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From 1843 to 1857, a period of fourteen years, with an average population in the State of about 900,000, when the showerbath, lash and questionable food were the principal elements in the discipline, 2,030 were committed to this prison, of whom 233 were committed for the second time. From 1857 to 1871, a like period, with an average population in the State of about 1,200,000, under the present system 1,985 were committed, of whom but 181 were for the second time. These figures would seem to indicate that their fears are groundless ; that humanity is not at a discount nor a retrograde movement demanded.
If it were necessary, it could also be shown that, in a pecuniary point of view, the result of the last fourteen years has been more marked than the commitments or recommitments.
Punishment should be inflicted with reference to reformation, and great care should be taken to divest it of the semblance of revenge. "The policy of humiliation is a dangerous one, at all times and on all occasions, and far more souls have been crushed by this than sins have been confirmed by over-leniency. To destroy all self-respect is to destroy all healing power, and to prevent all possibility of a rebound. In dealing with the faulty, however hard we may be on the sin, we ought always to reserve a way of restoration to the sinner.”
SENTENCES. The legislature at its last session took a step in the right direction in changing the punishment for rape, arson and burglary from a life sentence to a term of years, or life, at the discretion of the judge. Two convicts have been received since the Act went into effect, one for rape and the other for arson, sentenced to ten years each.
A sentence for life has not for many years been considered, either by the judge or criminal, as a finality, but, on the contrary, with almost positive assurance that it would be anpulled sooner or later by a pardon. The records of the prison show that in the last twenty-five years 117 have been sentenced for life, and 20 have had their sentences commuted from death to imprisonment for life, making a total of 137. Of this number, 60 have been pardoned.
The average time served of those pardoned, sentenced for life, was five years one month.
The average time served of those pardoned, sentenced to
twenty years, during the same period, was eight years two months. For fifteen
For fifteen years, six years four months. For ten years, five years six months.
Judging from the past, they are likely to be more severely punished under the new than they were under the old law. Any Act having a tendency to lessen the necessity for executive clemency is a move in the right direction.
CONTRACTS. One of the contracts of the Tucker Manufacturing Co., for two hundred men, expired July 1st of this year. Proposals for their labor were solicited through advertisements, and contracts made with Morgan & Dore, of Lynn, for seventy-five men, to work at shoemaking, at one dollar per day, and with Fearing, Rodney & Swift, for twenty-five men, to work at chain-making, at one dollar and eight cents per day. Arrangements were made with the Tucker Manufacturing Co. for the balance, some fifty or sixty men, till the first of July of next year, when their other contract for one hundred and fifty men expires.
FINANCES. It will be observed that our receipts are somewhat less than last year. This is in consequence of the reduction in our number, our daily average being forty less than last year. The reduction of expenses cannot be made in the same proportion with the reduction of numbers, it requiring the same amount of heating, lighting, officers and laborers about the prison for 550 as for 600 men; the reduction, therefore, comes from the number at work on contract, from whom we obtain our receipts.
Our expenses have also been affected by the increase of the officers' salaries made by the last legislature, and the fitting up of the school-room and furniture ($714.55), which ought properly to have been charged to construction rather than to the support of the prison.
No charge is made for the labor of convicts at work for the State in making clothing, repairing and improving the buildings and grounds, in fitting up the school-room, or in filling up the flats belonging to the Commonwealth, several thousand feet being annually filled and made available and valuable for building or other purposes,