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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Organization of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Monthly reports, 1914-1915, 1931-1932 (bulk 1931-1932),

Financial records, 1913-1929, 1931, 1943 (bulk 1926-1928),

Miscellanous records, 1921, 1925-1933, undated,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Prison Board:

An Inventory of Records of the Texas Prison System at the Texas State Archives, 1913-1933, 1943, undated



Overview

Creator: Texas Prison Board.
Title: Records of the Texas Prison System
Dates: 1913-1933, 1943, undated
Abstract: These records are monthly reports on the condition of the state prison system and the status of convicts in the prisons, financial materials, an inspection report on the prison system, proposed prison legislation, a prison committee report, an escape analysis, lists of employees in the prison system, various statistical compilations on the prison system, affidavits, and a clipping. Dates covered are 1913-1933, 1943, undated.
Quantity: 1.76 cubic ft.
Language English.

Agency History

"An Act to Establish a State Penitentiary" was passed in 1848 by the Second Legislature. The act established a governing body of the penitentiary as a three-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Governor, with the approval of the Senate. The Board was responsible for creating and distributing a set of rules and bylaws for the administration of the penitentiary, overseeing the treatment of convicts, preparing an annual inventory of property, and making an annual report to the Governor. Over the years, the name and composition of the Board changed. While its basic functions were not greatly altered, some duties were added. These included acquiring land for the Huntsville and Rusk facilities, purchasing machinery, effecting repairs, leasing the penitentiaries, leasing convicts for outside labor, purchasing and/or leasing farms for the employment of convicts, and providing for the transfer of convicts from county jails to the penitentiary. During the 19th century the direct management of the prison was through the inspector, later known as the superintendent. Other officers included assistant superintendents, inspectors of outside camps, the financial agent, and physicians. The superintendent and financial agent had the most direct dealings with the Board and the Governor in the management of the prison system.

The prison system began as a single institution, located in Huntsville, known as the Huntsville Penitentiary. Convicts were put to work in various shops and factories housed within the institution. In 1871, the legislature directed that the penitentiary be leased to private individuals (Chapter 21, 12th Legislature, 1st Called Session). These men, known as lessees, paid the state for the convict labor and use of facilities, and in turn, managed the system, including clothing and feeding the convicts and paying the guards. It was during this period that the outside camp system was firmly established as part of the prison system. In addition to the use of convicts in and around the prison, the convicts were hired out to large labor employers, mainly plantation owners and railroad companies. A second prison facility, Rusk Penitentiary, was built between 1877 and 1882. It began receiving convicts in January of 1883.

In 1881, the Legislature reorganized the prison system, abolishing the Board of Directors, and creating in its place a Penitentiary Board, consisting of the governor, the state treasurer, and the prison superintendent (Chapter 49, 17th Legislature, Regular Session). In April 1883, the administrative system was again reorganized, with the board comprised of the governor and two commissioners appointed by the governor (Chapter 114, 18th Legislature, Regular Session). In 1885, the board composition changed once more, now consisting of three commissioners appointed by the governor (House Bill 562, 19th Legislature, Regular Session). This board was succeeded by the Board of Prison Commissioners in 1910, which was composed of three commissioners appointed by the governor (Senate Bill 10, 31st Legislature, 4th Called Session). The legislation that created the new board also directed the prison system to begin operating again on state account, i.e., lessees no longer managed the prison system, effective in January 1911. Convicts, or inmates, were housed and worked in one of the two prisons or on one of several state prison farms. The shop industries slowed down while the prison farms expanded. This arrangement made it more difficult to provide education and other reform measures. Such measures were generally practiced at Huntsville, with some teaching extended to a couple of prison farms by the early 1900s.

The Texas Prison Board replaced the Board of Prison Commissioners as the governing body for the Texas Prison System in 1927, increasing in size to nine members (House Bill 59, 40th Legislature, Regular Session). The members of the board were appointed by the governor, with senate approval, to six year overlapping terms. The Board formulated the policies and the manager carried them out. During the Board's tenure, 1927-1957, the Board made changes in the system including more emphasis on prison reform, teaching, recreation--including the establishment of the Texas Prison Rodeo--and a new method of classifying inmates. The Texas Prison System became the Department of Corrections in 1957 (Senate Bill 42, 55th Legislature, Regular Session). This Department was governed by the Board of Corrections, composed of nine members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate to six year overlapping terms.

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Scope and Contents of the Records

These records of the Texas Prison Board include reports; accounts, operating expenses, receipts and disbursements, inventories, and other financial records; proposed prison legislation; an escape analysis; statistical compilations; affidavits; a clipping; and lists of prison employees. Dates covered are 1913-1933, 1943, undated. Specific types of reports present are monthly reports on the condition of the state prison system and the status of convicts in the prisons, an inspection report on the prison system, a report on building repairs and replacements, and a report by the Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor.

