Obrazy na stronie

organized in the schools of the city or district with which such contract is made.

§ 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

By the General Appropriation bill the State Board of Charities receives funds for a new Division of Mental Defect and Delinquency.

A measure which did not pass was the proposed amendment of the Compulsory Education Law to give school authorities control over those now exempted because of mental disability. Another bill which failed was one to fix responsibility for the transfer to the institutions of those committed by the courts. It also authorized temporary admissions and the parole of inmates under proper regulations.

The Sage Hospital Development Commission and generous appropriations for Letchworth Village are the landmarks of a successful year for the feeble-minded. Enthusiastic support by the press and by citizens throughout the state aided greatly in securing these results. This coöperation was made effective largely by the efforts of the State Charities Aid Association which acted as legislative agent for this committee. By these means the officials at Albany came to appreciate the importance of the problem of mental defect and planned broadly to meet it.


American Education: Progress in Education Through School Adminis

tration. Progress Note books. The Teaching Process. The Need

for a New Ideal in Physical Training. Education: The New Conception of the Rural School Problem. A Ra

tional Problem for Rural Education. How the Curriculum May

Better Meet Present Day Social Needs. Vitalizing School Studies. School Hygiene: Public School Boys and Holiday War Work. The

Border-Line Child. Dermatology in the School. A Plea for Uni

formity in Statistics. Phthisis and School Children. Training School Bulletin: Care of the Feeble-Minded in New Jersey.

Anthropometry and Feeble-Mindedness. For the Children of Missouri. A Contest. Teaching Spelling to our Children. Kindergarten Play.


Vol. III


No. 2

Entered as second-class matter March 28, 1916, at the Post Office at Concord, N. H.,

under the Act of March 3, 1879
Signed articles are not to be understood as expressing the views of the editors or publishers


CHARLES BERNSTEIN, M.D. SUPERINTENDENT OF ROME CoSTODIAL ASYLUM, ROME, N. Y. According to the very conservative estimates of the State Board of Charities there are some 30,000 feeble-minded individuals in New York State. They require state care and treatment. Especially do they need manual and industrial training in order that they may be made happy, industrious, useful laborers and thus saved from lives of crime and immorality. The individual will be trained to self-support under supervision and his labor returned to the commonwealth in the form of farm labor and domestic help, and especially as there is at present such great demand on the part of the citizens of the state for greatly enlarged facilities for proper training as well as for custodial care of the really feeble-minded.

We believe that the time has come when something much less expensive and many times more practical and natural than the physical custody of brick walls and iron enclosures, and large per capita expenditure for buildings, as well as large yearly cost of maintenance, is possible and practical to meet the conditions outlined for a large percentage of these cases.

First. We have enough institutions for the present (when such institutions are completed and made available) for the first reception and training of the feeble-minded children.

With better facilities for manual, industrial and vocational training in our public school system to make up for the lack of opportunity for home training, physical development and apprenticeship, that existed in the past, many of the border-line cases will be saved to community life and will never need asylum or custodial care.

Second. From now on we should devote our energies toward enlargement along the line of colonization. This will to some extent rehabilitate these inmates and return their services to the state and its citizens. It will release many of the $800 and $1,000 beds in our existing institutions and make them available for the further extension of the training of the younger cases or the more socially dangerous ones.

Third. The services of many of the female adult cases could well and economically be made available to large centers of people for doing domestic work, hand laundry and sewing, and thus in no way be materially competing with native or naturalized American labor. At least 20 per cent and I believe 40 per cent of all feeble-minded and border-line cases can be very successfully and economically so handled.

Fourth. There is ample opportunity for colonization of all the available adult trained males on various parcels of state owned lands and abandoned or undeveloped farms where such labor is especially desirable and useful and at the same time the individual is rendered happy, contented and selfsustaining in an environment well suited to his mental state.

These statements are not based on theory or abstract thought but rather are they based on concrete experiences the results of twenty years of work with and study of the 4,000 feeble-minded who have passed through this asylum since its organization in 1894; 1,500 of these are in custody here at the present time.

We have carried on colonization along these lines among the feebleminded for the past ten years and have proven it to be practical, economical and entirely feasible in every way.

We have nine farm colonies with 20 inmates and a farmer and his wife on each. The 22 people are living comfortably in the old farmhouse on 100 or more acres of land. Such farms cost the state between $5,000 and $10,000 each, whereas it costs at least $500 for every inmate to build large brick buildings.

These colonies are entirely self-sustaining including all expenses and 5 per cent on the investment.

We also have four colonies for girls in rented houses three in the city of Rome and one on Staten Island, where 72 girls under the supervision of matrons and a social worker are supporting themselves, doing domestic work, hand laundry and sewing.


FARM COLONIES Ten years ago (see 12th annual report) our first farm colony was opened with 20 trained boys and a man and wife on a farm of 180 acres. The farms cost $10,000 and lay one mile from the asylum; two years later another farm colony was instituted on an adjoining farm of 20 acres. This cost $5,000, and lay between the first farm colony and the asylum farm. By dividing the acreage of the larger farm with the smaller one we made two colonies of 100 acres, with 20 inmates each.

