|Detroit Free Press, September 30, 1860 (enlarge)|
Miss Dix's visit to the County House of Wayne came after trips to many state and local institutions. She adjudged the Kalamazoo Asylum to be in excellent condition and the patients treated well. In Detroit, the County Jail received praise for the facility itself but its practice of confining all criminals, despite their offenses, into one general population was considered a grave mistake. St. Mary's Hospital, "The Retreat" for the insane and the Marine Hospital all garnered high marks for their professional and practical care. Eloise would garner no such accolades.
The Poor House was found to be filthy and disorganized with a sense of dread emanating from both patient and faculty, as well as the structures. Dix asserted that charges allowed to live in conditions of disarray would mirror the deficiencies in their own dispositions. If the institution wasn't willing to reform how could it expect its subject to do so? But the most poignant scorn was reserved for the insane asylum. A block of cells mired in a discreditable state that housed a dozen wretched souls. The stench in the wooden structure from a lack of ventilation and cleanliness sent some of Dix's party scurrying for the outdoors to vomit and warranted a call for mass reform by the delegation. The Free Press, of course, had neither answer nor condemnation for the Poor Commission and simply called for more money to be thrown at the problem. A solution that never did or could help any charitable endeavor lacking an equal amount of specialized care.