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Sunday, August 21, 2011


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“It had been customary to punish these delinquents by simple incarceration in the county jail, where, in utter idleness, corrupted and corrupting each other by indiscriminate intercourse, they remained until the expiration of their sentences, and in most cases, when discharged it was only to return thither in a few days, or weeks at most, to go through the same routine,” an observer wrote of the conditions at the Albany county jail during the early 1840s. As most local jails, the Albany facility was characterized by the unregulated association of prisoners regardless of their offense. This congregation of offenders, “so far from having any terrors or constituting any punishment, had an opposite effect,” an early chronicler added. “The jail became a fruitful source of demoralization and vice,” while the expense of its maintenance, coupled with the attendant expenses of trials courts and juries, was annually increasing at an alarming rate.1

During the mid-1840s Albany faced a rapidly growing incidence of crime and local political leaders, most from the emerging commercial elite, looked with horror at the mounting costs of incarceration. They recognized that the Albany jail was in desperate need of change and fiscal overhaul. These were years when the prison reform movement gained momentum, launched by the changes introduced in Auburn and Philadelphia, and civic leaders from Albany looked to them for direction. At the Auburn state penitentiary prisoners were held in solitary confinement at night but permitted to work in groups during the day. Silence among them was rigorously enforced at all times. The Philadelphia prison adopted absolute solitary confinement with no communication among the prisoners permitted at any time, even during meals and work.2 Most state penitentiaries adopted either model or a version of both, as the authorities used limited or no contact among the prisoners as a means of improving conditions and ensuring greater control over the inmates. These systems also gained widespread attention and were discussed in the professional journals in the United States and abroad.3 At Auburn and Philadelphia “the principle of isolation with labor lies at the foundation of both,” an observer noted in April 1869.4

While most of America's larger prisons had adopted the Auburn or Pennsylvania model by the 1840s, conditions on the local level remained harsh and brutal. Jails continued to be operated on outdated and ill-founded principles. Typically, large numbers of offenders were held together with little or no distinction made on the basis of the severity of the crime or length of
sentence. A few jails attempted to ameliorate the conditions by adopting some elements of the Auburn or Pennsylvania systems. A leader in the reform of local penal institutions was the Albany County Penitentiary. Opened in 1848 under the direction of Amos Pilsbury, an influential prison reformer, this prison soon became a model of reform for other urban areas, largely because it was one of the few prisons of the day that paid its own way. Already in 1851 advocates called it “Model Prison.” Several individuals who later became prominence in the prison reform movement, including Zebulon Brockway, gained experience here.5

Reformers in the New York capital deliberately adopted the discipline of the factory to its local jail, the Albany County Penitentiary, thereby using the model of social control and reform they knew best. The significance of this institution for prison reform lasted only several decades and its experience during these years reveals the overriding interests and concerns of local officials. Observers came to Albany from across the United States and even Europe to study what one advocate called "the model prison in the world." The facility remained in use until it was closed in 1931 long after the first calls to shut its doors were made.6

During the past several decades scholars have investigated and debated anew the nature of the penitentiary, identifying it as a unique nineteenth-century American creation. This approach has brought into sharper focus the purpose of incarceration in a society undergoing widespread economic change and the social and political restructuring that accompanied it. In post-Jacksonian America, the economic prosperity brought more sharply into view the growing working class. Situated on the lower rungs of society, workers lived not far from the criminal subculture and in times of unemployment or economic hardship some slid into its ranks. These developments affected the new urban centers, alarming civic leaders, most who had come from the commercial elite. New York’s capital, the city of Albany, took steps to confront this mounting social crisis that threatened the values of its middle class leaders who were busily asserting their political and social authority during these years. The birth of the penitentiary and its spread also reveal much about 19th century America. Can these insights be applied to the local level, to community based prisons, to a specific urban center undergoing fundamental economic change and witnessing the emergence of a commercial elite and its rise to political prominence?

The experiences of the Albany County Penitentiary show how one urban center, faced with a growing and expensive crime problem, brought in a prominent reformer to effect change. An examination of the Albany County Penitentiary also reveals how the new political and commercial elite viewed society and how civic leaders strived to impose the ideology of discipline on the lower elements in the community.

During the 1830s and 1840s, the crime rate in Albany County rose sharply as the economy slowed following the boom brought on by the construction of the Erie Canal and later the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad. The bulk of the arrests were for minor non-violent transgressions, particularly drunkenness and vagrancy. “Most were simply held in the local jail with a range of other offenders, because no adequate provision had previously existed" for the “confinement, employment and reformation of vagrants and petty criminals,” an observer noted.7

The poor conditions in Albany’s jail and in particular the mounting expense to the county for sheltering these prisoners raised concern within the community and prompted the Board of Supervisors on May 1, 1843, to appoint a committee to “investigate all matter relating to expenses of this county.”8 The Board of Supervisors focused on the costs to the city of holding minor criminals, on their “employment” and “reformation,” that is with cutting expenses. “The cost of its maintenance coupled with the attendant expenses of trials courts and juries, was annually increasing at an alarming rate.”9

In the early 1840s as a number of communities faced these issues. Reformers and civic leaders throughout the nation called for action, but Albany was one of the few cities to confront the situation directly, to allocate the needed resources, as it attempted to impose the discipline of the factory through the prison regime.10 Amid the discussions came calls for change, such as greater scrutiny of the prisoners and of foremost importance the search for a less costly method of imprisonment. The resolution passed by the Albany County board of supervisors on May 1, 1843, called for the identification of a cheaper and more efficient means of dealing with the crime problem.11 According to the resolution, the committee of five local citizens had the authority to make a complete and detailed examination of all matters relating to the expenses of the county, in order to ascertain if any reduction or reform can be devised consistent with the due administration of justice, the protection of property and the just compensation of its executive officers; to the end that such measures may be adopted as this board may deem necessary for a more economical expenditure of the public money.12

