A HISTORY OF INMATE REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION IN THE
FLORIDA STATE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM: 1868-1980
LEONARD H. ROBERTS
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Leonard H. Roberts
This dissertation is dedicated to my mother,
Mrs. Katie B. Roberts, for her confidence, patience,
Education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.
The mood and temper of the public with regard to the treatment
of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of
the civilization of any country.
Sir Winston Churchill
I am indebted to many people for the successful completion of
this work. Particular thanks are due to Gloria Ward, Teacher Education
Administrator for the Florida Department of Corrections. Her knowledge
and advice greatly aided in the writing and research of the manuscript.
Elizabeth Alexander and Dr. Steve Kerber of the P. K. Yonge Library of
Florida History of the University of Florida graciously made available
to me essential books and documents relating to Florida history. Patricia
Terry magically transformed my scratches and scribbles into beautiful
finished copy. Members of my doctoral committee, Doctors Arthur Newman,
Lyle McAlister, William Woodruff and James Wattenbarger, have exhibited
a remarkable level of patience and understanding while I toiled away
month after month on the dissertation manuscript. I am especially indebted
to the chairman of my doctoral committee, Dr. Rodman Webb. Dr. Webb
not only offered wise advice and guidance but gave me great amounts of
his time in doing so. But most of all Dr. Webb instilled me with a
feeling of self-confidence, spurring on my efforts to complete the dis-
sertation. To him and all the others, my eternal gratitude. I would also
like to express appreciation for the encouragement and support of Ella
Francis, Noah Lindsay and Alice Thomas, librarians at the Learning Resource
Center of Lake City Community College.
On June 23, 1981, Florida's Governor Bob Graham signed into law
a bill for reorganizing the state's prison industries.1 The new legisla-
tion authorized the transfer of the prison industries from the Department
of Corrections to a newly created non-profit corporation named "Prison
Enterprises, Education and Rehabilitation, Incorporated (PEER). The
purpose of the new corporation is to lease prison facilities and prison
labor to private enterprise. According to PEER's articles of incorporation
it was created to:
facilitate rehabilitation (of the state's convicted offenders)
by providing a system of job training and placement for partici-
pating inmates to serve in relevant and meaningful jobs upon
release, reducing the chances of recurring contact with the cor-
rection system. . To develop, establish and maintain a system
of educational, vocational, industrial and rehabilitative programs
in conjunction with free world enterprises to provide employment
for inmates; these programs are to be operated and designed as
profit-making, free enterprise ventures employing inmates and which
will not result in any undue competition with private enterprise.2
The relationship between inmate education and prison industries can
be traced as far back as the sixteenth century when European prison labor
was first harnessed to industrial enterprises. Since then education has
served as the major vehicle for improving the academic and vocational
skills of inmates, and inculcating in them proper work habits such as
punctuality, industriousness and sobriety. However, over the past four
centuries many prison systems, with increasing revenues derived from newly
skilled convict productivity, shifted from a concern for rehabilitating
inmates to one of maximizing profits by exploiting convict labor. This
happened in Florida under the convict lease system. Prior to the intro-
duction of the convict lease system in 1878, the Warden of the State
Prison at Chattahoochee, established classes in adult basic education.
When Reconstruction ended, the state's prisoners were leased out to
private contractors for hard labor in the mines, plantations and forests
of Florida. Prisoner reformation was tossed aside as the contractors
drove the forced laborers to the limits of their endurance.
According to Gordon Carper, in his study of the convict lease
system, Florida replaced convict reformation because of:
the need for a new forced labor system to replace slavery, the
apathy and ignorance of the public, but perhaps most important,
the unwillingness to spend hard earned dollars on criminal
reformation combined to encourage the Bourbon Democrats .
(to) turn (to) the convict lease system. At a time when many
northern states were treating their penal problem as a "public
interest," Florida began treating her prisoners as a "public
charity." In the former consideration the motive demanded the
best reformatory results, but in the latter, the motive demanded
the least amount of net expense.3
Historically, the exploitation of prison labor has been supported
and justified by rhetoric issuing from prison authorities and politicians
aimed at misleading the public as to the true state of prisoner reformation.
In 1883, Florida Governor William Bloxham (1881-1885; 1897-1901), a former
slave owner and Bourbon Democrat, in his Annual Message to the State Legis-
lature noted that "from being a large expense to the state under the
former (state prison) system the convicts have become a source of revenue,
while their improved condition shows they have been properly cared for."4
In contrast, another governor of the period, Henry L. Mitchell (1893-1897),
a former Confederate Army officer, reported that the convict laborers "being
in the (phosphate) mines with no one to look after their interests they are
truly in a most deplorable condition."5
In approximately the past two decades, under the leadership of
the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, Louie L. Wainwright,
the state has made giant strides in inmate rehabilitation through edu-
cation, as this work will show. Nevertheless, those concerned with
offender rehabilitation must continually monitor prison systems in order
to ensure that progress in inmate rehabilitation will continue. As in
the past, there are political and economic interests who claim to support
rehabilitation but who really seek to turn the prisons into barbed wire
enclosed plantations or industrial plants profitable to everyone but the
convicts. Looking back over almost a half-century, Florida Agriculture
Commissioner and head of the Florida State Prison, William A. McRae, in
what has the state done for the convict? Nothing. But
we have taken the money from his labor and used some for
every known purpose except one--the betterment of his un-
Inmate rehabilitation through education must first and foremost
serve the needs of the imprisoned offender. To that end this dissertation
1Statutes of Florida, CH. 81-125, pp. 1-3.
