Correction History resources found on-line across U.S.A. by New York Correction History Society webmaster.
Correction
History
US

A state-by-state national survey of correction history web pages.


*** *** *** Washington *** *** ***

Washington Department of Corrections' website has a history page about its McNeil Island facility. These excerpts are just a small sample:

(Above) Seatco Prison, Washington's first territorial prison . (Below) Guards at the Seatco territorial prison. Images based on those from the Neil Corcoran Collection found on the Thurston County web site. Click images to access their respective pages. Local historian Corcoran authored Bucoda, A Heritage of Sawdust and Leg Irons (1976). In it he wrote, "Although religious services were held as early as 1879 at the Seatco prison, organized religious services did not begin in Seatco until 1889."
"In 1841, McNeil Island was named after William Henry McNeill, captain of the Hudson Bay Company steamers 'Beaver,' 'Llama,' and 'Una.' . . .

"On January 22, 1867, Congress authorized the establishment of a territorial jail in the Washington Territory. On September 17, 1870, the Federal Government purchased 27.27 acres on McNeil Island for a federal prison, which officially opened in 1875. These 27 acres are the site of the main penitentiary complex today.

"The original McNeil Island cellhouse was built in 1873. In November 1874, the penitentiary was placed under the direction of the United States Marshal. Eight U.S. Marshals served in Washington Territory prior to Statehood, and it was during Charles Hopkins’ tenure that the McNeil Island Territorial prison opened on May 28, 1875. By the end of that year, the total prison population was nine.

"In 1889, Washington was admitted to the Union. The first warden at McNeil Island Penitentiary was Gilbert L. Palmer in 1893. The total custodial force consisted of seven guards. Today, the custodial force of McNeil Island is approximately 411 for both the main facility and North Complex. . . .

Historically, the penitentiary at Walla Walla has been the largest correctional institution in the state. Click to access facility information.
"In 1976, the federal Bureau of Prisons decided to begin shutting down the aging federal Penitentiary on McNeil Island. Washington’s need for additional prison space prompted state officials to explore the possibility of acquiring the prison to house state prisoners.

"In 1981, the state signed a lease with the federal government granting the state use of the penitentiary. Later that year the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) began moving inmates into the newly renamed McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC). Inmates were put to work fixing and improving the facility, which had not been maintained during the later years of federal operation. In 1984, the island was officially deeded to the state of Washington.

"In 1990, the Legislature appropriated $90 million to expand MICC, and by 1993, the Department of Corrections had built five new medium-security residential units, each housing 256 inmates, and a sixth segregation unit with 129 one-man cells. The original cellblock was demolished and replaced in 1994 with an inmate services building housing a hospital, educational center, recreation room, hobby shop, music room, and gymnasium.

For more, see the source on which the state correctional agency's website version was based: an essay on www.historylink.org, a free on-line encyclopedia of Washington State History.

A Seattle Times illustration helps HistoryLink.org, the "Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History," present a detailed account of King County's biggest jailbreak. It happened Oct. 22, 1961 when 7 of 8 inmates succeeded in lowering themselves from the 10th floor jail to 9th floor engineering offices, using a ropeof bed sheets. The eighth fell to his death. Click image to access.
The King County web site history page tells the story of how the county jail went from the basement of first "county building," aka courthouse, beginning in the late 1870s to the 10th floor of the County-City Building in Seattle. Here are some excerpts:

"In 1876, King County purchased a lot from Henry Yesler for the price of $3,500. On this site was to stand the first King County building on county owned property. The two-story wood, stone and brick structure occupied the corner of Third and Jefferson (the present site of City Hall Park) and cost $17,000 to build. It housed the jail in the basement and the auditor and the clerk on the upper floors. In 1881, the County's first courtroom was added to the property. . . . .

"With its new statehood in 1889, King County was finally legally able to build a courthouse. The county chose a site to construct the new courthouse on First Hill at 7th and Alder . . .

"The building was completed in 1890 at the cost of $200,000. . . . . This was the first time all county offices were centralized under one roof. . . .

"In May of 1927, the Seattle Fire Marshall condemned the old county courthouse -- which at that time was functioning as the county jail.

The current King County Jail, Seattle Division, above, became operational in 1986. Bed capacity 1697; correctional staff - 350+. Click image to access facility information among the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention pages of the King County web site..
"The county needed to act quickly in order to find a new place to house its prisoners.