In passing this resolution, the Albany board of supervisors was guided not so much by humanitarian concerns as the escalating costs of handling minor offenders. The cost of housing criminals had soared in recent years and the burden of providing financial support fell heavily on the emerging business elite of the city. Political leaders were responsive to these concerns. Although the county's population had not doubled in the past 28 years, the number of those sent to the county jail had increased four fold in half that time.13 The rising costs of incarcerating these individuals jumped from $9,000 to more than $28,000 per year. A report submitted to the board of supervisors on December 14, 1843, after an “intricate and laborious investigation... attributed nearly all the existing evils to the growth of petty crime, vagrancy and pauperism.”14

The citizens’ committee deliberated on the emerging social crisis and the accompanying fiscal burdens for the county. On February 7, 1844, it presented a final report to the board of supervisors and recommended that application be made immediately to the state legislature for a law permitting Albany County to begin construction of a penitentiary “in which vagrants and convicts might be confined at hard labor, of a suitable nature, and sufficient for its own support.” The emphasis was on engaging in the prisoners in work that would generate funds to defray the cost of their incarceration. Members of the Albany Common Council accepted the report and voted to proceed according to its recommendations.15

Albany’s new penitentiary was to be constructed by the prisoners themselves, thereby saving the county considerable expense and at the same time serving one of the expressed functions of incarceration--instilling a work ethic and discipline in the prisoners. In addition to its call for legislation authorizing the construction of a penitentiary, the report to the board of supervisors contained the principles and recommendations that were to guide the facility’s operations, and which revealed their overriding concerns and intentions. These included:

First, That while the punishment inflicted shall be adequate to the offense committed, it shall also be such as will tend to effect the moral reformation of the convict.

Second, That the labor performed in the prison shall produce a sufficient income for its maintenance.

Third, That the occupation of the prisoners shall be of such a nature as not to interfere with the lawful avocation of any citizen, and such as can give to the mechanics and citizens of our community not just cause of complaint whatever.

Fourth, That such moral and religious instruction be provided as will be a powerful auxiliary in producing amendment and reformation.16

The Albany County Penitentiary was intended from the outset to meet not simply local fiscal needs and concerns; it was also to be a vehicle of moral improvement through hard labor for minor criminals, vagrants, paupers, and drunkards. The assumption was that these individuals needed the hard work and discipline, coupled with religious training, to set them on the track to becoming productive members of society. These efforts were not, however, to compete with businesses and the free labor in the community.17 The penitentiary, as planned, would be a marked improvement over the county jail which had operated at considerable expense and where the conditions were generally miserable and inmates spent most of the day in idleness, corrupting each other.

With strong local support, the bill to grant Albany County authority to construct a penitentiary was submitted to the New York State Legislature and on April 13, 1844, it passed “An Act for the Construction of a Penitentiary, and its relation to the relief of the Poor in the county of Albany.”18 The law granted the county board of supervisors the authority to construct a penitentiary “for the safe keeping and employment of vagrants, disorderly persons, and all prisoners (except in cases of convictions for felony) who shall be sentenced to confinement at hard labor, or to solitary imprisonment, by any court held in said county, or in the city of Albany.”19 The new facility would house minor non-violent offenders, those identified ascapable of being reformed, that is capable of learning factory-like discipline in the structured routine of the penitentiary.20

Having gained permission from the state Legislature, the county moved quickly. Penitentiary commissioners were appointed to implement the new legislation and they received the full support and endorsement of the county commissioners. Political influence played no role in the operation of the new penitentiary, an issue of great importance to the institution’s Superintendents or wardens and a factor often identified as a key to its early success.21 The newly appointed commissioners went about their work with diligence. They visited several prisons, studied their records, and examined different systems of prison discipline, particularly the Auburn and Pennsylvania systems.22

After visiting and studying a number of institutions, the commissioners reported that they “have taken this important part of the subject into deep consideration, and have arrived at what they consider to be the right conclusion.”23 In their report, the commissioners described the philosophical basis of the proposed penitentiary, revealing their cognizance of the prevailing ideals of mid-19th century America. They wrote that:

Every human being, no matter how depraved, has natural as well as civil rights. Whenever the rules on which the existence of the social compact depends are violated, society is justifiable in ejecting the transgressor from its privileges, until such time as penitence and reformation may reasonably be expected to ensue, or as the nature and proper punishment of the offense may require.

Albany’s civic leaders emphasized the “penitence and reformation” of prisoners through hard work, isolation, and religious education. Imprisonment, based on these principles, remained well within the natural and civil rights of the individual, local boosters argued. The regulations adopted in 1848 emphasized that “the object of this Institution” was “to effect the moral
reformation of the culprit.” The Inspectors of the penitentiary wrote in the First Annual Report that “the expectations of its founders” called for “a self-supporting institution and reformatory in morals.”24

The search for a superintendent began shortly after the legislature approved construction of the new institution. The commissioners in charge of the new penitentiary “resolved to adopt the best model and to have it erected under the best superintendence.” They approached Amos Pilsbury, the warden of the Wethersfield State Prison in Connecticut,25 and a well known prison reformer and effective administrator whose institutions annually turned a profit. He was, an observer wrote in 1849, “the first warden of a prison who caused the prisoners to earn more than their own support; and to his honor be it said, he was the first prison keeper who introduced the practice of reading the Bible daily to the prisoners assembled,”26 matters important to the Albany County supervisors and, no doubt, central to their choice of Pilsbury to organize and direct the operations of the penitentiary.

