« PoprzedniaDalej »
The managers of the Prison Discipline Society present their Nineteenth Annual Report, in humble acknowledgment of their dependence on God, and in grateful praise for his care and goodness. At the same time, they have to record the death, on the 15th of June last, of their esteemed friend and fellow-citizen, CHARLES LINCOLN, warden of the Massachusetts State Prison, by a most sudden and awful act of homicide ; by which the Prison was deprived of its head, society of a most useful man, and his wife and 11 children of a husband and father. The benevolent of this city and vicinity testified their regard for his memory, by depositing $2,700 in the Life Insurance Office for the benefit of his family, and the government of the state appropriated, during the last session of the legislature, $1,500 more for a similar purpose. The unhappy convict, who perpetrated this dreadful act, was acquitted of guilt, before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, by a jury of his country, on the plea of insanity, and was mercifully committed by the court to the care of the State Hospital at Worcester, where, after recovering so far from his delusions, as to work quietly at his trade, in solitude, for several months, his delusions. returned, his labor was given up, and, at evening prayers, just before the close of the service, he suddenly thrust himself through a window of the chapel, fell 15 or 16 feet upon the ground, was taken up senseless, and soon died.
In contrast to this awful scene, we also have to record the death, in a good old age, after a few days' sickness, of a friend and benefactor of this Society, of whom it has been said with cqual taste and justice, "ISRAEL Munson, a wealthy merchant of Boston, another name for truth and honor."
Although it was not known at the time of the annual meeting, it is true, that another most excellent friend and benefactor of this Society was dead, but not yet buried, at the very time when the meeting was held. We refer to the Hon. Levi FARWELL, of Cambridge. We can never forget his cheerful countenance in our cause, and his liberal support.
We mourn over a great loss, in the three friends here named. We must leave them, however, for they are gone, and proceed to the
PLAN OF THE REPORT.
- PROVISION FOR Poor Lunatics.
States in which Asylums for the Insane are established. States in which Asylums for the Insane are not established.
Efforts making in States where no Asylums are yet established.
Number of Lunatics in Penitentiaries, and Necessity of Legislative Action in their Favor.
Legislative Action in Favor of Lunatics in Penitentiaries and elsewhere.
Improvement and Enlargement of Insane Asylums.
Part II. - COUNTY PRISONS.
Smallness of Prisons, and Number of Prisoners in the New England States, in Proportion to the Population.
Neglect of Moral and Religious Instruction in County Prisons.
Diminution of Crime.
General Conduct of Prisoners, Mode of Treatment, and Mode of Punishment in Penitentiaries.
Moral and Religious Instruction, Public Worship, and Sabbath Schools, in Penitentiaries.
Changes in the Pennsylvania System of Solitary Confinement.
Tabular View of Penitentiaries.
Part IV. - HOUSES OF REFUGE.
FUNDS OF THE Society.
PROVISION FOR POOR LUNATICS.
STATES IN WHICH ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE ARE ESTAB
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.
STATES IN WHICH ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE ARE NOT
Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, District of Columbia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
EFFORTS MAKING IN STATES WHERE ASYLUMS ARE NOT
In Rhode Island, the Hon. Nicholas Brown bequeathed $30,000 for the establishment of an Asylum for the Insane. Mr. Cyrus Butler has now offered $40,000 more, provided the citizens of the state will raise $40,000 more ; provided, also, that, when the lands are purchased, and the buildings finished and furnished, $50,000 of the $110,000 raised, shall remain untouched, to be invested as a permanent fund, the interest of which, only, shall be expended for the support of the institution. Intelligent citizens of Providence say, the conditions of Mr. Butler will be complied with.
In Delaware, Rev. G. Barrett, in a letter dated Wilmington, Del., April 21, 1844, says, —
“You will rejoice and give thanks with me, to learn that commendable improvements have taken place in the Insane Department of the Poor-House. Not a single insane person is chained. In almost every room, a chain is fastened to a ring and staple; but it fetters no limb, and helps to show the contrast between the present and past. The filthy, loose straw, in one corner, on the floor, has given place to comfortable beds; and, instead of an imbecile old woman, to attend on the inmates, are a respectable matron and her husband. A room has been fitted up, in which some of the inmates assemble each day to sew, &c. With the present buildings, it would be difficult to make the condition of the insane more comfortable. I know you will rejoice to hear of
the change that has taken place within the last two years; and take courage when you know, that the Reports of the Prison Discipline Society, more than any other instrumentality, have been productive of the improvement."
