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for that reason, be the more satisfactory to remark, that, in all my intercourse with the convicts, I have very rarely indeed found occasion to regret any undue severity in the execution of the police regulations. I have had more reason for surprise and admiration, that, in the discharge of a trust of such a nature, beset at every step with so many difficulties and circumstances of perplexity and provocation, and demanding the constant exercise of some of the rarest qualities of head and heart. so few indiscretions should occur. I can in no other terms express so summarily and justly my view of the management of the police department, as by saying, there is, on the part of the officers, so far as my observation goes, a most judicious and desirable combination of the fortiter in re with the suuviter in modo.
The feinale department could not, in my estimation, with its present inconveniences, be better conducted than it is under Miss Foot's direction; but this class of convicts can never realize the full benefit of your excellent and eminently successful penitentiary system, till better accommodations shall be provided for them, and more discretion allowed to the matron as to the mode of enforcing obedience.
From my own observation, I am fully prepared to concur in the view which the Agent takes, in his report, of the impolicy of the two years' sentence, with this difference, that it appears to me alike impolitic in all cases. Among the considerations which may be urged against it, those which affect the interest of the convict himsalf, ought to have the first place. The most important that occur to me, are the following: If he have no-trade, the term of two years is too short for acquiring one. If he be unlettered, he needs more time in the Sunday school to make him a tolerable reader. If he have been intemperate, or addicted to other gross vices, two years' abstinence will not so thoroughly break up his old habits, and confirm him in new ones, as to afford much promise for the future. He incurs all the stigma, while he reaps few of the benefits, of a State-Prison course of discipline. For these reasons, among others, I hope the Board will think it expedient to recommend such an alteration of the laws, that no convict will be sentenced to the State-Prison for a term less than three years.
Your Board is aware that the resident chaplain is supported, in part, by a benevolent society in Massachusetts. Since it can be of no interest to me, in a pecuniary view, may I not take the liberty,
a in conclusion, to ask you to notice this fact in your report, and request the Legislature to relieve that society, by appropriating to the resident chaplain, from the accumulating funds of the prison, an annual sum, equal at least to that which he receives from abroad?
B. C. SMITH,
Resident Chaplain. State-Prison, AUBURN,
Dec. 31 st, 1833.
Report of the Physician.
To the Inspectors of the State Prison, Auburn
GENTLEMEN—The general character of disease amongst the convicts differs not essentially from former seasons, nor has there any thing peculiar occurred from location or confinement. It is a remark that I have made in previous reports, and subsequent observation corroborates it, that the diathesis which marks disease in this community, characterises that which prevails at the same period in prison.
When disease assumes an epidemic influence abroad, I have invariably observed, either immediately preceding or following, that it appears amongst the convicts.
The fevers which have been the most common, are the remittent, intermittent and bilious type. They have usually terminated favorably. The inflammatory form of disease is of frequent occurrence, especially in the winter and spring months, and is more severe, and frequently more permanent and serious in its effects
upon the system, than any other character of disease that requires prescription. The organs most susceptible of inflammation are the liver, lungs, brain and stomach. The greatest fatality has arisen when the lungs have formed the seat of disease, as will be observed in referring to the table of deaths. The increased susceptibility depends chiefly upon their delicate structure, previous attacks, and from hereditary conformation.
Inflammation of the eyes has prevailed to a very considerable extent for several years past, and the most aggravated forms have existed at times for months together, affording an average of six to eight per day that required treatment. A vast proportion of these cases have yielded to prescription, and without the loss of vision in any case, to my knowledge. I have been unable to give even this disease a local origin within the walls of the prison. It has not, to any extent, appeared more in one shop than another; nor am I prepared to believe that, during its greatest prevalence in prison, a greater proportion were attacked amongst the convicts than amongst the citizens of the village and its vicinity.
During the summer of 1832, every thing in the form of disease seemed to concentrate upon the stomach and bowels. The past season those organs have been affected only in common with others of the system, and without any peculiarity in the character of disorder. In the summer months, diarrhea and cholera-morbus have usually prevailed, sometimes proving very unyielding and obstinate. The past season, these affections have assumed the character of mildness; which I think attributable in a measure to a diminished amount of fresh animal food and substituting potatoes in the place of beans, the latter of which have been used almost exclusively hitherto in the warm months.
The rations, both animal and vegetable, have been of excellent quality for the whole season.
The average number of cases confined to the hospital per day,
(Assem. No. 39.]
Lewis Jacob, (black,)..
January 12, Temperate, ...
Chronic lues venerea.
Of the fatal cases, it will be seen that Jacob, Burnham, Ward, Baker, Jacox and Vosburgh, were diseased when received into prison.
JNO. GEO. MORGAN, January 1st, 1834
Physician and Surgeon.