Pilsbury came from a family long involved with prisons, and at Wethersfield he had succeeded his father, Moses Pilsbury, who had previously served as warden of the New Hampshire State Prison. When Moses Pilsbury took over the Wethersfield prison in 1830 it was characterized by "irregularity, idleness, and waste." Under his direction these conditions were soon "replaced by discipline, industry and thrift until the prison, with its orderly and busy inmates, became the wonder and boast of the state; presenting, it is believed, the first instance recorded in penal annals, of convicts who supported themselves." Furthermore, when the expenses of the prison had been paid, there remained “a handsome surplus for the state treasury." Pilsbury embodied the new prison reformer. Motivated, in part, by a concern for the well being of the prisoners, he established humane living conditions. Pilsbury also turned the facility into a self-sustaining correctional factory.27

Amos Pilsbury began his work in prisons at the New Hampshire facility, under the tutelage of his father, and in 1827 they both went to the Wethersfield State Prison. The conditions they found were grim. Prisoners marched off to work in chains by day and were locked-up in the corridors of an abandoned copper mine by night. Operations cost approximately $25,000 more than its receipts. Serving first as Deputy Warden and after 1830 as warden, Amos Pilsbury improved conditions and within two years had the prison operating at a profit. Wethersfield became a model for reform advocated by Louis Dwight and his Prison Discipline Society, and Pilsbury's efforts led first to the reform of county jails.28

At the Wethersfield State Prison Pilsbury developed a program of prison discipline which had inmates spend the day at “some simple but profitable occupation” during which they were forbidden to speak with one another. They were held in solitary confinement at night. Pilsbury refined the Auburn system of prison discipline, the silent system, where “no word, or look, or sign, was allowed to pass between the convicts,” where talking was a severe breach of discipline. The benefits were numerous, the chaplain of the Albany County Penitentiary later wrote. “The unhappy inmates were not hardened in crime by intercourse with beings perhaps worse than themselves" as the prisoners were segregated from society and from the corrupting influences of each other. Limited contact also assured that “neither were they driven to despair or to madness, by the unmitigated horrors of perpetual solitude.” Added to these restrictions was religious training which demonstrated that “the lawless beings known before only as destructive, could by right management, be brought into the ranks of the self-supporting and even of the producing.”29 Pilsbury brought this system of prison discipline to Albany when he accepted the position of superintendent of the yet-to-be constructed penitentiary. He arrived in Albany on July 1, 1845, and immediately began directing the construction of the facility.30 The site purchased for the penitentiary was near the junction of Lydius Street and the Delaware Turnpike, an 11 acre plot of land a half mile west of the capitol building. Prisoners completed the bulk of the construction because it was policy “to erect the buildings, grade the land, and do every kind of work in and about the Penitentiary, as far as it was good economy to do so, by the labor of the convicts themselves,” the Inspectors of the penitentiary wrote in the First Annual Report. “By employing the convicts in and about the work, the County was receiving something for the services of those who were supported, and who would otherwise have been maintained in idleness, in the jail or almshouse.”31

Escorted by armed guards, the prisoners marched daily from the old jail to the construction site which required a considerable amount of leveling before the building of the facility could begin. Even at this early stage, cost control was important. The Inspectors concluded that the unevenness of the land had enabled the city to purchase it cheaply, and the prisoners' labor “improved the whole aspect of the ground,” doubling its value. The employment of prisoners to complete the penitentiary did result in considerable savings. Inspectors calculated that “it will require but a few years at most, to reimburse the county for its outlay for the Penitentiary land and buildings.”32

The design of the Albany County Penitentiary embodied the most current trends. The prison looked like a small efficient factory and “the stranger might pass, and repass this structure without a true suspicion of its real character being entertained for a moment,” wrote an enthusiastic booster.33 The dominant architectural feature and central structure was a three story building, 50 feet long and 75 deep, in the middle of the complex. Attached to it were two wings, each 100 feet long and 50 wide, that culminated in octagonal towers. Prisoners built the south wing first and by April 17, 1846, it was ready to house male prisoners in its 96 cells. The individual cells, about seven square feet of space, were furnished with an iron bed stead and a few other items.34

During 1846 and continuing through June 1847, prisoners worked to complete the facility. The north wing had 40 cells (and eight more in the tower) reserved for women prisoners and it became available in June 1847. This wing also housed the workshops where the women inmates performed menial tasks, gaining the perceived moral benefits of hard, disciplined work, and also contributing to the cost of their incarceration. The completed penitentiary held 154 cells. The three-story center building contained the residence of the Superintendent, his family, and other staff members. At the rear of the first story were the guard chamber and matron's room. The second level had separate hospitals for the male and female prisoners. Located in the third story was the chapel. Cooking was done in the basement.35

Care in the design was given to making the cell blocks more healthful than the old jail. The halls were “well ventilated, spacious, light and airy,” and the cell doors, made of round iron bars, “when closed admit nearly as much air and light as when open,” officials noted proudly. Ventilation, through the long, straight corridors and the cells doors, was an important health issue and often referred to in the descriptions of the penitentiary. In addition, heat ducts went to each floor and the workshops, thereby providing some degree of comfort in the winter. “The whole establishment is warmed by hot air furnaces, and furnished with a copious supply of good water; and hot and cold water are distributed wherever necessary,” wrote an observer.36 “A most healthful feature of this prison abounds in the large and convenient bath room situate in the north-western portion of the building where its inmates are allowed and most gladly embrace the privillege [sic] of a bath each week.” Each prisoner had a bucket in the cell that served as a toilet.37

A brick wall 14 feet high surrounded the prison yard, 105 feet at the front and 200 feet on the sides, thereby fully isolating the inmate from society. The castellated entry and formidable wall were painted and contained attractive architectural details, such as a rusticated course running the entire length of the wall just below the parapet. Also built into the wall were guard towers and a walkway. The penitentiary was an attractive structure, a prominent statement of civic authority and values. It also served as a warning to the unruly elements of the community.38

Construction of the penitentiary took three years with prisoners “employed in every branch of labor and mechanic art,” the Inspectors wrote with pride in their first annual report. The use of prisoner labor meant that costs would be low and this work kept productive “a class who would otherwise live in idleness at the public cost,” a matter of fundamental concern to Albany’s political and community leaders. The county's expenses for the construction of the penitentiary amounted to more than $38,000 and this was to be paid off in eight annual installments. By 1848, three payments had already been made without increasing the burden to county taxes. The savings made in the handling of convicted criminals were already sufficient to defray the payments “and it is believed that this effect will continue until the whole is paid.” The commissioners turned over the completed penitentiary and its 133 prisoners to city authorities on November 1, 1848.39