2"Prison Enterprises, Education and Rehabilitation," Articles of
Incorporation (Tallahassee, Florida, 1981).
3N. Gordon Carper, The Convict Lease System in Florida, 1866-1923,
Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 1964, p. 43.
4Governor's Message, 1883, p. 36.
5Governor's Message, 1895, p. 7.
6Department of Agriculture, Twelfth Biennial Report: 1911-1912
(Tallahassee, Florida,.1913),.p. 10.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . v
PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . vi
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi:ii
I EUROPEAN PENOLOGY AND THE EMERGENCE OF INMATE
REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION . . . . . . 1
The Church Prisons of Europe . . . . . . . 1
The Royal Prisons . . . . . . . . . 2
Sundry Prisons and Jails for Common Criminals . . . 3
Bridewell: The First Experiment in Inmate
Rehabilitation Through Education . . . . . 4
Bridewell's Training Program . . . . . . 5
The Dutch Houses of Correction . . . . . . 6
The Enlightenment and Penal Reform: Beccaria . . . 7
Jeremy Bentham and the Panopticon . . . . . . 9
Jacques Vilain and the Maison de Force . . . . 9
John Howard: English Prison Reformer . . . . . 10
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
II AMERICAN PENOLOGY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INMATE REHABILI-
TATION THROUGH EDUCATION IN THE EIGHTEENTH AND
NINETEENTH CENTURIES . . . . . . . . 15
America Establishes its First Prison Systems . . . 15
The Walnut Street Jail: America's First State Prison . 16
The Pennsylvania System . . . . . . . . 17
The Auburn System . . . . . . . . . . 19
The Auburn System of Prison Industrialization . . . 20
Organized Labor and the Prison Industries . . . . 21
Nineteenth-Century Origins and Development of Inmate
Rehabilitation Through Education . . . . . 22
Elmira Reformatory . . . . . . . . .. 24
The American Prison Association and Inmate
Rehabilitation Through Education . . . . . 25
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)
III THE FIRST FLORIDA STATE PRISON AND THE CONVICT LEASE
SYSTEM: A FAILED ATTEMPT AT INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION (1868-1919) . . . . . . . .. 32
Florida Establishes its First State Prison . . . . 32
Florida State Prison's First Warden . . . . . . 33
Warden Martin Attempts to Create a Self-Supporting
State Prison . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Inmate Rehabilitation Through Education in
Florida's First State Prison . . . . . . . 36
The Closing of Florida's First State Prison . . . . 37
The Florida Convict Lease System . . . . . . . 38
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
IV THE SECOND FLORIDA STATE PRISON: INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION TAKES ROOT (1913-1945) . . . . . 45
Florida in the Early Twentieth Century . . . . . 45
Bradford Farms: The New State Prison at Raiford . . . 46
The Chapman Era at Raiford: 1932-1956 . . . . . 49
Chapman Establishes a School at Raiford . . . . . 50
Raiford Education Expands . . . . . . . . . 50
The Davis Report . . . . . . . . . . 52
The War Years . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Belle Glade Prison Farm is Established . . . . . 54
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
V THE POST-WAR ERA AND THE CRISIS OF FLORIDA CORRECTIONS:
THE EXPANSION OF INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION, 1945-1962 . . . . . . . . 58
Florida in the Post-War Era . . . . . . . . 58
Problems in the Florida Prison System Become Public . . 58
The Bennett Report and Florida Prison Reform . . . . 60
Crisis in the Florida Penal System . . . . . . 61
Nathan Mayo and Florida Corrections . . . . . . 62
The Florida Corrections Code of 1957 . . . . . . 64
Progress of Inmate Rehabilitation Through
Education: 1957-1962 . . . . . . . . . 65
Financing of Inmate Education Increases . . . . . 66
Richard 0. Culver Appointed Director of
Florida Corrections . . . . . . . . . 67
The Culver-Johns Feud . . . . . . . . . . 68
The Cochran Interlude . . . . . . . . . . 70
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)
VI THE WAINWRIGHT ERA IN FLORIDA CORRECTIONS: INMATE
REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION COMES OF AGE, 196:
Florida's Economy Expands and Diversifies . . .
Florida's Population Growth and Urbanization . . .
Crime Growth in Florida . . . . . . . .
Florida's Illegal Drug Problem . . . . . .
The Wainwright Era: Problems and Progress in
Florida Corrections, 1962-1980 . . . . .
The Endwright Task Force Program for Improving
Florida Inmate Education . . . . . . .
Objectives of Florida Inmate Education . . . .
Growth of Florida Inmate Education: 1962-1980 . .
Legislative Support of Inmate Rehabilitation
Through Education . . . . . . . . .
Summary . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . .
VII INMATE REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION IN
FLORIDA CORRECTIONS: 1980 . . . . . . . . .
Administration and Organization of Florida Corrections . .
Inmate Education in Florida Corrections: The Health
and Education Program Office . . . . . . . .
The Bureau of Education Services . . . . . . . .
A Profile of Inmates in the Florida State
Correctional System . . . . . . . . . .
Adult Basic Education . . . . . . . . . .
The General Educational Development Program . . . . .
Vocational Education . . . . . . . . . . .
Special Vocational Education Projects . . . . . .
Vocational Education: Individualized Manpower
Training System (IMTS) . . . . . . . . .
Inmate Education and Florida's Community Colleges . . .
Accreditation of Florida Corrections . . . . . . .
Library Services in Florida's Correctional Institutions .
Women Inmates and the Florida Correctional System . . .
Prison Industries in Florida's Correctional System . . .
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
APPENDIX A: FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS REGIONAL MAP . .
APPENDIX B: ORGANIZATIONAL CHART OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT
OF CORRECTIONS . . . . . . . . . .
APPENDIX C: SURVEY OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
MAJOR CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: 1980 . . . .
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . . .
80 . 75
. . 75
. . 76
. . 76
. . 77
. . 77
. . 80
. . 81
. . 83
. . 84
* . 85
. . 86
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the
University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
A HISTORY OF INMATE REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION IN THE
FLORIDA STATE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM: 1868-1980
Leonard H. Roberts
Chairman: Rodman B. Webb
Major Department: Foundations of Education
The purpose of this study is to investigate the social, political
and economic forces affecting the development of inmate rehabilitation
through education in the Florida correctional system. The work traces the
historical roots of inmate education from the sixteenth-century Houses of
Correction, whose appearance coincided with the emergence of a new world-
wide mercantilist economy requiring a skilled labor pool imbued with proper
work habits. In Houses of Correction "idle harlots," dispossessed farmers,
and discharged soldiers, found guilty of beggary, trespass and similar
offenses; served out sentences of enforced discipline and vocational
Early nineteenth-century America witnessed the emergence of Auburn-
style prisons. These prisons were largely industrial complexes behind
walls, operated by a captive labor force of convicted felons. As prison
industries and operations became more diverse and sophisticated, education
programs were instituted for training the prisoners in economically useful
academic and vocational skills.
Following the Civil War, Florida's ruling Republicans, largely from
the industrial North, attempted to establish an Auburn-style industrial
state prison in a preindustrial society and failed. With the end of Re-
construction, Bourbon Democrats, in 1878, closed the prison and leased
the convicts to private contractors for work on plantations and railroads,
and in the forestry and phosphate mining industries of the state.
It was only when Florida began to enter the economic mainstream of
American society that a new Auburn-style prison was opened at Raiford,
Florida, in 1914. In 1925, the Florida Legislature authorized the estab-
lishment of industrial plants in the state's prison system. By 1932,
academic and vocational education for inmates was initiated. In 1957, new
legislation upgraded the Florida prison system and authorized the use of
education as a major method for rehabilitating convicted offenders. Since
1962, Louie L. Wainwright, chief of Florida corrections, has encouraged both
the growth of the state's prison industries and inmate rehabilitation
Thus the relationship between inmate education, prison industries,
and the economy at large, first recognized in Europe over four hundred years
ago, is still evident in today's Florida Department of Corrections.
EUROPEAN PENOLOGY AND THE EMERGENCE OF INMATE
REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION
The Church Prisons of Europe
By the sixteenth century, European and English prison systems
were part of a larger system of jurisprudence dominated by the ruling
classes of church and state. Such prisons primarily served to protect
those in power from what they perceived as threats to their security or
The first major European system of incarceration was established
by Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303). In order to maintain ecclesiastical
jurisdiction over clerics found guilty of committing crimes by the civil
courts, the Pope ordered that such offenders should be imprisoned in
special cells in bishops' palaces and monasteries.1
Whereas church prisons were specifically intended for clerical
punishment, the Holy Inquisition was organized by the church to ferret out
and punish heretics among the general population. The Inquisition was
firmly established during the reign of Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241),
spreading to various European countries in the following centuries. The
Inquisition was most active in Spain. The Spanish Inquisition headquarters,
or "Sancta Casa," housed a court, prison, and torture chamber under one
roof. Headed by a Grand Inquisitor, the court was presided over by members
of certain religious orders who passed sentence on the defendants. Punishment
could include torture, imprisonment in the cells of the Sancta Casa, or
public burning at the stake (auto-da-fe).2
The Royal Prisons
From the beginning of the Middle Ages, powerful, centralized states
appeared in Europe, ruled by hereditary monarchies. Many monarchs were
fearful of plots against their rule by rival aristocratic claimants from
whom, in some cases, they had seized their power. By the time of the
eighteenth century Enlightenment, outspoken intellectuals, largely from the
emerging middle classes, were also regarded with suspicion. In order to
punish and isolate any opposition to their power, European and English
royalty established their own courts and prisons.
In France, under the autocratic Louis XIV, the Code Louis authorized
arbitrary seizure and indeterminate imprisonment, for anyone whose name
appeared on the king's own writ of arrests, the lettres de cachet. The
French philosopher Voltaire was imprisoned on more than one occasion by a
lettre. The Encyclopedist Diderot suffered a similar fate when he was
committed to the king's prison at Vincennes for questioning the existence
The Court of Star Chamber was created during the reign of the Tudor
monarch Henry VII (1485-1509). It thereafter became a popular device of
English royalty for prosecuting and punishing their enemies. Anyone found
guilty in Star Chamber proceedings could be tortured, imprisoned in the
Tower of London, or beheaded.4 Henry VIII held Sir Thomas More in the Tower
and ordered his execution for opposing Henry's policies towards the church.
Under such royal prerogatives and with Parliament's support, Henry's daughter,
Elizabeth I, executed her rival, Mary Queen of Scots.
Sundry Prisons and Jails for Common Criminals
Throughout Europe and England, cities, towns, and counties main-
tained prisons and jails for holding common criminals awaiting trial,
sentencing, or the carrying out of punishments such as whipping, stocks,
transportation, or execution. Criminals guilty of petty crimes such as
stealing were often hanged. English debtors were generally sentenced to
jail until their debts were paid up or they died of "gaol fever." During
periods of religious agitation, many prisons and jails held the opponents
of the dominant religious forces. In England, at one time or another,
Catholics, Puritans, and Quakers suffered imprisonment for their beliefs.