"However, it wasn't until a year later -- after the prosecuting attorney declared an emergency at the jail because conditions were so dangerous -- that the county took measures to remedy the situation.

"The American Institute of Architects was called in to help decide the most cost-effective location for a new jail.

"The AIA's recommendation was to construct a new jail on the upper level of the new courthouse and add new office and courtroom space in the process. . . . .

"In 1929, Henry Bittman and his associate, J.L. McCauley, began the second phase of construction with the addition of six stories to be completed by 1931. . . "

*** *** ***

*** *** *** West Virginia *** *** ***

West Virginia Division of Corrections' site includes pages on the West Virginia Corrections Academy. One of those web pages presents the Academy's history. The excerpts below give some of that background:

"In 1982, then Commissioner of Corrections, W. Joseph McCoy, recognized the need for positive changes in the division’s organizational culture and line operations. One of the actions taken to effect these changes was the creation of the West Virginia Corrections Academy.

(Above) One of West Virginia Corrections Academy's homes in recent years: Maclin Hall, West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery.
(Below) Colonel Randy Perdue, the Director of Training for the West Virginia Division of Corrections. Click either image to access more on WV DOC's academy.
"In September 1982 the Academy began operations located in Randolph County near the Huttonsville Correctional Center.

"In August 1987 the Academy was moved to the campus of West Liberty State College located near the city of Wheeling in Ohio County.

"It was relocated in August 1996 to its location on the campus of West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery, Fayette County.

"In January 2007 it was relocated to Parchment Valley, Ripley, WV.

"The Academy is a separate unit within the Division of Corrections. The chief executive officer of the Academy is the Director of Training. The Director reports to the Deputy Commissioner for Community Operations.

"In addition to exercising responsibility and authority over all staff training, the Director of Training supervises Correctional Magistrates. Correctional Magistrates administer and operate the formal inmate disciplinary process in all adult facilities operated by the Division of Corrections... .

"In summary, the Academy becomes the trainee’s work site for four weeks and the trainee must act accordingly. Staff supervision is critical for success of the program. Trainees are guided through the program by a Class Advisor, and a staff duty officer provides supervision in the evening hours.

"The Academy operates and administers the Correctional Officer Apprenticeship Program. This program is approved by the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. The program consists of 4,000 hours of On-the-Job training in ten work processes and 400 hours of Related Studies.

"The program was initiated in November 1991. 140 officers completed the program in fiscal year 1999 and received certification as journeyman correctional officers by the U. S. Department of Labor. . . .

Above:The William G. Farmar Adminstration Building, the last remaining building from the original Hre Dairy Farm, has become an icon of Parchment Valley, also known as West Virginia Baptist Conference Center whose facilities are available to schools, civic organizations and government agencies as well as church-related groups. In January 2007 the West Virginia Corrections Academy program relocated to Parchment Valley. Click image to access more information about the conference center's facilities.
"Colonel Randy Perdue is the Director of Training for the West Virginia Division of Corrections. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1997.

"Since his retirement, he worked at Mount Olive Correctional Complex and later transferred to the Division of Highways as a Personnel Director. Randy returned to the Division of Corrections in July of 1998 as the Training Director. . . .

"Randy is a Regional Field Coordinator for the National Institution of Corrections Northeast Region where he organizes training events for the Northeastern United States and frequently conducts leadership training for NIC nationally. ..."

For more, visit the West Virginia Department of Corrections' web site Corrections Academy page

A section of an image of West Virginia State Penitentiary cell tiers from the WV Pen Tours web site maintained by the Moundsville Economic Development Council. Click image to access its home page.
Wonderful West Virginia, a monthly magazine published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, featured in its August 2000 issue a story entitled "History Grand and Grim: A Tour of the Former West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville" by Sheila McEntee with photographs by Stephen J. Shaluta Jr. Here are some excerpts:

"The West Virginia Penitentiary was built with convict labor from 1867-1876 at a cost of $363,061. Modeled after the Northern Illinois Penitentiary at Joliet, the prison's Gothic architecture reflects the predominant prison architectural style in England and America at the time.

"The Board of Directors of West Virginia's new penitentiary also adopted the Joliet facility's prisoner reform philosophy. Based upon the Auburn, New York or "silent" system, prisoners were allowed to work and dine together under a rule of silence. The Auburn system allowed institutions to make money because inmates could work together in shops.

"Many also considered this system a more humane method of reform than the Pennsylvania or "solitary" system, which was also popular at the time. Under that system, prisoners lived, worked, and slept confined to their cells, except for one hour each day when they exercised alone.

