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Warden has had due regard to economy, while he has caused the building to be erected in a workmanlike and permanent manner; and while the principal object has been to make it convenient and durable, its appearance is an ornament when compared to the old Prison. It is a source of gratification for us to record the fact that in our frequent consultations with the Warden upon this subject, and upon the general affairs of the Prison, the greatest unanimity has prevailed, and we have always found him giving his undivided attention to the interest of this institution, and although the care and superintendence of this new building has caused him much additional trouble and anxiety, yet he has, with cheerfulness and fidelity, devoted himself to its accomplishment.
The new Prison now being in a situation for a remodeling of the cells, it remains for the Legislature to authorize the Warden to go on with the work, and carry out the benevolent intentions of the last Legislature.
To enable the Warden to do so, an appropriation will be necessary, and an early attention to the subject is most respectfully recommended, as there are now in the Priscn many convicts who could be immediately employed to advantage, in removing rubbish, taking down the old cells and preparing the granite for the new ones. By pursuing this course, it is believed a sufficient number of cells could be finished for the use of the convicts, before another winter.
Pecuniary situation.-By reference to the annexed statement of resources and liabilities for the last year, it will be seen that we placed as a liability, the amount that we find charged on the Prison books to building and repairs; while as a resource we have placed the same building, the value of which is estimated, by the amount charged to it, the amount charged to other departments, but actually expended for the building, and the amount of convicts' labor upon the same.
The labor of the convicts has been estimated at the same rate, that they would have earned in the different departments, while many of them have performed as much labor upon the building as would have been performed by men, whose wages would have
amounted to double the sum allowed them, if the State had been obliged to employ other persons for this purpose.
In the statement of present resources, we have shown an excess of resources amounting to $17,684 34, but this cannot all be considered as available; as much of the stock consists of furniture and tools; nor is it probable that the whole amount due from individuals will be collected, although we are satisfied that the Warden, in effecting sales from the Prison, has been very careful to have the payment for the same well secured.
Having settled the Warden's account, we find that he has received
The above balance is included in the amount due to individuals on account, in the statement of liabilities, and makes more than one half of the whole amount due.
During the past year the subordinate officers of the Prison have been faithful, in the discharge of their various duties; and we feel that we are but doing justice to the clerk, Mr. Perkins, in saying that the books, accounts and all other affairs pertaining to his duties, have received his constant attention during the year.
Before closing this report, we must again call your attention to the importance of increasing the salary of the clerk and commissary. It must be apparent, that it is necessary to have a competent person to perform the duties of this office, when it is known that all the accounts of the Prison are kept by him, and that he is required to give a bond to the State, for the faithful discharge of these duties. While his duties require all his time; while he is liable by his bond for any neglect in these duties, he does not receive so much remuneration as many of the subordinate officers, who have comparatively but little responsibility. We would therefore respectfully suggest the propriety of increasing the salary of
this office, in order to secure the services of the present efficient clerk, or enable the Warden to procure another competent to perform the duties of this office.
Maine State Prison, January 13, 1844.
To the Inspectors of the Maine State Prison:
GENTLEMEN:-With sincere thankfulness to the great Author and Preserver of life, who has permitted me to see the close of another year; I now present to you my annual Report as Chaplain of the Maine State Prison.
During the past year, two religious exercises have been held in the Chapel each Sabbath-one service at eight o'clock, A. M., other at half past three, P. M.
This arrangement, as to time, appears necessary to promote the health and comfort of the convicts. Surely, human beings, of flesh and blood like us, shut up in cold damp cells during a long winter night of between fifteen and sixteen hours, cannot but joyfully embrace the hour that gives them exercise, and also the comfort of a warm room. Without this exercise and warmth, these unfortunate men must necessarily pervert the wise design of our Creator, in the appointment of the Holy Sabbath, by regarding its approach a curse rather than a blessing. The completion, therefore, of the new building, containing comfortable cells, cannot fail to be a subject of pleasing contemplation, not only by the convicts, but by all who possess the kind feelings of humanity.
Although we may justly consider those convicted of crime, and committed to this place, as constituting a hardened class of men, nevertheless, I am happy to state, that in general, their attention to the word preached, is good, and at times an apparent seriousness and feeling, which would in any assembly inspire a speaker with strong hopes that the word spoken would not prove as the seed sown by the "way side, or among thorns," but on "good ground," and therefore produce good fruit.
While all who labor in the ministry, are called more or less to witness disappointments in the fond expectation of the sinner's reform-it is my painful experience to have a large share of those disappointments.
This state of things may be accounted for, from the fact that a great majority of those here confined, are possessed with strong propensities to evil, arising either from long indulgence in crime, or a want of effort necessary to discipline the mind, in order effectually
to resist temptation. In many cases, they have become almost fixed in the conclusion, that as they have gone so far, an attempt to reform is useless, or, as some have remarked to me, we cannot be religious in such a place as this." Hence, when the mind is somewhat impressed with religious truth, and resolutions formed to amend, in many cases they are of short duration, and they yield to their long established habits of evil thinking, helped so to do by surrounding influences.
But notwithstanding all my disappointed hopes, I am not without evidence that some have been savingly benefitted, and will look back to this Prison as the place where they began to feel true penitence before God, and to live "new creatures in Christ Jesus."
As to the Sabbath School, or Bible Class-some few attend with interest and delight; but we find it hard to engage the majority of them in the work of searching the Holy Scriptures.
It would be very desirable to procure some Bibles of a large and fair type, as most of them now used, when new, were very unfit for such a place.
Some addition also to the library is needed, but considering the dampness of the cells, which soon renders books unfit for use, together with the want of light to read, may be sufficient reason to delay the purchase until those evils are removed.
With feelings of deep sympathy for these unfortunate men under my charge as their spiritual teacher, humbly relying on the aid of the Holy Spirit to make my labors successful in their moral and religious reform, and requesting the prayers of all, that I may so discharge my duty as to meet the approval of the Great Head of the church at last,
I remain yours, with respect,
JOB WASHBURN, Chaplain of the Maine State Prison.
Thomaston, January 1, 1844.