Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on State Penitentiaries, Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary:
An Inventory of House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary Records at the Texas State Archives, 1876
In May 1876 the 15th Texas Legislature, Regular Session resolved to appoint a Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary of the Texas House Committee on State Penitentiaries to investigate matters at the state penitentiary. The legislature was concerned about reports of mistreatment of convicts and mismanagement of state property by the lessees of the state penitentiary, Ward, Dewey & Co. At this time, the everyday operations of the penitentiary were run by the private company under a lease contract with the State of Texas. The special subcommittee visited the penitentiary in Huntsville in June to investigate. In their report to the Speaker of the House on June 23, 1876, the subcommittee reported enough evidence of cruelty to convicts and fiscal mismanagement by Ward, Dewey & Co. that the lease was not renewed, and called for major changes in the operation of the state penitentiary.
(Sources include: the guide survey completed for this material.)
A Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary of the Texas House Committee on State Penitentiaries was appointed in May 1876 (15th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to investigate reports of mistreatment of convicts and mismanagement of state property by the lessees of the state penitentiary, Ward, Dewey & Co. Records consist of correspondence and summaries of the testimony of two witnesses, all dating 1876. The correspondence consists of four letters between the subcommittee and Ward, Dewey & Co. and a letter from a witness to the subcommittee. The correspondence with Ward, Dewey & Co. concerns the request of the lessees to cross-examine witnesses during the investigation and the subcommittee's refusal to allow the cross-examination of any convicts or state officials. The testimony of one of those state officials, a director of the penitentiary, was summarized and includes testimony on the living conditions and punishment of the convicts, the financial stability of the lessees, and the working relationship between the directors and the lessees.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
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(Identify the item), House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary records, Committee on State Penitentiaries, Texas Legislature. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1988/066
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by an unknown agency during the 20th century. An accession number was assigned on January 21, 1988.
Guide survey information compiled by Paul Beck, November 1987
Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project by Rebecca Romanchuk, March 2012
Detailed Description of the Records