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The total amount received from the Prison Commission during the year was $10,107.90, of which the sum of $100.00 was for stone quarried in 1876.
The amounts received in 1874, 1875, 1876 and 1877 were as follows:
1874. For furnishing stone for foundation of yard walls,
$ 2,123 94 1875. For excavating cellars and moving soil.... .$ 1,714 72 1875. For furnishing stone, and building yard wall and
foundation of prison, including all material ex-
28,943 75— 30,658 47 1876. For moving soil, &c...
796 00 1876. For furnishing stone for prison building, and for teams at prison, &c....
9,502 06— 10,298 06 1877. For furnishing stone for buildings, and for teams at prison, &c.
10,107 90 Total.
During the coming year the Board will grade the grounds in front of the prison, build the roads leading to it, lay out paths, &c., &c., under an agreement recently made with the Prison Commission.
PUR(ILASE AND EXCHANGE OF LAND.
Early in the year the Board learned that a strip of land adjoining the State Farm, and containing about eleven acres, was for sale. As early as 1873 negotiations had been entered into with a view to the purchase of this strip, as it was deemed desirable to obtain possession of it; but the price then asked was thought too high. In March, 1877, the chairman was authorized to purchase this land, at a cost not
to exceed $1,500.00; and in May a deed of it was obtained for that sum.
The considerations which induced the Board to make this purchase were these: First, a portion of the land was flowed by the pond at the Water Works; second, the lot is quite near the new Prison, within five hundred feet of the yard wall, and might have fallen into the hands of persons who would use it for objectionable purposes; and third, it was thought that a portion of it might be exchanged for another piece of land still nearer to the Prison, which was needed for an entrance to the Prison grounds.
The land was bought under authority granted to the Board in 1869, to purchase additional land for the State Farm, (See Schedule of May Session, 1869, page 21,) the amount to be expended not to exceed $10,500. Of this sum, $7,000 were paid in 1869 for the “ Brayton Farm;" $800, in 1872, for the “Pardon Williams lot," a piece of land containing about three and one-half acres, enclosed within the territory of the State Farm, and quite near to the present Almshouse; and $1,500 for the strip mentioned above-in all $9,300; leaving an unexpended balance of $1,200.
As was anticipated, by gaining possession of this land, the Board was enabled to procure a triangular lot which the Prison Commission was desirous of obtaining, for the purpose of enlarging the grounds in front of the Prison, and making a proper entrance thereto. Acting under authority granted at the May Session, 1877, (See Appendix,) the Board agreed to exchange with Samuel Burlingame about four and three-quarter acres of the land recently purchased, for an equal area adjoining the Prison grounds. A deed of the land was received from Mr. Burlingame in November, and the General Treasurer, in accordance with the provisions of the resolution, made a conveyance on the part of the State.
At the May Session, 1877, a resolution was passed by the General Assembly (See Appendix to this report,) directing the Board “to repair and improve the road leading to the State Farm from the line of the city of Providence.
It had been known by the Board that the town of Cranston desired the State to assist in improving the “Pontiac, or Middle road," now called “Pontiac Avenue." It was also known that a considerable amount of grading would be necessary in front of the new Prison, including the lowering of the grade of the road at this point; but, until the passage of the above resolution, it was not known to what extent the Board would be called upon to aid in these improvements.
The purpose of the resolution was carefully considered, and the conclusion reached, that the appropriation should be expended along the line of the State Farm, which extends nearly a mile upon this road.
Nothing could be done, however, to carry out the provisions of the resolution, until the Prison Commission had decided upon a new grade in front of the Prison, and until the authorities of Cranston had established the grade and the new lines of the road. Several interviews were had with the Town Council of ('ranston; and, about the first of November, the new grade was definitely fixed, and a Commission appointed by the town to establish the new lines of the road. The season was then too far advanced to accomplish much before winter. Work was at once begun, however, in front of the Superintendent's house, upon a part of the road which has always been in a bad condition in wet seasons, on account of the springiness of the land. The grade was lowered here, and the material taken out was used, so far as it would go, to fill up the depression in the road where the unfinished Pontiac Branch Railroad crosses it; a storie drain was laid to carry off the water, and the road bed filled with stone and gravelled.
The Board has drawn $816.37 from the appropriation for the work, and returned the same to the Treasury. This sum, which was for the use of oxen, carts, tools, &c., was thought sufficient to reimburse the Board for the additional expense incurred in making the improvement. Nothing was charged for the work of the inmates, and no labor was hired.
The Board believe that it is due to the town of Cranston, that the State should assist generously in improving Pontiac Avenue. The town has already expended a considerable sum upon the road, from which great benefit will accrue to the State, as the Avenue must always be largely used in the transportation of material to the institutions at the State Farm.
In order to widen and straighten the Avenue, a narrow strip of land, about 1,200 feet in length, containing about one-third of an acre, will need to be taken from the State Farm. Authority will be asked for, to enable the Board to convey, in the usual form, to the town of Cranston, the land required for this purpose.
WORKHOUSE AND HOUSE OF CORRECTION.
l'nder the personal direction of the Superintendent, the Workhouse has been admirably managed during the past year. The discipline has been excellent; the strictest economy has been practised; a large amount of work has been done; and may we not believe that steady labor, the lessons of the school, fervent Christian appeals, and, above all, the example of earnestness of purpose and fidelity to every duty, which the inmates have had before them, have produced some lasting moral results?
The number of commitments to the Workhonse in 1877 is less than in any year since 1871, as will be seen by referring to the following table:
The ratios of commitments for drunkenness and for vagrancy to the whole number, are about the same as in 1876; that for prostitution is somewhat larger; but, on the whole, the variations in the relative number of commitments for the larger classes of offences for the two years, are very small.
The Board has no theory to offer to explain the decrease in the number of commitments the past year. Possibly, strict discipline and plenty of work have had something to do with it.
* The following tables show the number of days the inmates have worked, and the kinds of labor upon which they have been employed: Labor of Men.
4,868 Clearing land and building farm walls.. Breaking stone for roads.. Basket making...
2,378 Driving and working with teams.
3.479 Barn work....... Grading Howard Avenue and the road to barn.
810 Builling wall on Oaklawn road..
909 Grading Pontiac Avenue. Taking care of Workhouse.
3,228 Blacksmithing. Carpentering
729 Painting.. Tailoring.. Repairing shoes..
158 Taking care of boilers.
730 Storehouse work.
104 Tending gate..
147 Whitewashing Butchering....
20 Cutting and packing ice..
84 Barber's work....
51 Work for Prison Commission.
3,552 Miscellaneous work.....
Labor of Women.
Dys. 4,093 4,016 3,021 2,147