--From the annual report of the Board of Directors of the Penitentiary Institution for the year ending September 30th, 1860, we learn that the balance in favor of manufacturing is $2,074.75; which, being deducted from the amount of the Agent
's commissions and the reductions and discounts authorized by the Board of Directors, leaves a balance against the institution of $3,559.76, showing a gain over the operations of the last year of $6, 186.23.
The goods manufactured and delivered to the General Agent
during the year, exceeded in value the amount of the deliveries of the preceding year by $10,928.05, and the amount of manufactured articles on hand is $1,452.38 more than the previous year, showing an increase of $11,380.43 in the manufactures of the last over the previous year.
Of the 389 free persons and 68 slaves in the Penitentiary at the time above mentioned, 9 free negroes and 18 slaves were in the custody of Rosser
& Launis; 38 free negroes and 33 slaves were in the possession of R. T. & D. G. Bibb
; 27 free negroes and 8 slaves were in the custody of the James River
and Kanawha Company, and 20 free negroes and 9 slaves remained in the Penitentiary on the 1st day of October, 1860.
Of the 149 persons received, 50 per cent. more of the number were committed for acts of violence to the person than for the previous year . Seventy-four of the number were received for less than three years. Nearly 25 per cent. were sentenced for one year.
, in his communication to the Legislature, says:
"In my last annual report I urged the necessity of adopting some measure for the enlargement of the Penitentiary, so as to place it in a proper condition to meet the increasing demands upon it.--The results of the last year show that that recommendation was not premature.
Two years and a half ago the crowded condition of the prison was very much relieved by the employment of one hundred of the negro convicts on the public works.
Then there were only 260 prisoners remaining in the Penitentiary.
On the 1st day of October last there were 324; and now (Dec. 24th) the number has increased to 367.
Thus it will be seen, that in a prison containing only 168 cells, all except two of which were originally designed for the confinement of a single prisoner, there are now confined over two prisoners for every cell.
In many of the largest and best ventilated cells, there are now confined three, and in some instances as many as four prisoner.
The increase in the number of prisoners within the last fifteen months has been 80, and within the last thirty months, 107; and if the rate of increase continues, as I have every reason to believe will be the case, for the next six months, it will be utterly impossible to confine them in the present cells of the prison.
But if I should be mistaken in the supposition that the number of prisoners will continue to increase, as has heretofore been the case here and in every other State Prison in the United States
, with the present number, crowded in the cells so utterly inadequate to the necessities of those confined in them, the return of summer cannot fail to bring with it disease and suffering amongst the convicts, that would paralyze the business operations of the institution.
"The enlargement of the Penitentiary is no longer a question of mere policy, but is now a subject of paramount necessity; and unless the Legislature shall so modify the criminal law of the State
as to change the mode of punishment for minor felonies, or those sentenced for short terms of imprisonment, even the most active measures that can be adopted will scarcely relieve the pressing necessities of the prison during the approaching summer.
"Of the 389 convicts remaining on the 1st day of October last, 198 were sentenced for terms of five years and upwards, and for the last three years nearly 37 1/2 per cent. of the number received were sentenced for the like terms.
These long sentences produce an accumulation of convicts in the prison, which, in the course of five or six years, would alone amount to the number now in the prison.
But the rate of increase during the last three years has been at the rate of 43 per annum, while that of the last fifteen months has been at the rate of 72 per annum — so that under the present system, it may be safely estimated that in December, 1865, there will be no less than 550 convicts in this prison."