New York State Archives
All visitors to the institution were required to sign in. The visitors' registers provide the name and city, state, or country of residence of each visitor -- Visitors included: members of the New York State Senate and Assembly; officials of juvenile homes, prisons, children's aid associations, and hospitals; police justices, probation officers, and grand jurors; members of the Board of Managers of the institution; teachers and students from schools, universities, and colleges; inspectors from the New York State Board of Charities; and members of the Massachusetts state legislature. Most visitors were from the New York City area, and many were from other parts of the state or adjoining states. However, also among the visitors were residents of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, ... Read More
New York State Archives
The Western House of Refuge was established as the first state reformatory of the nation by the State Legislature on May 8, 1846 (Laws of 1846, Ch. 143). The report of the Assembly committee preparing the legislation focused on the problem of incarcerated juveniles being thrown in with older criminals. In addition it argued that the state-financed but privately managed New York House of Refuge did not serve the western counties (1846, Assembly Document #93). The new institution was opened in August 1849; by the end of the year there were thirty-eight male inmates. The by-laws required the superintendent to keep records of incoming inmates' background, cause of commitment, indenture, and discharge, as well as a daily journal. Under its by-laws the institution was entrusted to fifteen managers appointed by the governor for a term of two years. The Board of Managers in turn appointed the officers, consisting of the superintendent, at least one assistant superintendent, teachers and ... Read More
New York State Archives
Pages 1 to 175 of the register record inmates first by their receiving date, then by nationalities, which range from Austria to West Indies -- Totals are given for the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1) to the current month; current month; the two totals combined; number of foreign and native inmates; and a grand total
New York State Archives
The Eastern New York Reformatory was established by a law of 1892 (Chapter 336). The reformatory was to be located in Ulster County and to provide for the custody, care, and reform of male convicts. The governor was to appoint three commissioners to choose a site for the reformatory
New York State Archives
The Matron of the Girls' Division kept this journal of daily entries, usually including information on the following: admission of inmates, providing the inmate's name and identification number and notes on her background and crime; indenture and discharge of inmates, providing the same information as an admission; visits of officials and other dignitaries; and absence of staff
New York State Archives
These are minutes of committee meetings and reports of committee visits to the Girls' Division -- Although the bylaws required the committee to meet monthly, there is often a gap of several months between recorded meetings. There are no records for the years 1832 to 1854. The minutes contain information about the following: names and addresses of committee members; record of attendance at meetings, including fines assessed for absence; and names of committee members who visited the House of Refuge. Committee reports usually discuss the following: conditions of facilities, clothing, and food; discipline and relations between matron and inmates; education and recitation of Biblical verses; and health of inmates and staff
New York State Archives
Testimony and supporting materials document four investigations into conditions at the institution -- In March 1902, the Board of Managers appointed a Select Committee to investigate the concerns of School Committee Chairman James J. Higginson regarding inmate violence. Records include: minutes of School committee meetings, January 18 and 22, concerning threats and attacks on teachers by inmates; letter to a member of the School Committee from the school principal outlining threats and attacks on teachers over the past year; Higginson's letters to the Board of Managers requesting an investigation of alleged mismanagement causing inmate violence; letter to the president of the Board of Managers from Superintendent O.V. Sage refuting Higginson's charges; letters, statements, and affidavits from employees regarding inmates' behavior; transcript of testimoney taken by the Select Committee from Higginson and institution officials and employees; and committee's report rejecting Higginson's ... Read More
New York State Archives
In 1871 the discharging committee suggested, and the board of managers approved, a ruling directing that a record of every inmate's conduct be kept in a "Badge Book." Under the badge system initiated in 1871, inmates earned a badge for 16 consecutive weeks of good behavior; inmates were eligible for parole when they had earned 4 badges and a good home was found for them. A grade of "1" was given for good behavior, "2" for worse behavior, and so on. The badge system was first described in the "Twenty-Third Annual Report of the Managers of the Western House of Refuge" (February 1872)
New York State Archives
This volume, kept for the auditing and accounting purposes of the institution, documents the receipts and disbursements of the Industrial Department -- Following the legislative prohibition of prison contract labor, the institution in 1888 effected a major reorganization and expansion of industrial and mechanical trades education. This volume records payments made by the Department and receipts generated by its industries
New York State Archives
These reports summarize inspections of the institution conducted in accordance with institution bylaws by the Board of Visitors (called the Board of Managers until 1927)