Shortly after opening, the penitentiary the county adopted a new set of regulations for its administration and operation. Superintendent Pilsbury held “the entire control and management of all its concerns” and resided at the facility. Pilsbury was also responsible for maintaining both the fiscal and personnel records of the penitentiary. Along with supervising discipline and maintaining the records of the prison businesses, he was to check each cell daily. In practice, the Superintendent patrolled the grounds regularly and he instructed the incoming prisoners on the regulations and expectations.40

Pilsbury's staff included a Deputy Keeper who served as his principal assistant, four assistants, two guards, a matron and her assistant, a part-time chaplain, and a physician.41 Tight security was maintained from the time the inmates arrived at the penitentiary and marched silently past armed guards to the Superintendent. Pilsbury ordered guards to remain “vigilant and active in the performance of all duties and services for the safety and security of the prisoners and Penitentiary.” Guards received explicit instructions that they were not to discuss any matter among themselves while in the presence of prisoners and they were “not to hold any conversation with a prisoner, except to direct him to his labor and duty.” A major task was to ensure that the prisoners did not communicate among themselves. Pilsbury directed guards to patrol the halls in socks while the inmates were in their cells in order “to detect any unnecessary noise,” any attempts to communicate with other prisoners.42

Religious services and training were central elements of the routine at the Albany County Penitentiary, integral to the objective of reforming the prisoners. According to an early directive, “such moral and religious instruction should be provided as would be a powerful auxiliary in producing amendment and reformation.” Prisoners attended services held each Sunday in the chapel. Already in April 1846, well before construction of the chapel was completed and a chaplain hired, Pilsbury invited a local clergyman to come on Sundays to conduct worship services. The chapel at the Penitentiary, dedicated in January 1848, was constructed so that both male and female inmates could be present for the same service but separated and unable to see one another.43

The weekly religious services were important. For the prisoner, they offered a rare opportunity to be together in close quarters with other inmates and to hear the voice of another human being. Early accounts of the Penitentiary asserted that most prisoners went to the services voluntarily and that they gained from the religious training.44 For the administrators of the penitentiary, the religious program held a central place in the rehabilitation of the inmate, largely by providing moral guidance. The most readily available, and often the only, reading material for the prisoners Bibles and hymnals. The chaplain visited prisoners in their cells, if so requested, and with the Superintendent organized a night school “which has proven successful even beyond their most sanguine expectations.” Pilsbury directed that chaplains were to aid the inmates “as he may deem best calculated to promote their reformation.” While attending to the individual prisoner, the chaplain adapted “ his instructions and reproofs directly to the individual cases and circumstances.” In addition, the chaplain was “to administer to all such advice, instruction, and consolation as he may deem best calculated to promote their reformation; and at all proper times he shall endeavor to impress upon their minds the justice of their punishment, and the necessity of a strict compliance, on their part, with the rules of the establishment.”45

The success of these efforts was widely applauded. In 1856 the editors of Prisoner’s Friend, a journal “devoted to criminal reform,” published a letter from a former inmate which they maintained “gives the most gratifying results of the principles of honesty, integrity, and sobriety inculcated in his mind while there, and furnishes that equivalent for which, and onlywhich, the philanthropist lagers for, – a lasting and effective reformation.”46 A decade later the chaplain echoed these sentiments, writing “it gives me pleasure to say that they have afforded gratifying evidence of reformation, and in some instances of devotion to Jesus.” He quoted from a number of letters received from former prisoners, all attesting to the reforming value of religion. As the number of prisoners grew, the chapel was enlarged and the new structure was dedicated on April 21, 1867, thereby attesting to the on-going importance placed on religious services.47

At the Albany County Penitentiary, the silent system of prison discipline was strictly enforced. Already upon arrival, inmates were instructed that they could not “speak to or hold any conversation with each other, or to leave their work without permission.” In addition, they were not allowed “to speak to or gaze at visitors,” and they were to be "constantly employed...diligently, in order and in silence.” The emphasis was on controlling and punishing the inmates through the restriction of normal contact with other individuals. Pilsbury directed that “they must conduct themselves with perfect order, and in strict compliance with the directions of their officers.” He emphasized that “Silence, order and regularity must reign,” the values of the commercial elite that governed Albany. Prisoners were expected to be “industrious, submissive, obedient, and labor diligently in silence.” One former prisoner wrote that even while serving in the army he had “never seen discipline so perfect.”48

Prisoner dress and the daily routine reinforced institutional control and the inmate’s submissiveness. Upon arrival prisoners gave up their clothing for “prison dress,” a jacket, vest, pants, and cap “made of coarse cloth,” plus woolen socks and shoes. Female inmates wore “a checked linsey frock and skirt, cotton check apron and neckerchief, shoes and stockings and the usual under clothes.”49 The daily regimen was strict. The day began at daylight when the ringing of a small bell signaled “the male prisoners to rise, dress, put up their bedstead, bed and bedding.” Officers took posts along the walls as guards unlocked the cell doors. Prisoners emerged and marched “lock-step to their respective shops, and other places of labor.” At the work shops they had an opportunity to wash before breakfast, but they had to start work immediately upon arrival.50 The daily routine revolved around work and discipline. Transgressions against the work regime were punished at the supervisor’s discretion with “the only punishment...inflicted in the prison–confinement in the ‘solitary cell’.” More extreme and severe punishments were in fact used. As the New York Daily Times reported in November 1854, a prisoner who had committed “some offence against the discipline of the Penitentiary” was taken from the workshop for “the purpose of ‘showering’ him. He was told to strip, and as usual was placed in a box where water was let in upon him.”51

According to the rules and regulations prepared by Amos Pilsbury in 1848, a second bell was rung at 7AM for breakfast. Prisoners stopped work, lined up, marched to the prison yard and the kitchen. As officers yelled out military commands they picked up plates, loaded food, and then marched back to their cells to eat. The prisoners were counted once more and when the number was found correct the guards had their meal. Prisoners received “from half to three quarters of an hour” for breakfast and then marched back to the work shops remained there until noontime. The same procedure was repeated for lunch. Women prisoners prepared the meals under the direction of the matron. The prisoners had an hour for dinner, beginning promptly at 6PM, and were counted before 7:30PM when “each prisoner will retire to his bed.”52