In Elizabethan times, the city of London and its environs contained
at least eighteen prisons and jails serving a variety of purposes. The
principal penal institutions were:
1. The Clink (chiefly for religious offenders)
2. The Fleet (for offenders committed by the Court of Star Chamber)
3. Bridewell (a reformatory or "House of Corrections")
4. Newgate (mainly for debtors)
5. Marshalsea (for religious and maritime offenders)
6. Tower of London (for members of the aristocracy)
7. Ludgate (primarily for lower class offenders)5
With one exception, prison and jail authorities of Europe and England
were unconcerned about rehabilitating prisoners. The primary purpose of such
institutions was to serve as a contrivance for detention, punishment, and
Bridewell: The First Experiment in Inmate
Rehabilitation Through Education
During the sixteenth century, English authorities noticed a drama-
tic increase in the number of "idle" vagabonds and beggars wandering through-
out the English countryside. This situation was largely caused by landlords
ejecting farmers and their families from the land and enclosing it for the
more profitable grazing of sheep:
The towns go down, the land decays;
Our corn fields, plain lays;
Great lords make now-a-days;
A sheep barn in the church;
These lords he wonders why;
Commons to close and keep;
Poor folk for bread cry and weep;
Towns pulled down to pasture sheep;
This is the new agent
(Extracted from the ballad "Nowe a Dayes," c. 1520)6
England, like much of Europe, was in the midst of an economic
transformation from an agriculturally based feudal economy to one centered
on international trade and commerce. The English peasants futilely at-
tempted to halt land enclosure by killing the offending sheep. Their
efforts culminated in Kett's Rebellion (1549), which was put down bloodily
by the "better organized classes."7
Many of the unemployed farmers and their families sought refuge and
new work opportunities in the cities. Some of these involuntary vagabonds
and so-called idle harlots, finding no honest work, resorted to pilferage,
whoring, and other offenses. In reaction to this early "crime wave," an
alarmed London Council recommended the creation of the first House of
Corrections, in 1552.
In the same year, the new House of Corrections, popularly known
as Bridewell, was established in Bridewell Bishop's Palace. The palace
was donated to the London Council by Bishop Nicholas Ridley with the per-
mission of the young King Edward VI.8
The new prison's major purpose was not so much to punish as it
was to rehabilitate its inmates. The original regulations of Bridewell's
Board of Governors stated that "in this house shall be erected sundry
occupations, wherein shall be trained all the sturdy and idle, those oc-
cupations as shall be profitable."9 The inmates were "supervised by task-
masters and taskmistresses . expert in such sciences and occupations as
there shall be exercised."10
Taskmasters were authorized by the Board of Governors to "correct
and punish such as are under supervision, if they loiter and be found
negligent." llThus, Bridewell helped teach the inmates a trade and instill
in them work habits useful to the new market economy. Michael Ignatieff,
in his work on prisons and the Industrial Revolution, noted that "in many
respects, Bridewell was the earliest prototype of the factory."12
Bridewell's Training Program
The "rogues" and idle harlots selected for training at Bridewell
were not regarded as hardened criminals by the correctional authorities.
Upon incarceration, the inmates were given a work training assignment from
among a number of trades. Inmates provided for their own upkeep from the
wages they earned working. Men were employed in metalworking, carpentry,
flour milling or baking; the "dissolute women" were trained to operate a
spinning mill. Gradually, more occupations were added; women mended,
carded, and spun; men dredged sand and burned lime to make mortar. In
1563, an apprenticeship system was inaugurated at Bridewell to serve the
children of poor freemen and teach "young rogues" a trade. By 1579,
twenty-five occupations were practiced at Bridewell, including the making
of pins, silk lace, gloves, caps, felts, and tennis balls.13
London's Bridewell was so successful that the city of Norwich
opened one in 1570. Queen Elizabeth I, in her Poor Law of 1576, decreed
that every county in the realm establish, operate, and support a Bridewell.
The demands of England's expanding, but labor-short, worldwide empire led
to the eventual downfall of the Bridewell system. By 1597, the Vagrancy
Act legalized the deportation of rogues and vagabonds for the first time.
According to Ignatieff, "by the late 1750s, transportation to the American
colonies . accounted for 70 percent of all sentences at the Old Bailey
in London."14 The county Bridewells had become by then common jails solely
for holding prisoners awaiting trial, sentencing, execution, or trans-
The Dutch Houses of Correction
In 1596, the Dutch authorities of Amsterdam adopted the Bridewell
rehabilitation idea and opened a Rasphuis or House of Correction for
vagrant males, incorrigibless," and runaway apprentices. Offenders
sentenced to the Rasphuis were subjected to a rigorous regime of rasping
hardwood logs into sawdust for making dyestuffs. The Rasphuis was awarded
a monopoly in the production and sale of the sawdust. Some of the profits
from sales were used to pay the inmates a small salary, most of which went
towards their room and board. Younger and informed prisoners were set to
work weaving woolen cloth under the direction of a master weaver. Under
a contract with the institution, the master weaver was required to buy
the finished cloth. At the end of the work day the master weaver also
conducted classes in reading and writing for the younger inmates. As a
means of sharpening their moral awareness inmates were expected to attend
Sunday religious services. Dangerous prisoners were required to read and
memorize edifying religious works in their locked cells.
