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SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT OF THE VERMONT
To His Excellency, the Governor of the State of Vermont :
The Superintendent of the State's Prison respectfully submits the following report: On the first of October, 1842, the number convicts in the Prison was Received during the year, . . . . . . 23 Total, .
. . . . 96 Discharged during the year by expiration of sentence, . . 18
by pardon, . . . . ] by death, ·
· · ! escape, .
by the Governor, Taken for new trial by order of court, and returned on new sentence, 2 Total,
. . . . 31 Leaving in prison, October 1, 1843,
. 65 Their present employment and condition are as follows: 30 in the shoe shop, 2 in the blacksmith shop, 1 in the gun shop, 7 carriage making, 3 basket making, 2 in the cook room, 1 tailor, 1 painter, 1 cooper, 1 washer, 1 wood sawyer, 1 yard waiter, 1 prison waiter, 1 hospital waiter, 2 lumpers, 3 in cells unable to labor, 6 sick in hospital, and 1 in solitary confinement under sentence of death; total 65.
The conduct of the convicts generally has been good, rendering frequent and severe punishment unnecessary, to enforce obedience and establish good discipline. The mode of punishment, however, has been varied, according to the nature of the offence and the disposition of the offender, as in my humble judgment would best effect his reformation. In pursuance of this object, I have erected an apparatus to punish with cold water, on the plan of the Auburn prison, which has exerted a very salutary influence in subduing the refractory, saving time and the loss of health, caused by the former mode of solitary confinement.
During the present year sickness has been unusually prevalent. In June last the influenza, a prevailing disease of the country, made its appearance in the prison, and before it subsided nearly every inmate was confined with it, leaving some, since then, in a condition unable to labor.
The old wooden bedsteads in the cells were found to contain numerous insects, which infect such places not usually well cleansed, and notwithstanding the commonly used means were resorted to, to destroy them, in a few weeks after, such immense numbers were again found, as to be swept up by handsfull. In order, therefore, to make a clean sweep, I removed all the old wooden bedsteads and substituted others of iron in their places, such as are used in other prisons for like purposes, which have entirely obviated the use of those means heretofore employed without effect to destroy them.
On entering upon the duties of my appointment, by advice of the Directors, I closed the copartnership of L. Damon & Co., and since that time, the convicts able to work, with few exceptions, have been in the employment of the State, manufacturing such articles only as could be done by the convicts themselves, and such as could find a ready market in exchange for the produce of the country. As to the final result of this copartnership, in a pecuniary point of view, I am unable at present to state definitely, the returns of sales in Boston not having been received by Mr. Damon, who has charge of its concerns, in season to effect a settlement.The accounts, however, have been transferred to the prison books and are included in balances of accounts; and I have so far examined into its transactions as to enable me to form the opinion that no gain, but a loss will be realized, on the winding up of its affairs.
On the prison books are demands against Damon & Cotton, the facts of which were reported in 1839 by Mr. Brown, then Superintendent of the prison, and by him put in suit for collection in this State against Furbush & Townsend, of Boston, Mass. In relation to this claim, I have been advised, that, as no suit was commenced against the persons or property of the defendants, the judgment obtained will avail nothing in Massachusetts, where the defendants reside; and that if any further action is deemed necessary to enforce the collection of this claim, another suit must be commenced, as I am informed the payment ever has been and probably will be resisted.
On examination of the books of the old engine company, consisting of the Prison and I. W. Hubbard, I found that he paid the debt of the company to the prison, excepting the interest, by charging himself on the prison book, while he was Superintendent, with the sum of five hundred two dollars and fifty-four cents. Including this sum, the books show the amount of nine hundred ninety-two dollars and seventeen cents due from the company to said Hubbard. Many open accounts still show balances due the company from debtors in the Western States and elsewhere, some of whom are reported irresponsible; and Mr. Hubbard claims all the available accounts, to cancel the indebtedness of the company to him.
The tannery is of little or no value in connection with the prison. I succeeded in renting it the past year for fifty dollars, but the lessee has abandoned the occupation of it, for the want of water; and could this evil -be surmounted, I am of opinion that it could not be carried on by convict labor successfully, situated as it is, out of the walls of the prison.
The fiscal concerns of the prison will be seen by reference to the report of the Directors. A large amount of the notes and accounts due the prison, included in their report, are of long standing and are not at present available, and can never be collected.
In comparing this report with the reports of the prison for several of the last preceding years, a greater pecuniary loss will appear to be sustained in the management of the prison this year; while the fact is otherwise, and easily proved, by reference to the actual expenses incurred during those years. During the last five years preceding my appointment there has been, by appropriations of the State and drawn from the Treasury, the sum of twenty-five thousand nine hundred ninety-one dollars and sixty-five cents, to defray the expenses of the prison in those years; the average being more than five thousand dollars per annum; still leaving a balance
of the debts then contracted and yet unpaid of more than three thousand dollars; and no part of said appropriations has been applied to the expenses of the present year. Some may suppose that the income of the present year is less and the expenses more than has been absolutely necessary; yet I am confident no reasonable foundation exists for such an opinion, and will appear so, on taking into consideration the fact that many of the most effective and profitable convicts have been discharged during the year; several others were received incapable of earning their food and clothing. The sickness already alluded to, taken in connection with the small number of laboring convicts, while the same number of officers and more fuel and lights were of necessity required; these and other like causes have unavoidably operated to reduce the income, and consequently leave the expenses of the prison about the same as in other years."
Accompanying this is the Physician's report, and a list of the convicts, with the time of commencement and expiration of their several sentences. All of which is respectfully submitted.
CHIPMAN SWAIN, Sup’t Vt. S. Prison. Windsor, Oct. 1843.
REPORT OF THE DIRECTORS OF THE VERMONT
To His Excellency, the Governor of Vermont :
In conformity to the provisions of the act of the General Assembly in relation to the State Prison, passed Nov. 10, 1841, making it the duty of the Directors to settle and liquidate the accounts of the Superintendent, and to make an inventory of the property of the Vermont State Prison, at its true value in money, the undersigned would submit the following re- .
That upon an examination of the account of I. W. Hubbard, the former Superintendent, which accrued after the first day of October, 1842, to Dec. 1, we found his account balanced by the sum of $485 18, which Mr. Hubbard states was the amount which his predecessor, Mr. Brown, agreed to allow him on his account, it being for overcharges made in the year 1839, in which condition it now remains.
After an examination of the present Superintendent and the book keeper, under oath, and examining the accounts kept at the Prison, we found that the Superintendent should be charged with the sum of $308 76 for cash and sundries received by him since Dec. 1, 1842, and that he should be, and was allowed the sum of $815 47, in which sum is included services rendered by his family, and his salary, as fixed by the General Assembly, for services as Superintendent.
The undersigned would remark, that upon entering upon the duties of their appointment, they deemed it advisable, that all partnership of the State with individuals should cease, and consequently recommended the Superintendent to close the copartnership of L. Damon & Co., in the shoe business, and it was effected the 8th of December.
In regard to the tannery connected with the Prison, the undersigned would say, that it has been valueless the past year, for a want of a sufficient supply of water, and they are of the opinion, that the disposal of the building and fixtures would best conduce to the interests of the State,
The papers accompanying this report, marked A, B, C, D, present, first, the business operations of the several shops and departments of the Prison, in which the income exceeds the disbursements ; second, those departments which show the expenditures"; third, an aggregate of the personal property as appraised at the Prison by the Directors; fourth, an abstract of the profit and loss account of the whole, by which it appears that the expenses for the last year have exceded the income, two thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven dollars and sixty-five cents.
The undersigned would state, that many items in the inventory of 1842 they regarded as of little or no value, and they have appraised much of the property at a lower rate than has been inventoried. All which is respectfully submitted.
*. $3,250373 Since purchased and transferred
to other accounts, 1,947 30—5,198 03 Received and charged for sundries sold,
2,681 92 Stock and tools, & finished work
on hạnd, Oct. 1, 1843, . 3,260 75-5,942 67 Exceeding the disbursements,
• • . $744 64
GUN SHOP. Stock and tools on hand, Oct. 1, 1842, .
. 1,368 19 Sundries since purchased and
transferred to other accounts, 84 81–1,453 00 Sales during the year, . 260 50 Stock and tools on hand, Oct. 1, 1843,
. 1,275 37–1,535 87 Exceeding the disbursements, . i . . . 82 87
SHOE SHOP. .
: 5,472 72 Stock since purchased and ac
counts transferred, 12,356 89–17,829 61 Sales during the year, . 12,069 85 Stock and tools on hand, Oct. 1,
7,663 90—19,733 75 Exceeding the disbursements,
.. 1,904 14 PRISON ACCOUNT. Sundries on hand Oct, 1, 1842, 1,395 38 Articles since purchased, 875 11—2,270 49 Articles sold and transferred to other accounts,
. 761 11 Sundries on hand, Oct. 1, 1843, 1,711 09—2,472 20 Exceeding the disbursements, . . . . 201 71
Fees received from 1170 visitors,
CONTRACT ACCOUNT. Labor of convicts in shoe shop,
previous to Dec. 8, 1842, . 816 29 Ditto in tannery and gun shop, 114 34
TANNERY. Use of Tannery previous to Jan. 1, 1843, Total amount of income,