"Nearly 120 years later, in 1982, Judge Arthur Recht ruled that the Moundsville facility was in violation of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. He also ruled that the prison violated an inmate's right to rehabilitation.

Above: An image based on one of the photos by Stephen J. Shaluta Jr. that illustrated an article entitled "History Grand and Grim: A Tour of the Former West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville" by Sheila McEntee in the August 2000 issue of Wonderful West Virginia, (logo below), a monthly magazine published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Click either image to access it.
"In 1986, after the worst riot in the prison's history, the West Virginia Supreme Court ordered the penitentiary to be closed. This process took until 1995, when the state's oldest and largest prison finally shut its doors..

"The following year, in an effort to preserve this historic landmark and to stem the town's economic loss due to its closing, the Moundsville Economic Development Council opened the prison to the public, offering guided tours. Since that time, visitors have flocked by the thousands to the facility, which is now included on the National Register of Historic Places. . . .

"For more information about the former West Virginia Penitentiary, including a fascinating history by Michael E. Workman, Ph.D. of West Virginia University's Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archeology, visit the penitentiary Web site at www.wvpentours.com . . . ."

*** *** ***

*** *** *** Wyoming *** *** ***

Wyoming Department of Corrections' site includes a page on the agency's history. The excerpts below provide some of that background:

"When the Wyoming Department of Corrections was created in 1991 it

(Above) One of West Virginia Corrections Academy's homes in recent years: Maclin Hall, West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery.
(Below) Colonel Randy Perdue, the Director of Training for the West Virginia Division of Corrections. Click either image to access more on WV DOC's academy.

  • "assumed management of four institutions that had previously been under the administration of the Board of Charities and Reform;

  • "absorbed the adult offender programs in the Department of Probation and Parole and

  • "continued to provide support for the Board of Parole.

"(From the Wyoming Blue Book, 50th Legislature, Centennial Edition, 1990, p.541):

“In 1875, the 4th Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wyoming established the Wyoming Penitentiary Commission. Chapter 111, The Compiled Laws of Wyoming, 1876, charged the governor and three commissioners, appointed by the legislative assembly, to ‘examine into the condition and affairs of the territorial penitentiary’ at Laramie.

“The commission was also delegated the task . . . to determine comparative costs for transporting prisoners to Laramie and maintaining them there, or transporting prisoners out of the territory to other territorial or state prisons and paying the out-of-territory prisons to keep the Wyoming prisoners. . . .

(Above) One of West Virginia Corrections Academy's homes in recent years: Maclin Hall, West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery.
(Below) Colonel Randy Perdue, the Director of Training for the West Virginia Division of Corrections. Click either image to access more on WV DOC's academy.
“Chapter 76, Session Laws of the Territory of Wyoming, 1882, reenacted the 1875 legislation, creating the Board of Penitentiary Commissioners. The law removed the governor from the board, but required him to appoint its three members. . . . the board was obligated by Chapter 76 to ‘keep a full and complete record of the prisoners sentenced and confined’ in prisons designated by the board for Wyoming convicts.

“The Wyoming Board of Penitentiary Commissioners was abolished in 1891. Chapter 37, Session Laws of Wyoming, 1890-1891, gave the Wyoming State Board of Charities and Reform authority over all penal institutions in the new state of Wyoming.”

"The Wyoming State Constitution, Article 7, Section 18, and related statutes, established the Wyoming State Penitentiary and defined its functions. Article 7, Section 18 states that,

“Such charitable, reformatory and penal institutions as the claims of humanity and the public good may require, shall be established and supported by the state in such manner as the legislature may prescribe. They shall be supervised as prescribed by law.”

"On July 10, 1890 the Board of Charities and Reform was established by the Wyoming State Constitution, Article 7, Section 18. Chapter 37, Session Laws of Wyoming, 1890-1891, enacted by the First State Legislature, set forth the duties and powers.

"The act determined that the state auditor, the state treasurer, and the state superintendent of public instruction would comprise the Board of Charities and Reform. In 1895, with the passage of chapter 34, Session Laws of Wyoming, the governor and the secretary of state were assigned membership on the board. . . .

(Above) One of West Virginia Corrections Academy's homes in recent years: Maclin Hall, West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery.
(Below) Colonel Randy Perdue, the Director of Training for the West Virginia Division of Corrections. Click either image to access more on WV DOC's academy.
"In November 1990, Wyoming voters approved a constitutional amendment abolishing the State Board of Charities and Reform. Upon dissolution of the board, the following twelve institutions were still under its control and were moved or eliminated as indicated. The board was comprised of the five elected officials (governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, superintendent of public instruction).