A year after the opening of the Rasphuis, a Spinhuis was established
in the same city for the benefit of female offenders. In the beginning
the Spinhuis accepted only poor women needing work, but within ten years
of its opening the institution had been transformed into a prison for
prostitutes, beggars and drunks. The women inmates worked at carding,
spooling, spinning and knitting wool.
The original rehabilitative purpose of the Dutch Houses of Cor-
rection as primarily work training and moral reform institutions was
eventually discarded. As similar incarceration facilities spread over the
Continent, according to the sociologist Thorsten Sellin, "they became
state factories serving the mercantilistic policies of rulers more con-
cerned with the balance of trade than with the reformation of criminals."15
The Enlightenment and Penal Reform: Beccaria
The greatest contribution of Enlightenment reformers to penology
was their insistence on the need to objectify and systematize the entire
process of criminal justice. This was particularly the view of the emerging
middle classes who were eager to curb the arbitrary, secretive, and vin-
dictive interference by kings and inquisitors into their private lives and
commercial activities. They believed that their interests would be best
served if a publicly conducted criminal justice system were governed
by reasonably and legitimately developed laws, humanely and impartially
administered. 16 These views were supported in a brief tract, published
in 1764, entitled "On Crimes and Punishments," by Cesare Beccaria. This
work crystallized Enlightenment thinking about criminal justice, resulting
in an immediate and long-range reformation of penal practices on both
sides of the Atlantic.
Beccaria believed that the severity of punishment should match
the crime, otherwise "if equal punishment be ordained for two crimes that
injure society in different degree, there is nothing to deter man from
committing the greater, as often as it is attended with greater advan-
The certainty of punishment, Beccaria declared, acted as a greater
restraint on the criminal than the severity of the punishment:
Crimes are more effectively prevented by the certainty, than
the severity of punishment. The certainty of a small punish-
ment will make a stronger impression than the fear of one more
severe if it is attended with the hope of escaping.18
Beccaria took a strong stand against cruel punishment and the death
penalty. "That punishment may produce the effect required it is sufficient
that the evil it occasions should exceed the good expected from the crime.
All severity beyond this is superfluous and tyrannical."19
Though Beccaria offered no specific suggestions for rehabilitating
criminals, his demands for a humane and equitable criminal justice system
created a new atmosphere in which any number of rehabilitation programs,
including inmate rehabilitation through education, could eventually begin
to function. As a result of Beccaria's pioneering views, many civilized
nations established publicly governed and financed prison systems.
Jeremy Bentham and the Panopticon
The English were also concerned about the need to rationalize
their system of jurisprudence which dated back to medieval times. Jeremy
Bentham, the English Utilitarian philosopher, shared with the "Scottish
Enlightenment" leaders and English parliamentary reformers a belief that
"punishment occupied pride of place, as the chief instrument available to
a state to canalize the egotistic pursuits of individuals to lawful ends."20
The Utilitarian formulated a "science of pain" dubbed the "hedonistic
calculus," in which the measured application of pain was to be administered
in an entirely impersonal manner, under the constant surveillance of the
authorities, according to formal rules.21 In his "Panopticon" (1791),
Bentham proposed the construction of a prison built around a central ob-
servation tower, from which "inspectors," hidden from public view, could
observe the guards and inmates at all times. No secret punishments, no
corrupting influences from the staff were possible under total observation
"by an authority too systematic to be evaded, too rational to be re-
sisted." Bentham believed that his "monstrous creation," as he called it,
would eventually drive prisoners to contriteness.
Several major penitentiaries based on Bentham's Panopticon prin-
ciple were built in England and America. They all eventually failed because
their design was not adaptable to the newly emerging use of the prison as
an extension of the nineteenth century factory system.
Jacques Vilain and the Maison de Force
Beccaria's treatise helped stimulate reformist thinking about the
function, design, and purpose of prisons. The first architectural example
of this new thinking was opened at Ghent, Belgium, in 1771, seven years
after the publication of "Crimes and Punishments." The octagon-shaped
prison was known as the Maison de Force.
Its warden, Jean Jacques Vilain, introduced a number of lasting
innovations in prison organization and administration. Vilain created an
inmate classification system in which offenders judged to have rehabilita-
tive potential were assigned to congregate work shops and paid a salary
while learning a trade. Inmates slept in individual sleeping cells and
dined together in a large mess hall. The prison, operating under a rule
of silence, was conducted according to military regulations and patrolled
by uniformed, armed guards. Upon incarceration, inmates were washed,
shaved, and issued uniform prison garb.
Vilain planned to expand inmate rehabilitation through education by
building a workshop for juveniles and noncriminal vagrants. By 1783, how-
ever, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, pressured by business interests fear-
ful of competition from prison industries, forbade the teaching or
practicing of trades at the prison, seriously crippling the Ghent experi-
ment. Nevertheless, according to the penologist Blake McKelvey, the Ghent
prison "represented a dramatic new step in the development of prisons" in
Europe and America.23
John Howard: English Prison Reformer
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, John Howard (1726-1790),
England's greatest prison reformer, made over thirty-eight tours of prisons
and jails throughout the British Isles and the Continent, which he re-
corded in two huge influential volumes published in 1777 and 1789. Howard's
major concern was to bring to public attention the need for the immediate
relief of the incarcerated before they perished in the diseased and un-
sanitary conditions surrounding them. He attacked the prevailing corrup-
tion in the management and administration of prisons.
Like Beccaria before him, Howard did not offer specific rehabili-
tative programs for inmates. Nevertheless, he too, through his writings
and appearances before the British Parliament, aroused the public to demand
a change in prison conditions. He inspired the creation of organized
prison reform movements in England, Europe, and America. When America's
first prison reform society was established at Philadelphia in 1787, the
organization's president wrote to Howard asking for advice.24 By the
early nineteenth century, prison reform associations in America, aptly
named John Howard Societies, were established in New York, Boston, and
Philadelphia. Their views of inmate rehabilitation followed Howard's own
dictum: "Let [prisoners] be managed with calmness, yet with steadiness;
show them that you have humanity, and that you aim to make them useful
members of society."25
The first Houses of Correction were created as a partial answer to
the problem of widespread unemployment among the lower classes because of
the economic transformation of sixteenth-and seventeenth-century European
society. Europe and England shifted from a predominately feudal economy
to a capitalist economy based on manufacturing, trade, and colonization
on a worldwide scale.
The appearance of the first House of Correction coincided with the
growing need of the newly emerging economic order for a special kind of
labor force. The new system required a skilled pool of factory labor imbued
with proper work habits and attitudes. The Houses of Correction helped
divert dispossessed farmers, 'discharged soldiers, and other assorted
sturdy vagabonds and idle harlots roaming the cities and countryside,
into the new labor force by sentencing them to a period of enforced vo-
cational training. These institutions were the earliest examples of
incarceration combined with inmate rehabilitation through education as an
alternative to punishment. Many of the rehabilitation programs eventually
failed when their principal objective changed from the reformation of
inmates to the systematic exploitation of their labor power.
Demands for penal and judicial reform were primarily generated by
middle-class spokesmen of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, in Europe
and England. The middle classes feared that their newly won power and
wealth were threatened by the legal power and privileges wielded by the
aristocratic ruling classes. Under such regimes, any citizen could be
vulnerable to the subjective and secretive application of the laws by
kings and courts. The reformers called for the establishment of rational
laws and punishments objectively and publicly carried out.
Many reformist beliefs and practices of the period crossed the
Atlantic ocean and became implanted in the fledging American republic,
encouraging the development of its own unique penological policies and
Torsten Eriksson, The Reformers: A Historical Survey of Pioneer
Experiments in the Treatment of Criminals (New York: Elsevier, 1976), p. 5.
2Jean Plaidy, The Spanish Inquisition: Its Rise, Growth and End,
Vol. 1 (New York: The Citadel Press, 1967), pp. 18, 40-42, 123-159.
3Will Durant and Ariel Durant, The Age of Voltaire: The Story of
Civilization, Vol. 9 (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1965), pp. 35,
4Charles Rembar, The Law of the Land: The Evolution of Our Legal
System (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980), pp. 70-71, 281.
5Gamini Salgado, The Elizabethan Underworld (London: J. M. Dent and
Sons, 1977), pp. 176, 181; Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer, Punishment
and Social Structure (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939), p. 62.
6R. H. Tawney, Tudor Economic Documents, Vol. 3 (London: Longmans,
Green and Co., 1924), p. 19.
7G. M. Trevelyan, History of England (London: Longmans, Green and
Co., 1952), p. 315; Karl Polyani, The Great Transformation (Rinehart and
Co. Beacon Press, 1957), pp. 34-36.
8Austin Van Der Slice, "Houses of Correction" Journal of the American
Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, 29 (May-June, 1936--March-April,
1937), pp. 51, 54. Some of those considered rogues or vagabonds by the
authorities included palm readers, those having no land or masters, jugglers,
tinkers, able-bodied laborers who loitered, counterfeiters of licenses and
passports, Egyptians (Gypsies), and all scholars of Oxford and Cambridge
who begged without a license from the university.
9R. H. Tawney, Tudor Economic Documents, Vol. 2, op. cit., p. 308.
10Ibid., p. 310.
12Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the
Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), p. 32.
13Austin Van Der Slice, op. cit., pp. 47-52.
14Michael Ignatieff, op. cit., p. 20; Thorsten Sellin, Slavery and
the Penal System (New York: Elsevier Publishing Co., 1976), pp. 75-76.
15Thorsten Sellin, ibid., p. 76.
16Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer, op. cit., pp. 72-73.
17Anthony Babington, The English Bastille: A History of Newgate Gaol
and Prison Conditions in Britain, 1188-1902 (New York: St. Martin's Press,
1972), p. 128.
18Sawyer F. Sylvester, Jr., (Ed.), The Heritage of Modern Criminology
(Cambridge, Mass.: Shenkman Publishing Co., 1972), p. 19.
19Ibid., p. 20.
20Michael Ignatieff, op. cit., p. 76.
21Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer, op. cit., p. 74. Jeremy Bentham
echoed Cesare Beccaria's belief in the possibility of calculating justice
with mathematical precision. Rusche quotes Beccaria as saying "that if
mathematical calculations could be applied to the obscure and infinite
combination of human actions there might be a corresponding scale of
22Michael Ignatieff, op. cit., p. 77.
23Blake McKelvey, American Prisons: A Study in American Social
History Prior to 1915 (Montclair, New Jersey: Patterson Smith, 1977),
p. 5; Torsten Eriksson, op. cit., pp. 21-23.
24Negley Teeters, They Were in Prison: A History of the Pennsylvania
Prison Society, 1787-1937 (Philadelphia: John C. Winston and Co., 1937),
25John Howard, An Account of the Principal Lazarettos in Europe,
2nd ed. (1791). (Reprinted by Patterson Smith, Montclair, New Jersey,
1973), p. 222.
AMERICAN PENOLOGY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INMATE REHABILITATION THROUGH
EDUCATION IN THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES
America Establishes its First Prison Systems
The early American attitude towards incarceration and treatment
of convicted criminals was derived from what one noted penologist called
"the queer combination of the rational philosophy of the French and American
revolutionaries and the theology of the Quakers and Puritans."' The views
of these two religious sects were to have a particularly enduring influence
on the process of American penology in the nineteenth century.
The Quakers and Puritans sanctioned the use of incarceration for
criminal behavior, but for different reasons. On the one hand, the Quakers
believed that imprisonment should serve as an instrument of criminal reform.
Convinced of the essential goodness of human nature, they believed that
incarceration helped isolate the criminal from the evil causes of his down-
fall. Separated from bad social influences, be they friends or even
loved ones, he could, in isolation, more readily reflect on his sins and
seek salvation through a revived religious affirmation.2
The Puritans, on the other hand, proclaimed John Calvin's views of
a depraved human nature fundamentally flawed by Original Sin. Puritans
believed that God, in his mysterious majesty, had already chosen the saved
and the damned and no amount of good works or reformed beliefs would change
God's decision. Rehabilitation was therefore impossible. Imprisonment,
under a strict regimen of discipline such as hard labor, therefore helped
break the criminal's evil spirit, making him more docile and pliable to
society's injunctions and less likely to act out his unchangeably evil
The Walnut Street Jail: America's First State Prison
The first major attempt to carry out prison reform in the newly
established United States took place in Philadelphia, the nation's then
largest city, a hub of political and commercial activities. In 1787, a
coalition of prominent Philadelphians formed a prison reform organization,
called the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public
Prisons. The Society attracted such diverse members as the Quaker Roberts
Vaux, the physician Dr. Benjamin Rush, and the rationalist and Deist
Benjamin Franklin. The Society's intention was to renovate the dilapidated
Walnut Street Jail and institute new penal policies and reforms, many of
which reflected the dominant views of the Quaker membership.4
Shortly thereafter, the jail was elevated to the status of a state
prison by an Act of the Pennsylvania State Legislature. The new law called
for a program of labor under a regime of strict discipline. Silence was to
be observed at all times. The law also provided that convicts showing
promise of reformation could be released with the sentencing court's ap-
proval. In addition to work in absolute silence, inmates were given religious
instruction by visiting ministers.5 In 1791, the Board of Inspectors of the
prison stated that the purpose of institution was to fulfill three major
1. The public security
2. The reformation of the prisoners
3. Humanity towards those unhappy members of society6
The refurbished jail contained workshops where nondangerous in-
mates could work together in silence. The more hardened criminals were
confined to their cells, laboring, eating, and sleeping in solitude. The
others were housed in sleeping dormitories. A visitor to the Walnut Street
Jail noted that:
the unskilled convicts were employed in beating hemp and
picking moss, wood or oakum. Other inmates worked at
carpentry, joinery, weaving, shoe-making, tailoring and
the making of nails. The female convicts worked at spinning
cotton yarn, carding wool, picking cotton, preparing flax
and hemp, and washing and mending. Each male prisoner was
paid for his labor at the same or somewhat lower wages than
those paid for similar work on the outside and female prisoners
had the opportunity to earn small sums. All were debited with
the cost of daily maintenance. Moreover, the prisoners were
informed that good conduct would be rewarded by recommendation
to the governor for a pardon. Nq chains or irons were allowed.
Corporal punishment was unknown.7
The Quaker Caleb Lownes, who managed the jail, reported, in 1797,
that the institution helped create a safer Philadelphia:
our streets meet with no interruption from those characters
that formerly rendered it dangerous. . The discharged
prisoners have chosen the risk of being hanged in other States,
rather than encounter the certainty of their being confined in
the penitentiary cells of this.8
The policies and practices of the Walnut Street Jail already con-
tained much of the essential characteristics of American penology: reforma-
tion through religious enlightenment, discipline, and hard labor, whether in
isolation or through congregate activities.
The Pennsylvania System
The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public
Prisons contributed to the planning of what was called the Pennsylvania
System, a more perfected version of the Walnut Street Jail reform experiment.
Penitentiaries constructed under the Pennsylvania Plan emphasized separate
and solitary confinement of inmates. Labor, when permitted, was performed
in the cells and all meals were taken there. The thick walls of the cells
prevented communication between prisoners, each of whom had access to a
small, private high-walled yard for individual exercise. Such seclusion
was regarded, according to the Quaker Roberts Vaux, as the best means for
placing "every prisoner beyond the possibility of being made more corrupt.
. . furnishing him with the opportunity which Christian duty enjoins,
for promoting his restoration to the path of virtue, because seclusion is
believed to be essential in moral treatment."9 Echoing Cesare Beccaria,
Vaux believed that "certainty rather than the severity of punishment" was
a greater deterrent to crime.10
Prison reformers from America and Europe who visited the Pennsyl-
vania style "penitentiaries" 11 had mixed evaluations as to their efficacy.
The parliamentary visitor, Sir William Crawford, and his French counterpart,
Gustave de Beaumont, reported favorably on the Pennsylvania System, thus
contributing to its adoption throughout Europe. The English author Charles
Dickens felt differently, however. After visiting Eastern Penitentiary out-
side Philadelphia, he reported it was run "on the principle of hopeless,
strict and unrelaxed solitary confinement . a most dreadful, fearful
The well-intentioned Quakers believed that common criminals could
benefit from the same manner of incarceration as they themselves had suf-
fered during the English religious persecutions of the seventeenth century.