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Organization of the Records

These records are organized into three series:
Monthly reports, 1914-1915, 1931-1932 (bulk 1931-1932), 1.29 cubic ft.
Financial records, 1913-1929, 1931, 1943 (bulk 1926-1928), 0.37 cubic ft.
Miscellanous records, 1921, 1925-1933, undated, 0.1 cubic ft.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Restrictions on Use

None.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Board of Prison Commissioners.
Texas. Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor.
Subjects:
Prisons--Texas.
Escapes--Texas.
Prisoners--Texas.
Prisoners--Statistics.
Prison administration--Texas.
Prison industries--Texas.
Prisoners--Legal status, laws, etc.--Texas
Prisons--Texas--Maintenance and repairs.
Prisons--Texas--Officials and employees.
Document Types:
Reports--Prisons--Texas--1914-1915, 1928-1933.
Statistics--Prisons--Texas--1928.
Financial records--Prisons--Texas--1913-1929, 1931, 1943.
Functions:
Managing prisons.
Documenting Texas prisons.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Records Relating to the Penitentiary, 1846-1921, 76.4 linear ft.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Records, 1849-2001, 165.95 cubic ft.
Strays Collection, Comptroller's Office Strays (specifically folders titled: Correspondence, Texas Prison System), 1931-1932, fractional

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Records of the Texas Prison System, Texas Prison Board. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1998/257, 2002/027

There is no accession data for these records. The monthly reports were removed from Governors' records during processing and were assigned an accession number for control purposes on August 12, 1998. Other materials were removed from the Strays Collection and assigned an accession number for control purposes on October 1, 2001.

Processing Information

Laura K. Saegert, October 2001

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

Monthly reports, 1914-1915, 1931-1932 (bulk 1931-1932),
1.29 cubic ft.

These are monthly reports on the condition of the state prison system and the status of convicts in the prisons, submitted to the governor by the governing body of the Texas prison system, the Texas Board of Prison Commissioners, later the Texas Prison Board, for the years 1914-1915 and 1931-1932, bulk dating 1931-1932. All the reports give the number of convicts on hand and the number received from each county that month, and have separate lists for the following: convicts escaped, recaptured, returned for parole violations, delivered to sheriffs, discharged, paroled, pardoned, and died. Other lists or tables in the report include the number of convicts at each prison or prison camp; a hospital report, listing diagnoses at each prison/prison camp; and a table of provisions provided at each prison/prison camp. The reports for 1931-1932 also include lists of convicts returned for violation of furlough, convicts furloughed, convicts whose citizenship was restored; a report of the prison dental surgeon; and summary report on the status of convicts (escaped, pardoned, recaptured, etc.) for the month covered by the report, the previous month, and the same two months for the previous year.
Arrangement
The reports are arranged chronologically.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Monthly reports, Records of the Texas Prison System, Texas Prison Board. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession number: 1998/257
There is no accession data for these records. The reports were removed from Governors' records during processing and were assigned an accession number for control purposes on August 12, 1998.
Processed by
Laura K. Saegert, October 2001
Texas State Penitentiaries monthly reports
oversize
1998/257-1 May 1914
September 1914
October 1915
November 1915
Texas Prison System monthly reports
oversize
1998/257-1 January 1931
February 1931
March 1931
April 1931
oversize
1998/257-2 May 1931
June 1931
July 1931
August 1931
September 1931
October 1931
November 1931
December 1931
January 1932
February 1932
oversize
1998/257-3 March 1932
April 1932
May 1932
June 1932
July 1932
August 1932
September 1932
October 1932
November 1932
December 1932

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Financial records, 1913-1929, 1931, 1943 (bulk 1926-1928),
0.37 cubic ft.

Records in this series are various financial documents on the condition of the Texas Prison System. Types of records present include lists of receipts and disbursements, operating expenses, and accounts and expenditures; inventories of goods and property; loss and gain statements; cashier's monthly reports; and an audit of cash movement, dating 1913-1929, 1931, 1943, with the bulk dating 1926-1928.
Arrangement
These records are arranged by type of record, then chronologically.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Financial records, Records of the Texas Prison System, Texas Prison Board. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession number: 2002/027
There is no accession data for these records. These materials were removed from the Strays Collection and were assigned an accession number for control purposes on October 1, 2001.
Processed by
Laura K. Saegert, October 2001
box
2002/027 Receipts and disbursements, June 1927
Receipts and disbursements, July 1929
Audit for cash movement, September 1931
Cashier's monthly report:
September 1942
December 1942
January 1943
February 1943
March 1943
April 1943
May 1943
July 1943
Inventory, 1926-1927
Inventory and operating expenses, 1921-1926
Operating expenses, 1913-1914
Operating expenses and cash expenditures, 1927-1928
Prison system farms, loss and gain statement of operations, 1915-1927
Accounts and expenditures, 1926
Accounts and expenditures, 1927
Prison system trial balance, 1926

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Miscellanous records, 1921, 1925-1933, undated,
0.1 cubic ft.

Records in this series consist of an inspection report on the state prison system, a report on conditions at the prison, a report on building repairs and replacements, a report by the Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor, proposed prison legislation, an escape analysis, lists of employees in the prison system, various statistical compilations on the prison system, affidavits, and a clipping. Dates covered are 1921, 1925-1933, and undated.
Arrangement
These records are arranged by type of record.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Miscellaneous records, Records of the Texas Prison System, Texas Prison Board. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession number: 2002/027
There is no accession data for these records. These materials were removed from the Strays Collection and were assigned an accession number for control purposes on October 1, 2001.
Processed by
Laura K. Saegert, October 2001
box
2002/027 Inspection report on the state prison system, 1933
Texas Prison Board meeting, report of general manager on conditions of prison system, 1928
Report, building repairs and replacements, 1928
Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor, report, ca. 1931
Proposed legislation reorganizing the prison system, ca. 1931
Escape analysis, 1928
List of employees in the prison system, 1921
Prison system statistics - principal employees, distribution of convict forces, etc., 1928
Prison system statistics, ca. 1928
Ramsey Farm, acreage, ca. 1927
Affidavits, 1925
Clipping on public policy on pentientiary system, undated

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