"Moved to the Department of Health:

  • "Veterans’ Home of Wyoming, (previously Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Home), Buffalo
  • "Wyoming Pioneer Home, Thermopolis
  • "Wyoming Retirement Center (previously the Sanitarium), Basin
  • "Wyoming State Hospital, Evanston
  • "Wyoming State Training School, Lander

"Moved to the Department of Family Services:

  • "Wyoming Boys’ School (Industrial Institute), Worland
  • "Wyoming Girls’ School, Sheridan
  • "Youth Treatment Center (previously the Childrens’ Home), Casper (Closed July 1, 1996 due to lack of appropriation by Legislature)

"Moved to the Department of Corrections:

  • "Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp, Newscastle
  • "Wyoming Honor Farm, Riverton
  • "Wyoming State Penitentiary, Rawlins
  • "Wyoming Women’s Center, Lusk

    ". . . . The state Department of Probation and Parole was organized in 1941 with one officer. In that year there were a total of 121 cases filed statewide. Up until it came under the umbrella of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Probation and Parole worked with both adults and juveniles.

    For more, visit the West Virginia Department of Corrections' web site Corrections Academy page

    A section of an image of West Virginia State Penitentiary cell tiers from the WV Pen Tours web site maintained by the Moundsville Economic Development Council. Click image to access its home page.
    Wonderful West Virginia, a monthly magazine published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, featured in its August 2000 issue a story entitled "History Grand and Grim: A Tour of the Former West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville" by Sheila McEntee with photographs by Stephen J. Shaluta Jr. Here are some excerpts:

    "The West Virginia Penitentiary was built with convict labor from 1867-1876 at a cost of $363,061. Modeled after the Northern Illinois Penitentiary at Joliet, the prison's Gothic architecture reflects the predominant prison architectural style in England and America at the time.

    "The Board of Directors of West Virginia's new penitentiary also adopted the Joliet facility's prisoner reform philosophy. Based upon the Auburn, New York or "silent" system, prisoners were allowed to work and dine together under a rule of silence. The Auburn system allowed institutions to make money because inmates could work together in shops.

    "Many also considered this system a more humane method of reform than the Pennsylvania or "solitary" system, which was also popular at the time. Under that system, prisoners lived, worked, and slept confined to their cells, except for one hour each day when they exercised alone.

    "Nearly 120 years later, in 1982, Judge Arthur Recht ruled that the Moundsville facility was in violation of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. He also ruled that the prison violated an inmate's right to rehabilitation.

    Above: An image based on one of the photos by Stephen J. Shaluta Jr. that illustrated an article entitled "History Grand and Grim: A Tour of the Former West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville" by Sheila McEntee in the August 2000 issue of Wonderful West Virginia, (logo below), a monthly magazine published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Click either image to access it.
    "In 1986, after the worst riot in the prison's history, the West Virginia Supreme Court ordered the penitentiary to be closed. This process took until 1995, when the state's oldest and largest prison finally shut its doors..

    "The following year, in an effort to preserve this historic landmark and to stem the town's economic loss due to its closing, the Moundsville Economic Development Council opened the prison to the public, offering guided tours. Since that time, visitors have flocked by the thousands to the facility, which is now included on the National Register of Historic Places. . . .

    "For more information about the former West Virginia Penitentiary, including a fascinating history by Michael E. Workman, Ph.D. of West Virginia University's Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archeology, visit the penitentiary Web site at www.wvpentours.com . . . ."

  • A
    C
    DFG
    HI
    KL
    M
    N
    O
    PRS
    TUV
    W

    Return to CorrectionHistory.US home page
    Promoting awareness of -- and access to -- Correction History resources on-line across the U.S.A.
    E-mail webmaster Thomas C. McCarthy at webmaster@correctionhistory.us
    The above excerpted texts and images from -- and links to -- Correction History resources were found on-line in a state-by-state web survey across the U.S. A. by the New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) webmaster. The selections are representative, not exhaustive, of the many excellent resources available on on-line.

    While undertaken as an independent research project, the survey and this site are in keeping with NYCHS general goals promoting interest in and access to the histories of correction agencies, both governmental and non-governmental. The NYCHS name & logo are provided for identification purposes.