Two years later another outlying farm of 300 acres, five miles from the asylum was rented for $650 per year for use in growing fodder and pasturage and stabling our large herd of growing young stock. This farm is still rented and at present has thereon 100 growing steers which will be used for beef, also 40 head of growing cows. We have not purchased a cow in twelve years but have grown from our best calves all the cows we have, 160 at present.

[ocr errors]

Four years ago we purchased a neighboring farm of 60 acres for $5,000 and by expending $2,000 on the buildings we have very comfortable housing accommodation for 30 boys, who with their housefather care for 40 acres of garden in which all the small fruits and vegetables, except potatoes for our family of 1,800 are grown. The potatoes are grown on the rented farm.

Last year we rented two other good dairy farms, one of 273 acres, one mile from the asylum, for $1,100 per year, and the other of 200 acres for $1,000 per year and established on each colonies of 20 inmates. Dairies of 40 milch cows were placed on each, their milk to be used entirely for making butter. At present we are making 100 pounds per day, nearly all we need for our regular dietary, in addition to producing all the milk needed.

This year we have placed a permanent colony of boys at Indian Lake to grow trees and do reforestation for the Conservation Commission on the state preserves in the Adirondacks. This is planned as an economy for both the Commission and the asylum, as it will furnish us cheap beds and housing as well as an annual outing for inmates. It will furnish the Commission cheap labor to do this work. It is very expensive to transport supplies and trees and get labor in that remote region to do the work.

We had previously demonstrated that we could successfully do this work through having, under the supervision of the state Forestry Department, reforested 40 acres of reverted state land, three miles south of Rome and also 20 acres of waste land on the asylum farm. We had also previously as a result of several conferences with representatives of the State Conservation Commission, decided to try the use of trained feeble-minded boys from this institution for such purposes. On October 1, 1915, a group of 25 boys with two attendants were sent to North River in the region of Indian Lake to do such work under the supervision of a state forester.

It was late in the season when we got started, because considerable time was consumed in arranging the details. Because of this we had an opportunity for doing only one month's work, whereas we should have started on September 1, and had an opportunity for two months' demonstration. Frost and snow appears in this region about November 1, and prevents further work.

The trees for this work were grown by the Conservation Commission at their nursery at Saratoga. One carload of these trees was shipped to North Creek, the terminal of the D. & H. R. R., and from there carted ten miles to North River where the boys' camp was located. The camp consisted of tents, beds, and cooking utensils which are kept in stock by the Conservation Commission for such purposes.

At the end of four weeks the boys had set out 150,000 trees, covering 150 acres, and the report made by the Conservation Commission shows that this work was much better done than it ever had been done by paid labor, or where convict labor had been used for the purpose.

The work was worth about $1,000 to the state and actually cost us in direct expense about $400, $200 of which was railroad fares to and from North Creek, about $100 for supplies; express and freight $25 and labor $75. Could this planting season have been distributed over a longer period of time, of course the showing would have been much better, as the expense of $200 for transportation would have been distributed over a much larger area of land and a much larger number of trees would have been planted.

The permanent reforestation colony at Indian Lake is located on 150 acres of open farm land where 20 boys will live the year around and where other boys will camp in tents during the spring and fall planting season. The number will depend on the number of trees we have available for planting.

Fifty to sixty boys will do the house and farm work and plant 500,000 trees per year in addition to caring for the nurseries which have been established on the colony farm for growing these one-half million trees per year to the planting age of three or four years.

On this farm the boys are producing all the vegetables, milk, butter, beef, pork, mutton, eggs, etc., needed for maintenance. Besides this they help, for pay, the neighboring people in their work. They also have considerable

, excess products to sell, especially wool from the sheep. They are more than self-supporting. They had 700 bushels of home grown potatoes in their cellar for the year's supply.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS We are at present operating 1,400 acres of land, 600 acres of which we own and 800 of which we rent. Last year on 1,000 acres of land we produced food supplies to the value of $90,000 at a cost to the state of $18,000 for labor, seeds, fertilizer, farm utensils, stock feed, and renewing farm equipment. The products included 135,000 gallons of milk, 27,538 pounds of butter, 5,300 pounds of beef, 70,000 pounds of pork, etc. We actually butchered forty-two and one-half tons of pork between October 1, 1914, and April 1, 1915. The $46,000 cost of farming operations is included in the $149.97 which it cost us per capita for maintenance that year and such home products represented one-fourth of the total cost of maintenance, or otherwise one-third of the net cost of such maintenance to the state, with a larger acreage of land up to one acre per inmate we can continue to show a largely increased percentage of home products or self maintenance.

Now the situation is just this, in addition to colonizing a great many of these trained boys on forest preserves for reforestation purposes, and state lands for agricultural operations, we need additional farm colonies near the aslyum for boys in training, where they can earn their own living and help to support the institution. We have at least 200 males at present available for such colony life.

With five farm colonies for boys last year we were able to produce $90,000 worth of farm products which cost us to produce only $46,000, and in this way we earned 25 per cent of the total cost of maintenance for the whole population of 1,800 (1,570 inmates and 230 employees).

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »