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place, and we believe it will, in some degree at least, enable us to realize higher rates and better prices for the labor of the prisoners committed to the charge and custody of the prison.
Withont expressing an opinion on the effect of the system of contract labor in the discipline and reformation of prisoners, the Board believe that the time has not yet come when it can be successfully dispensed with in the management of the Prison. Such a change would involve a necessity for a large outlay of money by the State for the purchase of machinery and apparatus, which the Legislature would be slow to grant. Therefore, until some better method shall at least be apparent, it would not seem wise to make such a sweeping change as the complete abrogation of the contract system.
In other States various methods have been tried to secure increased compensation for convict labor. In some a price has been fixed by law, and the authorities of the prison prohibited from letting the labor at a sum less than the amount thus established. The result was that no satisfactory bids were made, the prisoners were kept idle, or the prison authorities drew directly on the State Treasury for means to purchase material and machinery to keep the convicts at work. The result in both cases proved a large drain upon
the resources of the State, and financially a great loss. It is our belief, therefore, that the true course to secure the best results at the present time is to open the door as wide as possible to competition for this class of labor, and to remove all restrictions which in any wise hinder the Board from inviting all our industries to seek it. With this broad field to operate in, and with the further provision which we expect to make in all future contracts, that the control of the prisoners, either as to the hours they shall labor, the amount of the labor, and the time they shall devote to sanitary, educational, or moral purposes, shall in no case be under the control of the contractors, we hope
not only to increase the wages of the prisoners, but to promote
WM. V. WILCOX,
J. R. STEWART. The communication was laid on the table.
The Speaker also announced the following: Hon. C. M. Croswell, Speaker of the House of Representatives :
In accordance with two resolutions of the House, the first passed February 10, as follows:
Resolved, That the Clerk of this House be and he is hereby instructed to obtain from the county clerks of the counties comprising the 9th judicial district, the number of days that court has been held in their respective counties for the year ending December 31, 1872;
The second, passed February 14, and is as follows:
Resolved, That the Clerk of this House be instructed to obtain, forthwith, from the clerks of the respective counties in the 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 14th, 15th, and 17th judicial circuits, the number of days in which the circuit courts have been in session, and the number of cases commenced at law, or in chancery, or brought up by appeal in their respective counties during the years 1871 and 1872;
I addressed to the several county clerks of the counties included in the said judicial districts a circular asking the desired information;
And I have the honor to submit in tabular form the accompanying statement, containing all upon that subject which has been received to this date. It will be found deficient in counties as follows: Berrien, Ingham, Washtenaw, and Montcalm. From these counties no reply has been received.
D. L. CROSSMAN,
Clerk of the House of Representatives. The communication was laid on the table.
The following is the tabular statement above referred to:
6 2 Ottawa.....
70 36 160 88 541 56 17 18
for 1871 and 1672.
Senate manuscript bill, entitled
A bill to reorganize the thirteenth and fourteenth judicial circuits and to create the nineteenth judicial circuit,
Was read a third time, and, pending the taking of the vote on the passage thereof,
Mr. Withington moved to amend the bill by striking out the word “balance” where it occurs in section 5 and section 6, and inserting the word "remainder" in lieu thereof;
Which motion prevailed.
The bill was then passed, a majority of all the members elect voting therefor, by yeas and nays, as follows:
Mr. Bartholomew, Mr. Grant,
C. W. Watkins,
E. C. Watkins,
O Title agreed to. On motion of Mr. Ferguson,
By a vote of two-thirds of all the members elect the bill was ordered to take immediate effect.
House bill No. 104, entitled
A bill supplementary to an act entitled “An act to provide for the incorporation of railroad companies," approved February 12, 1855;
Was read a third time and was not passed, a majority of all the members clect not voting therefor, by yeas and nays, as follows: