Remonstrance against forming a State Board of Control of Reformatory, Charitable, and Penal Institutions



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Pet No 79S

Petition of trustees of Walworth County Insane Asylum against passage of Bill No 16S

3/3 Reynolds Claims 3/5 Reynolds Claims

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To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of Wisconsin.


Your petitioners, residents of this State and officially connected with institutions therein, would represent to this honorable body as follows;

That Bill No. 16S, entitled "a bill to abolish the State Board of Supervision and the State Board of Charities and reform and to create the State Board of Control of Reformatory, charitable and Penal Institutions, and making appropriation therefor," is subversive of the best interests of the state at large and of penal and charitable institutions under its charge and should not pass.

The number, purpose and character of the institutions under the supervision of the State Board of Charities and Reform is so large, varied and diverse that for their proper and effective control by an independent and no n-political body, the continuance of that Board as at present constituted, is an absolute necessity if the former horrid abuses of filth cruelty and worse so prevalent at the time of the creation of the Board are not to return with renewed vigor and virulence.

We would represent as follows:

1. The State Board was organized in 1871.

2. After repeated efforts at different sessions of the legislature the bill providing for the present system of county asylums in this State became law in 1881.

3. In 1871 there were twenty-four counties containing than a population of 665438 which had poorhouses. These had kept 1240 inmates during the year at an expense of a little over seventy thousand dollars ($70553.00) There are now poorhouses in forty one counties, containing a population of 12374942, or nearly double the population of the counties having poorhouses this year is 1734, against 1240 in 1871, or an increase of not quite one half, and the total current expenses of county poorhouses has been increased

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less than one fourth, being eighty-six thousand dollars ($8620993)

4. The number of patients in our county asylums September 30, 1890 was 1716. In the State Hospitals 1390.

5. The cost of the state buildings, land &c alone to provide for the 1716 inmates now in county asylums would be over one million dollars the total expenses of caring for that number by the state nearly two million dollars.

6. The average cost to the community of maintaining the insane in county asylums in one half of that in the State Hospitals, a saving on 1716 inmates of about $150 per annum over the former cost.

7. The so called "reform" proposed by the Bill 16S, in saving $2500 per year in the face of the foregoing facts is infitissemal and unworthy of consideration, when the danger of retrograde stamps and what is practically a revolutionary distinction of existing agencies is considered.

8. The value of the work of the State Board of Charities and Reform and the estimate placed upon it by the outside world is sufficiently emphasized by the following extract from the report of the legislative committee of Indiana after its visit of inspection to this state, viz:

"The Wisconsin system, as here exemplified, is the best and the most economical system for this class of unfortunate people (chronice insane) that exists in this country."

We would renew our petition that Bill 16S be not passed and that the State Board of Charities and Reform be not Abolished.

W.H. Hurlbut M.D. Medical attendant Walworth County Asylum John P Davis Trustee and Supt of Walworth County, Asylum Chas P Dunlap Trustee

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