most of it, goes down there. I mean live lumber, not fancy wood. I have had some experience in rafting down that stream with a drive for about three years with another man. We got down there without difficulty, but we were so delayed there by a jam at the falls that we lost many logs. Now, when that dam is complete you will be able to bring down such a pack of lumber as is only seen in Maine. Now, when you get this lumber, here is another industry-sash and door-making. That won't interfere with mechanics; Chinamen do all of that. I know of one man who employs one hundred and fifty, and there are altogether about four hundred Chinamen at that in the State.

To Mr. Lambourn-The amount of lumber we could get to float down that river is almost inexhaustible. It is nearly illimitable. We recommended eight years ago that this water-power could be used in manufacturing jute. It could be made into bagging for the farmers. Any man who could have that water-power would take a contract for two hundred men. This is an economy greatly needed in this State. I make these suggestions not only as to the employment of this waterpower, but also of these convicts. Mr. Bagge-What right would the State have to the water-power?

A.-They have the whole water, from its first fall, exclusively through the State grounds. We contracted to give the State five feet, but nevertheless, if the construction of the dam makes the fall eight feet, we have no objection to let the State have eight feet-the right to eight feet.

Mr. Lambourn-The greater the fall the more power you have ?
A.-Certainly. Now, this dam is above the grounds. We dam the

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Mr. Livermore-Mr, Ball told me it is right for me to tell it-he says, that the contract provided that the contractor should make his own estimation of the value of the work, as he proceeded on the work, and from time to time should submit that to the architect for his approval; that he undertook to revise the contractor's estimate of the value of the work, and he was told that he would lose his place, if he did; and though he knew that that over-estimated the value of the work, he felt compelled to sign it. One of the State Prison Directors, Drury Melone, said: “You must do this, because the bondsmen are good for it, and if you do over-estimate, you will have it made up to you in the final finish of the job." Mr. Ball states that Mr. Miles made the above statement to him, and not Mr. Melone; and if so, I misunderstood him.

water in above the grounds and bring it down in a large canal from the ditch; where the machinery may be to the ditch below the tail-race is five feet.

Mr. Lambourn-In case you get eight feet, will you grant the State eight feet? A.-The State has the first use of the water, and we use it after the State. When it passes the State ground it flows into our canal; before that it is their water. We dammed the whole river and made a canal there. I moved a good deal of granite in making that canal.

Mr. BaggeWhere do you get water to supply the prison itself?

A.-That comes out of the south fork of the American River. It comes in an open canal that has been there now twenty-three years. We can carry the water over the whole place. The prison has the right to use that water. Q.-How much did the State pay you for this land ?

A.-Nothing; only the promise for thirty thousand days' labor to finish the canal. In my opinion, that will be a very profitable enterprise for the State.

Mr. Clunie-Are there any limitations as to the amount of granite that the State can take out? What about this fifteen feet?

A.-No; no; there is a demarcation made for our canal. It is only to give us room for running our canal ; you may go as deep as you please when you get fifteen feet from the water-power. The State is absolute owner, in fee simple, of that. You may go to the center of the earth, but you must protect our channel.

Mr. Cornwell-Read from the deed the portions referring to waterpower.

Mr. Livermore I will say, that that grant was segregated by a surveyor that Governor Booth sent down there.

Mr. Broderick_Was there any condition as to the size of the building in your contract with the State ? A.-No; five hundred cells was what they spoke of. Mr. Cornwell-Now, can you tell us anything about Miles' contract?

A.-The advertisement under which the contract was let was published in all the papers. The contract was drawn by Wilson, of San Francisco, and Love, the Attorney-General. It was professed by all to be a perfectly valid contract. There were three bids. I saw them opened. Miles' was accepted, and he got his bondsmen. The contract was to build two sections, that were specifically pointed out in the architect's design. He undertook to build two sections for' one hundred and forty-nine thousand dollars, giving able bondsmen.

Here Mr. Livermore and Mr. Clunie had a lengthy discussion concerning the disposal of the twenty per cent. remaining due on Mr. Miles' contract, in the course of which Mr. Livermore said:

But, Mr. Clunie, the architect himself admits that the work was over-estimated. He says himself he passed more.

Mr. Clunie-[Interrupting]—What do you mean? Do you meani, that the sworn officer of the state that Mr. Ball acknowledged to you-that he admitted that he passed more work done than had been doie? Mr. Livermore-Yes, sir; he said so.

Mr. Clunie-Now, take this down. Go on Mr. Livermore, make your statement.

Mr. Livermore I think it's right for me to tell this.
Mr. Clunien-Right; of course it's right.

R. C. BALL, sworn.
Mr. CornwellWhat is your first name?
Answer-Robert.

Q.-I will ask with reference to the present position of the work, as you understand it, of that prison at the present timez if they have gone on according to the contract ?

A. So far as the contract has proceeded they have, or very nearly so. They have followed out the contract in detail, so far.

Q.-Can you tell, from the relative amount of work done, the probable cost of that contracted for?

A.-The contractor has been paid according to schedule furnished to me.

He furnished a bill of items and schedule, with the prices annexed. He has been paid the quantities with the prices set opposite, according to his estimate. I have computed the amount of work done relative

to the cost of the work to be done. I presume his estimates are correct, but don't know it of my own ability; I could not say.

Q.Have you ever yourself estimated as to the probable cost of the construction of the work not completed under that contract ?

A.-I examined it with another party. He made an approximate bid. He did not figure it down as a bidder would.

Q:-Have you that with you?

A.- I recollect pretty nearly what it was. The amount was about ninety-six thousand dollars to complete this contract. Other parties have made it as high as one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars.

Q.-This estimate is one which you think is approximately correct?

A. I believe it is approximately correct. With economy, perhaps the work could be done for ninety-six thousand dollars.

Q.--Who estimated it at one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars?

A.-The party who estimated it thought at the same time it might be done for ninety-six thousand dollars?

Q.--What is his name?

A.- N. P. Perrin. The highest estimate was one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, and the lowest ninety-six thousand dollars; but I have heard 'it'assumed it could be done for eighty thousand dollars.

Q.-That was an 'assumption without an estimate?
A.—I don't know what it was the result of.

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