The labor performed by prisoners in the workshops at the penitentiary--canning chairs and making shoes and brooms--earned funds for the prison and that made the Albany County Penitentiary a “model prison of the world,” as least in the eyes of local authorities and boosters of this system of prison discipline. As stated forcefully in the initial call for a new penitentiary, the institution had to reduce public expenses and pay its own way. In addition, prisoner labor had another function, and the experience at Albany, as the Inspectors wrote in the Second Annual Report in 1849, quickly “taught in this state, the all important lesson, that county prisons, instead of remaining schools of idleness and vice, many under proper regulations, restrain the stridings of crime, and become, to a certain extent, self-paying institutions.”53 The focus was on making the prisoners pay for their incarceration and that the offenders did their time without imposing a financial burden on the city.

At the penitentiary all prisoners were expected to work and careful records of the numbers of those employed in which enterprise as well as the money made by these activities were prepared and presented in the annual reports, thereby illustrating the overriding importance of prisoner labor, detailed record keeping, and turning a profit. From the beginning, the greatest number inmates worked making shoes while a smaller number canned chairs and made baskets. About a dozen prisoners maintained the grounds, grading the land and engaged in other types of outdoor work. Shoe making remained the major activity and by 1876 inmates in the three workshops completed some 3,000 pairs each day. The largest market for the shoes was in the southern states where they were sold primarily to blacks. Already in the first year of operations the shoe making shops earned close to a thousand dollars and the figure rose annually.54

In their Second Annual Report, submitted on December 2, 1850, the Inspectors revealed that under Pilsbury's direction, the Penitentiary cost $10,261 to operate and prisoner labor earned $9,810. “Within a fraction, [the prison] has supported itself,” the Inspectors reported proudly. Within a year the Penitentiary recorded a profit in its operation. From the date of its opening until the end of the fiscal year 1877, the earnings over expenses amounted to a whopping $352,566.28. Revenue came not only from the labor of the prisoners. The Albany County Penitentiary housed prisoners from other counties throughout the state and charged fees for that service.55

Neighboring counties saw fiscal advantages in sending prisoners to Albany. “Boarding their prisoners at the Albany penitentiary incurred no additional cost above that of the home jail custody,” insisted Zebulon Brockway, Amos Pilsbury's deputy. “At the same time [the jail] avoided the evil of the discharge of itinerant and other prisoners into their own immediate community.” Brockway pointed out the alleged benefits for the prisoners who, he wrote, “instead of idleness, corrupting communications, and the degrading influence of jail confinement,” were sent to Albany. Here, they were held “under good hygienic conditions” and “corrupting communications among them were almost entirely prevented and their minds and bodily energies were healthfully engaged in useful industry.”56

The amount of money earned by the penitentiary for the incarceration of prisoners from other counties was significant even though the number of prisoners was not great. Of the approximately 500 prisoners received at the penitentiary in 1849, for example, only several dozen came from other counties. At the end of the year the prison held about 180 individuals, most imprisoned for short terms, and that figure was the daily average. The success of the penitentiary led to growth in number of prisoners, and during the early 1860s additional buildings, workshops and other facilities were constructed, all with the intention of earning a profit. Through the 1880s prisoners from other counties and as far away as Washington, D.C. were sent to Albany.57

The profitability of the Albany County Penitentiary demonstrated its success in meeting the original mandate from the board of supervisors. Additional attention came because of its concern for the rehabilitation of the prisoners, interest in their “moral improvement.” The annual reports from the Inspectors repeated this commitment to the moral reform of the prisoners. The gains made by the chaplain and the benefits of religious training, the Inspectors and penitentiary staff worried, were compromised, however, by the incarceration of prisoners for short terms, generally ten to ninety days. Prisoners could barely recover their health or sobriety during this time which was “entirely too short to effect any reformation in the culpri” and often amounted to a financial burden.58

Albany’s inspectors were aware of recent changes in prison management. Already in the Second Annual Report, submitted on December 2, 1850, the Inspectors wrote at length about the current trends in prison reform and “the modern theory of punishment which recognizes as its chief end, the repression of crime, and the reformation of the offender.” The inspectors demonstrated their knowledge of the work of John Howard, the poor conditions of English prisons and the lessons for America. They argued against long term imprisonment which “serve to shut out all hope from the breast of the convict,” for care in dealing with first time offenders and in favor of the creation of societies to aid released prisoners.59

That the Albany County Penitentiary pioneered such developments meant that its progress would be widely discussed and emulated. Local supporters boasted of its success and in 1848 insisted that “The Albany Penitentiary is destined to be the pioneer of a new system of criminal punishment.” At least two counties were constructing facilities patterned after Albany, and local jails and prisons of other counties were in desperate need of attention and improvement. “If it be a desideratum that the county prisons in the state of New York shall become self-supporting institutions, and at the same time reformatory in morals, there is no hazard in predicting that the example will be extensively followed,” he wrote. “The county of Albany had aided materially in hastening a great and important result in political economy.” The journal Prisoner’s Friend stated in 1856 that “We have always considered the penitentiary at Albany as a model institution.”60

The Albany County Penitentiary thrived over the next decades as both the inmate population and profits from their labor grew. By 1870 the value of the penitentiary, constructed originally at a cost of $60,000 was estimated to be $250,000. The penitentiary continued to post a hefty annual profit.61 In 1870 Amos Pilsbury resigned and his son Louis took over as superintendent and he operated it along the same lines. The glory days of the “model prison of the world” were soon to end, however. The fundamental element of the program at the Penitentiary, prisoner labor, was largely halted in the late 1800s because of challenges from organized labor and small businesses. New legislation restricted the employment of prisoners. Corruption and political influence also affected its operations. In June 1886, a judge explained that payments of “$25 [were offered] for every long-term prisoner so sentenced.” Political parties competed over the post of the superintendent because “the patronage of the penitentiary is considered a good plum,” commented the New York Times.62 In February 1901 the State Prison Commission recommended that the Albany County Penitentiary be closed. In 1919 Zebulon Brockway wrote that “the penitentiary have deteriorated until they are again substantially large common jails not very much better than was the original county lockup.”63

Over the following decades, the employment of prisoners at the Albany County Penitentiary continued to drop as opposition to prison labor mounted. In 1906 it was reported that “large numbers of prisoners have but little employment,” and prisoners sat idle in the workshops for three hours each morning and afternoon.64 In 1915, the State Commission of Prisons observed that the failure to provide employment at the Albany penitentiary was "one of its worst features." Prisoners, it found, were “compelled to sit in idleness in a room formerly used as a shop except when they are given exercise in the prison yard.” By then conditions had deteriorated to the point where the State Commission of Prisons wrote that county authorities ought to consider closing the penitentiary. The Commission identified the Albany prison as one of the few prisons in the state that “still compels prisoners to wear stripes. The practice, however, is in harmony with the general repressive character of the institution.”65

No improvements were made and the expense of maintaining the facility far exceeded the funds earned. By 1921 the deficit had grown to $49,460, and the annual report of the State Commission of Prisons recommended “that the penitentiary be abandoned....This matter has been agitated for more than ten years and prompt action on the part of the authorities is necessary.”66

According to the 1929 annual report, the decision was made that “as soon as the new county jail, which is to be erected outside of the city limits, is completed this institution will be abandoned.” The penitentiary was closed on September 9, 1931.67

Called by early advocates “the model prison of the world,” the Albany County Penitentiary demonstrated that the reform elements of the Auburn penal system could be adopted by local jails and that incarceration did not have to impose a fiscal burden on the community. The establishment of the penitentiary in Albany was due largely to the determination of the local
government, led by representatives of the new commercial elite, to reduce the fiscal burdens and to make prisoners pay for their incarceration. Local officials hired Amos Pilsbury who had already made a prison self-financing, and he was successful in Albany. Early on civic leaders voiced concern about the rights of prisoners and they adopted a program to aid in reforming them, a program based on religious training and discipline in the workshop. The combination of frugality and reform directed by Pilsbury incorporated the desires and ethics of the new urban elite and this led to the development of a local prison system that proved effective in achieving its objectives and instilling factory discipline on the prisoners. Central to the Albany system were strong doses of work, rigid discipline, and religious training which proved beneficial for the prisoners who were almost exclusively non-violent and minor offenders. Most contemporary accounts attested to the success of the program in instilling discipline in the prisoners and ensuring that they remained law-abiding after their release. The profits shown annually at Albany made its program attractive to other local institutions. Its experience showed that the ideals underlying the development of the penitentiary on the state level could be applied to urban communities and that the same principles, discipline, frugality, religion, guided prison operations there too. The mounting opposition to convict labor in the latter years of the nineteenth century led to renewed fiscal problems, however. By the time the Albany County Penitentiary was closed in 1931, this institution, once heralded by boosters as “the model prison of the world,” had long outlived its usefulness.

Dr. Robert G. Waite is a historian based in Shushan, New York. He earned a PhD in history from SUNY Binghamton and specializes in the history of law enforcement and crime. Currently, he is afffiliated with the Memorial Site for German Resistance in Berlin, Germany.


1. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary (Albany: J. Munsell, 1848), p. 5.
2. J.H. French, Gazetteer of the State of New York (Syracuse: R.P. Smith, Publisher, 1860), p.
41. N. K. Teeters, The Prison at Philadelphia, Cherry Hill: The Separate System of Prison Discipline, 1829-1913 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957), pp. 17-23, 93-105. Blake McKelvey, American Prisons: A History of Good Intentions (Montclair, New Jersey: Patterson Smith Publishing Company, 1977), pp. 11-25. W. David Lewis, From Newgate to Dannemora: The Rise of the Penitentiary in New York, 1796-1848 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1965), pp. 81ff. E. C. Wines and Theodore W. Dwight, Report on the Prisons and Reformatories of the United States and Canada (Albany: Van Benthuysen & Sons, 1867), pp. 50, 55. Michnael Ignatieff, “State, Civil Society, and Total Institutions: A Critique of Recent Social Histories of Punishment,” in Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, editors, Crime and Justice,
Volume 3 (1981), p. 161.
3. Frederick Howard Wines, Punishment and Reformation: A Study of the Penitentiary System (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1919), pp. 133-167. David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971), pp. 79-108.
4. Adam Jay Hirsch, The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishment in Early America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), pp. 112-117. Dario Melossi and Massimo Pavarini, The Prison and the Factory: Origins of the Penitentiary System (Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes & Noble Books, 1981), pp. 123-139. Robert G. Waite, “From Penitentiary to Reformatory: Alexander Maconochie, Walter Crofton, Zebulon Brockway, and the Road to Prison Reform-- New South Wales, Ireland, and Elmira, New York, 1840-70,” Criminal Justice History 12(1991), pp. 86-105. “Present State of the Prison Question in the United States,” Hours at Home. A Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation 8(April 1869), p. 539.
5. Philip Klein, Prison Methods in New York State (New York: Columbia University, 1920), pp. 221-223. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, 5. Biographical sketch of Amos Pilsbury, and A Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary (Albany: Joel Munsell Printer, 1849). "Pilsbury, Amos," Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Schribner's Sons, 1934), pp. 610-611. David Dyer, Impressions of Prison Life in Great Britain submitted to the Inspectors and Superintendent of the Albany Penitentiary (Albany, New York: J. Munsell, 1868). “Albany Penitentiary,” Prisoner’s Friend (May 1, 1851), p. 421.
6. Ignatieff, “State, Civil Society, and Total Institutions,” pp. 164-166. David Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary (Albany: Joel Munsell, 1867), p. 2. Dyer served as the chaplain at the penitentiary beginning in February 1856. The Model Prison of the World (Albany: J.Munsell, 1877). “Albany Penitentiary,” in Howell and Tenney, History of the County of Albany, N.Y., from 1609 to 1886 (New York: W.W. Munsell & Col, 1886), pp. 352-353. State of New York, Fourth Annual Report of the State Commission of Correction for the Year 1930 (Ossining: Sing Sing Prison, 1931), pp. 29, 134-136.
7. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 5.
8. Model Prison of the World, p. 3.
9. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 5.
10. On the miserable conditions in county prisons, see the report “Memoranda of Observations at Sundry County Gaols and State Penitentiaries of the West,” Pennsylvania Journal of Prison Discipline and Philanthropy 10(July 1855), pp. 137ff.
11. Model Prison of the World, p. 3. Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary, p. 7.
12. Quoted in Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary, pp. 7-8.
13. Model Prison of the World, p. 3.
14. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 8. The Model Prison of the World, p. 3.
15. Quoted in Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 9. Emphasis in original. “At a Meeting of the Common Council of the City of Albany...7th day of February AD 1844,” Albany County Hall of Records, Albany, New York.
16. Quoted in Dyer, History of Albany County Penitentiary, p. 10.
17. “Productive Industry in Prison,” Prisoner’s Friend (September 1, 1855), p. 18. The issue of prison labor and its competition with free-labor would long be an issue of contention. For an early critique of prison labor, see “Penitentiary Labor in Albany!!!,” Mechanic’s Advocate I(September 11, 1847), p. 317.
18. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 5. Nathaniel C. Moak, compiler, Statutes Relating to the Albany County Penitentiary, with Forms of Commitment, Record of Conviction, -25- Contract with Boards of Supervisors, etc., etc. (Albany, New York: J. Munsell, 1872), pp. 3-6. “An Act for the construction of a Penitentiary, and in relation to the relief of the Poor in the county of Albany,” Chap. 152, April 13, 1844, Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Sixty-Seventh Session of the Legislature (Albany: C. Van Benthuysen and Co., 1844), pp. 224-227.
19. “Act for the construction of a Penitentiary,” p. 224.
20. On the issue of public intoxication in Albany, see Frederick H. Wines and John Koren, The Liquor Problem in its Legislation Aspects, 2nd edition (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1898), pp. 400-402.
21. Dyer devotes a full chapter to the issue of “Severance From Politics” and quoted an early observer who stated that “No political consideration, no merely party question or motive is allowed the slightest weight in the appointments to office, or in the conduct of the Institution.” Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary, pp. 154-164.
22. Ibid., pp. 12-13. McKelvey, American Prisons, pp. 11-24. Wines and Dwight, Report on the Prisons and Reformatories of the United States and Canada, pp. 50, 55.
23. Quoted in Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 14-15.
24. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, for the Government and Discipline of the Albany County Penitentiary (Albany: Joel Munsell, Printer, 1849), p. 10. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary (Albany: Joel Munsell, Printer, 1850), p. 9.
25. Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary, p. 60. Sketch of the Life and Public Services of Amos Pilsbury, Superintendent of the Albany Penitentiary, and Late General Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police (Albany: Munsell & Rowland, 1860), pp. 9-10.
26. Biographical Sketch of Amos Pilsbury, p. 2. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 51. William C. Rogers, “Amos Pilsbury,” Prisoner’s Friend (February 1, 1854), p. 243.
27. Sketch of the Life of Amos Pilsbury, p. 6. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 50-51.
28. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 52-56. “Amos Pilsbury,” The American Literary Magazine 4(April 1849), p. 587. Rogers, “Amos Pilsbury,” p. 243. McKelvey, American Prisons, pp. 15-16.
29. Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary, pp. 56, 58. Sketch of the Life and Public Services of Amos Pilsbury, pp. 11-15.
30. Model Prison of the World, p. 4.-26-
31. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 6-8.
32. Ibid., pp. 7, 9.
33. Model Prison of the World, p. 9. Zebulon Brockway who served under Pilsbury and went on to be Superintendent at the Elmira Reformatory wrote that the site is "picturesque and suggests rather an institution for an educational or charitable purpose than a penitentiary;" Zebulon Brockway, Fifty Years of Prison Service: An Autobiography (New York: Charities Publication Committee, 1919), p. 45. See the summary of his career in “Z.R. Brockway, Reformer,” Boston Daily Globe (August 4, 1900).
34. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 3.
35. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 5. The Model Prison of the World, p. 5. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 6. Dyer, History of the Albany Penitentiary, pp. 21-22.
36. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 3-4.
37. Model Prison of the World, 6. Prisoners tended to disagree and found the conditions extremely hot in summer and very cold in winter; see the account by Seth Wilbur Payne, Behind the Bars: A Book (New York: Vincent & Co., 1873), pp. 4, 30, 35.
