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Sec. 14. This act shall be liberally construed to the end that its purpose may be carried out, to-wit: That the care, custody and discipline of a child shall approximate as nearly as may be that which should be given by its parents, and in all cases where it can properly be done, the child to be placed in an approved family home and become a member of the family by legal adoption or otherwise.
Sec. 15. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the 1st day of June, 1905.
Approved April 19, 1905.
THIRD BIENNIAL REPORT
Board of Control
In transmitting this third biennial report of its stewardship, the Board of Control invites the most earnest attention, not only to the financial records that these pages disclose, but to the report of progress along the altruistic, humanitarian and scientific lines suggested in the reports of the Superintendents of the various institutions. Many of these suggestions are embodied in the requests for legislation made by this Board.
Minnesota is fortunate in having in its service, at the head of its great institutions, men of the highest character and ability; men who are not serving only for the amount of salary paid, but because they can render real service to humanity. Their conclusions and recommendations are entitled to the fullest consideration. The Board has endeavored to give to the heads of these various institutions its sympathetic support in their strenuous efforts to build up and advance their institutions in the highest sense.
The fear that many people had when the Board of Control system was inaugurated that the tendency would be toward a bureaucratic form of government, that would be cold and unsympathetic, has happily been dispelled by the facts. The Board is as ready to advance and adopt modern methods as any agency or government that has ever been devised. It is at all times ready to cooperate with the Superintendents of the institutions to the fullest extent that the means provided will permit.
The burden of caring for the dependent, deficient and delinquent classes is a grievous burden on society, but a burden which the people of Minnesota have never shirked. The importance of having a thorough business management of the institutions caring for these people and a thorough co-ordination of all the agencies employed may be realized when we state the fact that at the close of the fiscal year ending July 31, 1906, there were 7,113 inmates of the various institutions of the state. These people were cared for at a per capita expense for the year ending July 31, 1905, of $153.67, and for the fiscal year ending July 31, 1906, of $149.38. This is the financial cost of caring for these people. This per capita cost includes food, clothing, nursing, medical care, all superintendence, and ordinary repairs of the buildings in which they are housed. New buildings and extraordinary repairs are not included in this cost. The total appropriations for the biennial period covered by this report for extraordinary repairs and improvements and equipment was $228,150 and for new buildings $394,900.
VISITS TO INSTITUTIONS.
During the period the institutions have been regularly visited by. members of the Board. The hospitals, asylums and penal institutions have been visited regularly each month and the other institutions from time to time.
All new patients admitted to the hospitals for the insane are interviewed in the presence of the Superintendent or one of his assistants upon the occasion of these monthly visits.
Opportunity for interviews is given to all the other patients; the wards are visited and thoroughly inspected. The food served is observed, and every care taken to keep in close touch with the management, and the welfare of the patients is closely looked after.
In another part of the report will be found a table showing the visits made.
During the biennial period 213 cases of supposed non-resident insane and feeble-minded dependents have been investigated. Of these 153 have been deported, at a total expense of $5,603.98. Taking the usual multiple of $1,000 as the average cost of maintaining each patient as a state charge, the 153 patients would have cost the State $153,000. Deducting therefrom the expense of deportation, as stated above, would save the State the net sum of $147,390, showing that this department is truly profitable to the State; and even more so than the financial showing indicates, because the knowledge that exists among people in other states that we have a deportation department restrains many from loading their indigent, dependent and deficient friends on this state for support.
During the period the deportation agent, who also has charge of the investigation of county jails, city and village lockups and poorhouses throughout the state, has examined 16 county jails and 31 lockups. There being over 450 village lockups in the state, it is impossible for the agent to visit each one each
hence three years ago the Board employed a special man who visited all of the lockups of the state and reported on them during the summer season. It is intended to do the same next year, thus fulfilling what we believe should be done in that regard.
The Board has approved plans for 20 new lockups in the state, as well as for several jails. A number of lockups have been built without the approval of the Board as provided by law. The officers who assume to loek men up in places not approved by this Board, according to statute made and provided, do so at their own risk, and subject themselves to whatever personal damages a jury may find that the incarcerated person may be justly entitled to because of being detained in an improper and unsanitary place. The law does not provide any penalty for the village officers who maintain an improper place for a lockup.
(PWARD TENDENCY OF SUPPLIES AND SALARIES.
On the whole the average price paid for. supplies is considerably higher for this biennial period than in the past. This is true of food supplies as well as clothing material and the furnishings necessary in the institutions. Building materials have increased very largely, and the bids for the construction of buildings have been so high as to prevent our erecting some of the buildings for which appropriations were made two years ago. This upward tendency is true of salaries paid, as well.
Two years ago the legislature made a general appropriation of $25,000 per year for the biennial period, permitting the Board to pur.chase land for any of the institutions where deemed advisable.
Acting under the authority thus granted, the Board purchased 20 acres for the Reformatory at St. Cloud, including in said tract the so-called Breen Quarry, paying therefor $5,500.
At Fergus Falls the Board bought an outlying tract of land, consisting of 79.47 acres, and paid therefor $2,910.39.
For the St. Peter Hospital 27.85 acres were purchased for $1,919.50.
For the Hastings Asylum 40 acres were purchased from the Government at an expense of $670, showing the total expenditure of $11,059.89.
Several of the institutions are very strenuous in urging the purchase of additional lands, and we favor a number of these recommendations, but the lands have been held at so high a valuation that the Board has hesitated to make the purchases. We would, however, recommend that the policy of appropriating $25,000 per year for the purchase of additional lands for such institutions as the Board may deem expedient, be continued.
In Chapter 337, Page 548, Laws of 1905, we find the following: "The Board of Control shall report in its next annual report such data concerning the insurance on the state property, and such suggestions as they may deem proper to provide for the state to insure the state property from state funds."
In accordance with these instructions we respectfully report as follows: There are now in force policies of insurance against loss or damage by fire covering all the insurable property of the state except the Soldiers' Home, aggregating $5,502,500.00, upon which we pay a premium aggregating $72,346.59 a three-year period, a yearly average of $24,115.53.
In addition to the above we carry steam boiler insurance upon 88 boilers located at the different state institutions, aggregating $312,133.00. This latter insurance is valuable in that it not only covers loss to property by reason of explosion, but human life and injury, as well. The reports by the insurance inspectors of their periodical examinations also comply with the law covering inspection of steam boilers.
Insurance on the twine business at Stillwater being considered in the light of a purely business transaction and paid for from the profits of the plant are not included in this report.
For the seven years ending July 31, 1907, the State has paid in premiums upon insurance policies covering state property $119,388.68, an average of $17,055.52 per year. During the period mentioned the State has recovered from companies carrying such insurance for losses and damage by fire at eleven state institutions the sum of $200,337.67, an average of $28,619.67 per year, of which there still remains to be collected $1,898.65. There is also a period of eight months for which premiums have been paid and during which other losses may occur. This shows conclusively that the insurance of state property has been a paying investment. We have had no large conflagrations at any institution; otherwise the balance in favor of state insurance might have been much larger.
As to the payment of premiums on insurance, Sec. 1901, Revised Laws 1905, provides that the Board of Control shall insure state prop