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[ No. 10. ]

REPORT of the Board of Control of the House of Correction for Juvenile Offenders.

To the Secretary of State:

SIR,-In conformity with the provisions of the act of the Legistature of 1855, for establishing a House of Correction for juvenile offenders, the Board of Control of this institution submit the following statement of their operations for the past year:

At the close of the year 1855, the walls of the House of Correction, which had been in process of building during the summer, were finished, but the roof was not fully completed. After that time the work was prosecuted with such diligence, by the contractors, Messrs. Royce & Copeland, that they were enabled to deliver the building, in a finished state, by the first of September, which was the time stipulated by them in their contract.

The amount of funds placed at the disposal of the Board not being sufficient for the construction of a stone or brick wall, a temporary fence of boards, fourteen feet high, enclosing one acre, was built, to be used as a yard for the institution.

The act establishing the institution required the Board to put it into operation at the earliest possible day; and to effect this, the Board immediately upon the reception of the building, made such temporary arrangements as were necessary for its occupation, and on the second of

September they gave notice that it was ready for the reception of such inmates as might be sent to it in conformity with the laws.

The number of inmates received into the institution from the period of its opening to the 17th December has been 21, all of whom are boys. Of these, seven were received from Wayne county, four from Calhoun, three from Jackson, two from Washtenaw, and one each from the counties of Cass, Ottawa, Oakland, and St. Clair, and one was transferred from the State Prison.

Their ages, as stated by themselves, are as follows:

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and the parents of one had separated.

The terms for which they were sent were as follows:

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All of the inmates were sentenced for larceny, except one, whose of

fence was vagrancy.

The boys have been employed until recently in clearing and grading the yard, and providing fuel. But on the 10th of December, a contract was completed with M. A. Howell, by which all the boys in the institution, not necessarily employed in the domestic work of the house, will be employed during the year ensuing, in the manufacture of boots and shoes. The contractor pays for their services twelve and a half cents for each day's work of seven hours. In this way, the inmates by their labor, will re-pay a portion of the cost of their subsistence, and at the same time they will be acquiring a knowledge of a useful branch of business, by which after their discharge, they will be able to obtain a respectable support.

The boys are also instructed in school about four hours each day by a competent teacher. An admission fee of ten cents is charged for each visitor to the institution, the proceeds of which are appropriated exclusively for the purchase of a library for the use of the inmates.

The expenditures of the Board from Jan. 1, 1856, to Dec. 17th, 1856, have been as follows:

For per diem on expenses of the Board,------
For salary of acting Commissioner, from Nov. 12,

$281 50

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For balance due Royce & Copeland on contract

for extra work and materials, - -.

1,161 36

$16,109 05

Expenditure from Feb. 28, 1855, to Jan. 1, 1856, 14,291 53

Total amount,.

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This excess of expenditure over the amount of the appropriation made by the Legislature, was deemed necessary by the Board in consequence of the extremely small amount of that appropriation, compared with the amount of work to be done. Had the further action of the Legislature been waited for, the opening of the institution would have been delayed one year longer.

An estimate of the amount of appropriatiors deemed necessary by the Board for the successful working of the institution for the next two years, is herewith submitted for the favorable consideration of the Legislature.

The Board of Control are of opinion that the legislation for this institution needs revising and amending in several particulars.

The present law provides that there shall be six members of the Board of Control, who shall hold their office for six years, two of whom shall vacate every two years; but no mode of classification

has been described.

The present law declares that all persons under fifteen years of age convicted of a prison offence, shall be sentenced to this Institution; and all between fifteen and twenty shall be sent here, or punished otherwise as the court may deem best; and they are also to be sent for such term as the Court may designate, not exceeding the term of imprisonment prescribed by law for the punishment of those particular offences of which they may have been convicted. Practically these provisions are found to work bad in several ways. One-third of all the commitments to this Institution, thus far, have been for periods of sixty and ninety days, a space of time entirely inadequate for effecting the reformation of very vicious and ignorant children. On the other hand, young men, from 17 to 19 years of age, are sentenced here for terms of

from five to seven years; and before the expiration of their sentences they will be men from 21 to 25 years of age. Such persons are entirely unfit associates for young boys: at so advanced an age comparatively little can be effected for their reformation, and a large number of adult persons cannot be confined together in one place, without greater provision for security and protection from violence than vided for this Institution. It is believed that it would

have been pro

be much better

to sentence to this place, all persons convicted of prison offences under 16 years of age and no others, to remain until they shall be twenty-one unless sooner discharged by order of the Board. By these means, a large accumulation of adults will be prevented, and a most powerful guaranty for the good deportment of the inmates will be obtained.The legislation here proposed has been tried in similar institutions in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and found to be favorable in its results.

By the existing law, the Board have not the power to release the inmates before the expiration of their sentences, without apprenticing them. The Board desire the privilege of releasing such of the inmates as they may deem worthy without such a limitation. Many of the boys have parents or friends, who will do better for them than persons who are entire strangers; and a boy who stays with us several years and conducts with propriety will feel a great reluctance to be placed, for several years longer, under the exclusive control of some unknown person.

The Board would also respectfully call the attention of the Legislature to the necessity of some legal provision by which offenders committed to the House of Correction, who shall prove, upon trial, to be incorrigible beyond all hope of reformation, and whose example may be injurious to the discipline and good order of the institution, may be removed from the premises. Persons of this class, when approaching the age of manhood, impatient of control, and reckless of all moral considerations, exert a pernicious and baleful influence upon those considerably younger than themselves; and they need to be kept under a system of discipline materially different from that which is adapted to persons of younger years and less confirmed in vicious habits. And as a number of the inmates now in the Institution are sentenced for periods which will require their confinement beyond the age of manhood, the Board would respectfully ask, that they also may be embraced in whatever provision,

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