38. See the engraving of the penitentiary in Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 4. M. Heater Tomlinson, “‘Prison Palaces’: a Re-Appraisal of Early Victorian Prisons, 1835-77,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research LI(May 1978), p. 66.
39. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 6-8, 21. Most Model Prison in the World, p. 4. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 23.
40. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, for the Government of the Albany County Penitentiary (Albany: Joel Munsell, Printer, 1849), pp. 3-5. Payne, Behind the Bars, p. 13.
41. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 6.
42. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, pp. 12-15. Payne, Behind the Bars, pp. 13-14.
43. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 182, 186-187. "Chaplain's Report," First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 35-37. Wines, Report on the Prisons, pp. 184, 202, 209-212.
44. Model Prison of the World, pp. 7-8. "Chaplain's Report," First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 35-36. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, pp. 6-7. Rev. Theodore Noethen, Fifty-Three Sermons Preached in the Albany County Penitentiary, -27- From May, 1874, to April, 1878 (New York: Benziger Bros., 1879).
45. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, p. 7. "Chaplain's Report," First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 37.
46. “Letter From a Discharged Convict,” Prisoner’s Friend 8(February 1, 1856), p. 158.
47. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 194-198; and for accounts of reformed prisoners, pp. 199-223.
48. Emphasis in the original, Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, p. 6. Payne, Behind the Bars, p. 18.
49. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, pp. 5, 15.
50. Ibid., pp. 6-17. Brockway, Fifty Years of Prison Service, pp. 47-48.
51. “Our State Institutions-XI. The Albany Penitentiary,” New York Times (December 18, 1871). “The Male Serving-Maid,” New York Daily Times (November 8, 1854.)
52. Rules, Regulations and By-Laws, pp. 16-18.
53. See, for example, “Albany Penitentiary,” Prisoner’s Friend (February 1, 1856), p. 151. Second Annual Report, p. 6. Brockway, Fifty Years of Prison Service, p. 48.
54. Pilsbury's success in guiding the penitentiary industries through economic hard times led one observer to write that it was “the model prison of the world;” see, Model Prison of the World, pp. 16-17. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 19-21. Second Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 28, 30.
55. The dollar amount of the earnings is in Model Prison of the World, p. 28. A profit of $1,013.07 for the year ending October 31, 1851, was identified in the Third Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary (Albany: Joel Munsell, 1852), pp. 6-7, 10. “An Act to amend 'An act for the construction of a Penitentiary, in the county of Albany,' passed April 13, 1844,” Chap. 183, May 3, 1847, Laws of the State of New-York Passed at the First Meeting of the Seventieth Session, Volume 1 (Albany: Charles Van Benthuysen, 1847), pp. 170-172. This law allowed the supervisors of Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Greene, and Columbia counties to make such agreements. See also “An Act to authorize the confinement of persons convicted of certain offenses in the county of Duchess, in the penitentiary of the county of Albany, and to prescribe the punishment of certain offense,” Chap 261, April 15, 1854, Laws of the State of New-York Passed at the Seventy-Seventh Session of the Legislature (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co., Printers, 1854), pp. 576-577. The latter law covered those convicted as “vagrants” or “disorderly person.” -28-
56. Brockway, Fifty Years of Prison Service, pp. 48-49. “Albany Penitentiary,” in Bi-centennial History of Albany, p. 352.
57. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 21, 24-25. Second Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 29, 32. Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 118-133. The expansion was timely, and in September 1862 Albany received 131 prisoners from Washington, D.C.; see Dyer, History of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 110-111. Most prisoners had committed property offenses; see “Westchester County,” New York Times (December 24, 1872), and “Sending Up Counterfeiters,” New York Times (May 16, 1884).
58. First Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 10-11, 27. Second Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 8-9. Third Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 13-16.
59. Second Annual Report of the Inspectors of the Albany County Penitentiary, pp. 12-19, 35-38. The Inspectors sent the chaplain to England to visit prisons in 1867; see, David Dyer, Impressions of Prison Life in Great Britain submitted to the Inspectors and Superintendent of the Albany Penitentiary (Albany, New York: J. Munsell, 1868).
60. Brief Account of the Albany County Penitentiary, p. 6. In his memoirs, Zebulon Brockway identifies a number of prisons modeled upon Albany; Fifty Years of Prison Service, p. 49. See Model Prison of the World, pp. 11-12. E. C. Wines stated that the penitentiary in Albany, and those in Monroe and Erie counties which were based on the Albany Penitentiary, should “be justly pronounced model institutions.”; Wines, Report on the Prisons, p. 351, and Klein, Prison Methods in New York State, pp. 222-223. The State Penitentiary of Wisconsin was modeled on Albany; see “Memoranda of Observations at Sundry County Gaols and State Penitentiaries at the West,” The Pennsylvania Journal of Prison Discipline X(July 1855), p. 137. “Albany Penitentiary,” Prisoner’s Friend (February 1, 1856), p. 151.
61. “The Annual Report of Gen. Pilsbury” in “Legal News,” Albany Law Journal (December 31, 1870), p. 524. In 1870, the penitentiary reported $18,132.25 in earnings; see “The Albany Penitentiary,” New York Evangelist 42(January 12, 1871), p. 7.
62. “ Albany County Paying the Cost,” New York Times (November 1, 1880). “Judge Nott’s Amazing Charge. Brides Offered for Prisoners in the Albany Penitentiary,” New York Times (June 23, 1886). “Barnes and Anti-Barne. One Plum That Still Hanges High - Politicians Who Want to be Superintendent of the Penitentiary,” New York Times (June 24, 1895).
63. Model Prison of the World, pp. 9-10, 13, 16-17. “To Close County Prisons,” New York Times (February 6, 1901); “Criticizes Albany Prison,” New York Times (September 8, 1909); and “Albany Prisons Unfit. Commissioner Reports That Penitentiary in Particular Is Degrading,” New York Times (September 12, 1910). Brockway, Fifty Years of Prison Service, pp. 49-50. Second Annual Report of the State Commission of Prisons for the Year 1896, transmitted to the -29- Legislature, January 27 1897 (Albany and New York: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1897), pp.146-147. Seventh Annual Report of the State Commission of Prisons for the Year 1901, transmitted to the Legislature, January 17, 1902 (Albany and New York: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1902), p. 47.
64. See, for example, “Convict Labor in New York, New York Times (December 29, 1898). Eleventh Annual Report of the State Commission of Prisons for the Year 1906, transmitted to the Legislature March 5, 1906 (Albany and New York: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1902), p. 115.
65. Nineteenth Annual Report of the State Commission of Prisons For the Year 1913, Transmitted to the Legislature March 18, 1914 (Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, Printers, 1914), pp. 54-55. Twenty-First Annual Report of the State Commission of Prisons for the Year 1915,Transmitted to the Legislature March 31, 1916 (Ossining, N.Y.: Sing Sing Prison, 1916), pp. 39, 107-108.
66. Twenty-Eighth Annual Report of the State Commission of Prisons For the Year 1912 (Ossining, N.Y.: Sing Sing Prison, 1923), p. 184.
67. State of New York, Third Annual Report of the State Commission of Correction for the Year 1929 (Ossining: Sing Sing Prison, 1930), p. 116. State of New York, Sixth Annual Report of the State Commission of Correction for the Year 1932 (Ossining: Sing Sing Prison, 1933), p. 24.

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