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REPORT OF THE STATE VISITING AGENT.
Released on probation or discharged, 1871, .
on indenture, trial or wages, 1871,
subject to visitation September 30, 1870,
subject to visitation September 30, 1871, Communications received, .
43 2,316 1,556 1,628 6,439 5,316
Amount expended on children taken by Board of
$582 00 Cost of same in institutions would have been, . $42,796 34 Less the cost of those committed to institutions,
$9,427.98, and the amount actually paid out, $582,
Total amount saved,
CONCLUSION. In reading this Report it must be observed that the Agency has done a large amount of work during the year, that a good degree of success has attended its operations and that its results have been salutary and economical. By it benefit has come to many children and people, and money has been saved to the State, immediately and prospectively. The work of the Agency is in harmony with that of the various institutions of the State and the charitable and reformatory system of the Commonwealth.
It would be very advantageous, in carrying out the practice and policy of taking children from the courts and placing them in families, to have a place of temporary, detention for them at the command of this Agency, wherein the children taken for families could be better prepared to enter them, by processes of cleanliness and general preparation. The Primary School at Monson aids in this respect in cases of children
intended for that section of the State. Something of this kind is wanted in Boston or vicinity.
I am of opinion, to repeat in substance the remarks in last year's report, that graduated indentures would be better than the fixed ones now made when a child is bound out. An arrangement by which the amount to be paid the child could be fixed at the beginning of each year, for the year, would be an improvement on the present method of fixing the amount at the beginning of the term of indenture for the whole time. Considerable discontent grows up in the last years of indenture on account of what seems to be insufficient pay, when compared with the amount that the boy could get if freed from indenture. The early years of the term, during which the indenture was costly to the master, are forgotten by the boy, and cannot be made to appear to him as an offset for the small amount to be paid by and by.
The pressing want in the State is reformatories for minors, both boys and girls, over sixteen years of age who have been convicted of offences. The School Ship is the only place known as a reformatory to which boys over sixteen years can be sent, and there is none for girls above that age. The magistrates will not send juvenile offenders to houses of correction if they can avoid it. There are many minors convicted of offences above the ages which exclude from reformatories who might be successfully dealt with therein. An institution to which offenders between the ages of fifteen and twenty could be sent and taught trades is greatly needed.
It might be self-supporting, or nearly so, and therefore not costly to the State, and at the same time fitting the subjects of restraint with trades to go out again into the world, the possession of which would do very much towards keeping them in the path of well-doing. Much of the juvenile offence arises from the lack of trades with those offenders old enough to work; oftentimes stealing is almost necessary to prevent the starvation of tradeless children, as they can only work in the ways of unskilled labor, which are always crowded and often closed, and therefore afford them but little opportunity for earning therein their daily bread, which they must have,
REPORT OF THE STATE VISITING AGENT.
The want here noticed, in cases of girls may be met in part by permitting admission to the Industrial School at Lancaster of those under seventeen years of age, instead of limiting to sixteen as now.
Section 6 of the Visiting Agency Act should be repealed, in order that all visitors may hold the same relation to this Agency. The section makes an exception in favor of the State Industrial School, and practically limits visitation by women to girls placed out therefrom. They are only onefourth of the number of girls subject to visitation. The remaining three-fourths, as the law now is, must, as a matter of necessity and economy, be visited by the men visitors, although there are many cases arising among the girls placed out from the Primary School, and by the Board of State Charities, that could advantageously receive the attention of a female visitor. All girls should be visited by a lady; and all could be in the absence of that section.
I desire to express my thanks to the members of the Board of State Charities and to the superintendents and officers of the several State institutions, for their courtesy and consideration in all ways of official and personal intercourse ; also to the officers of the Temporary Home, Chardon Street, Boston, for many and valuable favors received from them.
Thanks are due to the officers of the Eastern ; Boston and Maine ; Fitchburg ; Boston and Albany ; Old Colony ; Boston, Clinton and Fitchburg; Cape Cod; Taunton Branch ; Vermont and Massachusetts; Worcester and Nashua; Connecticut River; Providence and Worcester; New Bedford and Taunton ; Boston, Hartford and Erie ; Cheshire and Ashuelot ; Boston, Barre and Gardner; Framingham and Lowell, and the New London Northern Railroads, for favors received.
Table X.-Classification of Prisoners in the State, Committed during the Year ending September 30, 1871.
APPENDIX TO THE SECRETARY'S REPORT.
Number of Commitments,