Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Legislature, Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System:

An Inventory of Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System Proceedings at the Texas State Archives, 1925



Overview

Creator: Texas. Legislature. Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System.
Title: Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System proceedings
Dates: 1925
Abstract: The Texas Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System was created in 1925 by Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 (39th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) and charged with investigating reports of graft and waste in the prison system finances and of brutal treatment of prisoners. Records of the committee consist of five volumes of transcripts of testimony, dating 1925.
Quantity: 0.75 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

The Texas Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System was created in 1925 by Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 (39th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) and charged with investigating reports of graft and waste in the prison system finances and of brutal treatment of prisoners. The committee first appointed a subcommittee to make a preliminary investigation, for which it heard testimony from three witnesses, including the chief accountant of the Texas State Prison System, in January 1925. This preliminary investigation focused on the purchase of the Blue Ridge Farm by the Prison System in 1921, accounting procedures used by the Prison System, and the pardons issued by Governor Pat M. Neff.

In February 1925, the joint committee conducted their investigation and heard from over forty witnesses. The committee heard testimony from convicts, guards, and prison officials on charges of brutality and mistreatment of prisoners. They also investigated the alleged misconduct of prison officials in the handling of prison finances. The committee's final report included recommendations for annual audits, centralization of management, full-time medical staff, and the immediate dismissal or resignation of prison system employees including that of the chairman of the Board of Prison Commissioners.

The committee's report was adopted by the legislature via House Concurrent Resolution 19 (39th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 1925). A motion was made and adopted for the Senate to meet as a Committee of the Whole to hear additional evidence into the demand for resignations made by the committee. The Senate met in March and heard more testimony from witnesses and prison officials including the chairman of Prison Commissioners. The Senate concluded that mismanagement did exist in prison affairs and recommended that the governor make a thorough investigation of the situation since it was the governor who had the power to appoint and remove Prison Commissioners.

(Sources include: the guide survey completed for this material.)


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Texas Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System was created in 1925 by Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 (39th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) and charged with investigating reports of graft and waste in the prison system finances and of brutal treatment of prisoners. Records of the committee consist of five volumes of transcripts of testimony, dating 1925. The first volume is from the preliminary investigation made in January by the subcommittee appointed for that purpose, which focused on the purchase of the Blue Ridge Farm by the Prison System in 1921, accounting procedures used by the Prison System, and the pardons issued by Governor Pat M. Neff. The next three volumes contain testimony heard by the joint committee in its hearings in February, investigating charges of brutality and mistreatment of prisoners, and alleged misconduct of prison officials in the handling of prison finances. The fifth volume contains the transcript of testimony from witnesses and prison officials, including the chairman of Prison Commissioners, heard by the entire Senate in March as a Committee of the Whole to consider recommendations for resignations made by the joint committee.

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.


 

Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged in chronological order by volume, as received from the creating agency.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Neff, Pat Morris, 1871-1952.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Board of Prison Commissioners.
Texas State Penitentiary.
Texas Prison System.
Texas. Legislature. Senate. Committee of the Whole.
Subjects:
Prisons--Texas.
Prisoners--Texas.
Convict labor-Texas.
Prisons--Texas--Officials and employees.
Places:
Texas--Governmental Investigations.
Document Types:
Testimony--Texas--Governmental investigations--1925.
Functions:
Administering governmental investigations.

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, undated, 87.85 cubic ft.
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Pardon books, 1898-1930, 6 volumes
Texas Governor Pat. M. Neff, Records, 1920-1925, 2.84 cubic ft.
Texas Governor O. B. Colquitt, Records, 1905-1915, bulk 1910-1915, 66.29 cubic ft. [Includes file for Board of Prison Commissioners, Penitentiary Investigatory Committee, 1913.]
Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on Penitentiaries, Special Subcommittee to Visit State Penitentiary, Records, 1876, fractional
Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee to Investigate the Retrieve Prison Farm, Report, 1935, fractional
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee of Investigation into the Prison Commission and Lease of Blue Ridge Farm, Proceedings and testimony, 1919, 0.3 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee on the Penitentiary, Records, 1863, 0.15 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee to Visit the State Penitentiary, Records, 1887, fractional
Texas Legislature, Joint Penitentiary Investigating Committee, Records, 1920-1921, bulk 1921, 0.75 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Senate Penitentiary Investigating Committee, Reports and proceedings, 1915, 0.4 cubic ft.
Texas Prison Centralization Commission, Enabling legislation and report, 1929, fractional
The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
The archives division is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Research appointments are recommended. A box content listing of the Neff Papers is available from The Texas Collection.
Pat Morris Neff Papers, 1890s-1950s, 351 5 in. document boxes, 5 flat newspaper boxes, and 56 scrapbooks.
Publications
Texas. Legislature. Senate. Journal of the Senate of the state of Texas, 39th Legislature, Regular Session. Austin: Standard Office, 1925.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System proceedings, Texas Legislature. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1988/069

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.

Processing Information

Guide survey information compiled by Paul Beck, December 1987

Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project by Rebecca Romanchuk, March 2012


Detailed Description of the Records

 

Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System proceedings, 1925,
0.75 cubic ft.

Box
1988/069-1 Subcommittee preliminary investigation, January 1925
Joint Committee investigation, February 1925
[3 volumes]
Box
1988/069-2 Senate Committee of the Whole, March 1925