In a letter, dated April 19, 1842, Mr. Barrett thus describes the same establishment :
“ The Poor-House in this place has received, last year, 35 insane persons, which, according to the census, is half the whole number in the state. There are now about 20 insane in the Poor-House. Their condition is not as it should be. Each is placed in a dark, illy-ventilated room; their bed a bunk of straw, or straw on the floor, and an old blanket. A chain fustens each to a ring in the centre of the room: among them was a good-looking girl of sixteen. The physician does not think there is much hope of restoring patients to reason in such a place as this.”
In Indiana, Dr. Evans, of Attica, delivered an address on insanity, before the committee on education, in the legislature, on the 25th of December, 1843. It was a very able address, occupying five closely-printed columns in the State Sentinel, and shows Dr. Evans to be thoroughly possessed of the subject. He treats the subject under the following heads:
1st. The history of the disease.
Under the first head, he shows how the insane were regarded and treated in the last century, and how they are now treated in the Improved Asylums ; laying down, clearly and concisely, all the great and good principles of action which govern the treatinent of the insane in this
age. Under the second head, he states that Indiana has, within her borders, near 250 insane, in a deplorable condition ; between 75 and 100 of whom are at public charge.
Under the third head, he shows the economy of an Asylum in curing the insane, above the system which neglects them till they become incurable, and then that a tax, for 3 years, of 1 cent on every $100 00 valuation, which is equivalent to 1 cent out of 10,000, would build the needful Asylum.
In conclusion he says, “While the state has nobly commenced the discharge of her duty to the deaf and dumb, by raising a fund for their education, I have been an attentive observer of the effects of the measure upon public sentiment; and, after extensive inquiry, in different parts of the state, I have not heard a voice on the subject but that of unqualified approbation. If, then, as certainly is the case, the lunatics are far more imperious in their demands for relief, by the greater number of sufferers, by their more deplorable condition, and by the more forcible call for immediate action lest all be lost, how gladly would the public of Indiana respond to the appeals of the lunatic tro! My inquiries upon the subject enable me to say most positively they would.
“Where, I ask, is to be found the citizen of Indiana, who would not willingly spare one cent out of ten thousand, for so noble an enterprise ?"
NECESSITY FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION IN FAVOR OF LUNA
TICS IN PENITENTIARIES.
The inspectors of the State Prison at Charlestown, Mass., say, in their last report,
“ There is a subject which we deem important, and to which we beg leave respectfully to ask the attention of the government, and that is, the case of a number of insane convicts, now confined within the walls of the Prison, some of whom, we have reason to apprehend, were insane at the time of committing the offence of which they were convicted, and have been so during the whole period of their confinement. These unfortunate individuals are little other than a mere expense to the government. From the very malady under which they are suffering, they are unfit for duty themselves, nor is it safe for them to be at large, and to mingle with the other convicts, at their different places of labor. They are, therefore, from necessity, placed in the solitary cell, shut out from the world, and from the air and light of heaven, until the expiration of their sentence.
“ A Penitentiary is doubtless a very fit place to punish crime, but not to cure a malady of body or mind. This the maniac himself knows, as well as the man who has never been deprived of his reason. The insane man is rational on many subjects. He is conscious of his own insanity, and often strives to conceal it. He is peculiarly jealous of his rights, and is feelingly alive to a sense of injustice, when he supposes himself to suffer wrongfully; and such must be his feeling when he finds himself immured in the solitary cell of a Prison, suffering as a criminal for that which should call forth froin every one sympathy and commiseration. Such a residence as this, with the mode of treatment inseparable from it, whatever else it may do, can never effect the return of reason to its wonted seat and power.
"Ernest A. Erving was committed to the Prison in September, 1836, for the crime of larceny, having been sentenced to three days' solitary imprisonment and ten years' hard labor; and in the month of August, 1837, he was placed in one of the cells in the old Prison, where he has been confined till the present time, being considered a dangerous man to be at large, on account of insanity.
“ Could this unfortunate man, at the time he entered the cell at the Prison, so many years ago, have been placed in either of the Asylums for the Insane in our commonwealth, or in some other situation affording like advantages, he might, without doubt, under the kind and successful treatment there adopted, long ago have been cured of his malady, and restored to the bosom of his family, .clothed and in his right mind. Other cases, less aggravated than the one here mentioned, exist, and might be nanied.
• Bradford SUMNER,
SAMUEL GREELE." The warden of the Prison says, in the same report,
“There are four convicts in this Prison wholly or partially deranged, and consequently very unsafe persons to be at large in the Prison yard. No suitable accommodations are provided for insane persons in this Prison. The only thing that can be done for them, is to shut them up in solitary cells, where the diseases of the mind, instead of being healed, are aggravated and confirmed. One man has been confined in this way constantly several years, and two others, shorter periods of time. It would seem but the dictate of humanity, that such persons should be placed in circumstances more comfortable, and more favorable to the restoration of reason, than constant contine