For the community of Quakers, imprisonment helped kindle "the Inner Light"
of their convictions in God's saving grace.13 For many of the criminals in
a Pennsylvania System prison, incarceration was not a saving grace but a
form of mental torture. Isolated from human companionship, the Inner
Light was replaced by the fires of madness. The benevolent effort at
prison reform became a form of punishment in itself.
One other prison modeled after the Pennsylvania System was built
in western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, followed by one each in New
Jersey and Rhode Island. By the middle of the nineteenth century, however,
newer penitentiaries were being constructed and administered according to
the Auburn System, based on New York's Auburn State Prison. The Auburn
System eventually replaced the Pennsylvania System altogether, becoming
the standard paradigm for the American penal system up to the present time.
The Auburn System
Auburn Prison, reorganized in 1823, evolved from an earlier prison
complex, operated according to the Pennsylvania System. The revamped
prison took on a new purpose and direction, partially resulting from
nineteenth-century America's rapid industrialization. Auburn, America's
first major industrial prison, was to have a lasting influence on the design
and operation of state prisons across the nation. Many of the prison's
policies, however, were governed by certain earlier Puritan beliefs about
the cause and treatment of criminal behavior. Puritans believed criminals
were beyond redemption. According to their Calvinist code, criminal be-
havior was a clear sign of rejection by God from the community of the saved
and no amount of spiritual reform could redeem criminals from their pre-
destined damnation. This was contrary to the Quaker belief that isolating
criminals from bad influences could lead to spiritual awakening and, eventu-
ally, salvation. The Puritans believed no amount of spiritual awakening
could lessen the criminal's inherent depravity; rather, he must be forced
to outward conformity. This, they believed, was best accomplished by the
application of strict discipline and corporal punishment.14
Under the watchful eyes of Warden Elam Lynds, prisoners at Auburn
State Prison were subjected to the whip for the slightest infraction. Ab-
solute obedience was expected at all times. According to the American
penologist Orlando Lewis, Auburn practiced "reformation by horror, constant
hard labor and the breaking of the spirit."15 Such treatment, it was be-
lieved, would bend the felon to the will of society.
The schedule of routines at Auburn was strictly enforced. The
prisoners dressed in coarse uniforms, ate together in dining halls and
labored in congregate workshops. Silence was enforced at all times and
convicts marched in lockstep to and from their assigned work areas. At
night they slept in multistoried tiers of cells facing out upon open
galleries. Owing to its cheaper construction costs and industrial profit-
ability, Auburn-style prisons were duplicated at Sing Sing in eastern New
York and other states of the industrial Northeast, eventually displacing
the Pennsylvania System altogether.16
The Auburn System of Prison Industrialization
The nineteenth-century Auburn System triumphed over its rivals
because it helped to create a trained and disciplined labor force. Prison
industries produced goods which were profitable to the state while also pro-
ducing a skilled labor pool at no cost to industry. According to the
eminent penologist Georg Rusche, there was in the labor market of early
a greater demand for workers than at any time during the
mercantilist period in Europe. The importation of slaves
had become much more difficult as a result of the new regu-
lations. The availability of free land and the rapid
industrial development created in the labor market a vaccuum
which could not be filled by immigration. Anyone could find
Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, immigrants arrived
on American shores in increasing numbers. Working conditions deteriorated
as rampant, unregulated capitalism strained the American economic system,
creating inflation and a series of economic depressions. The rigorous
discipline imposed on inmates confined in Auburn-style prisons helped make
them more docile and amenable to the demands of authority at a time when
labor agitation and radicalism was on the rise. According to Orlando
hard labor under the new Auburn System became a fetish.
Hard labor was the rule of life outside of the prison. If
the prison could be made less costly by the labor of the
prisoner, hard labor should be the rule inside the prison.19
Most humanitarian prison reformers looked upon prison labor as
beneficial to the prisoner. Prison industries received powerful support
from such famous American prison reformers as Louis Dwight of the Boston
Prison Discipline Society. The Society proclaimed that the prison labor
economy strengthened the moral convictions of the inmates. Such a stance
by one of the nation's leading prison reform organizations, noted Orlando
Lewis, helped sanction the Auburn System's shift "from producing reforma-
tion to producing profits for the state."20
Organized Labor and the Prison Industries
By the 1830s, prison labor was contracted by outside private enter-
prise to produce a whole spectrum of finished products such as: shoes,
brass clocks, hats, tailored suits, saddles, carpets, and cabinets, to name
a few. Auburn Prison, observed Lewis, was a "great, smooth running in-
dustrial machine."21 Outraged free labor feared a ruination of their pro-
ductive capacities as the competition from prison industries began to be
felt in the marketplace. Lewis goes on to say: "it cost the mechanics
[laborers and artisans] in Albany $58.00 to produce 100 dozen large combs,
while the same amount could be produced by prison labor for $15.50."22 In
1835, the labor movement, in New York State alone, submitted a petition
to the state legislature containing 200,000 signatures, protesting the
competition of convict labor.23
As the forces of free labor became better organized throughout the
nineteenth century, politicians began to pay attention to their demands
for regulating prison industries. New York State, in 1835 and 1842, passed
laws protecting the mechanics' interests. Nevertheless, "prison labor was
not stopped, it was only restricted,"24 by regulations which varied from
state to state. By 1897, with free labor's blessing, it was agreed that
prison labor would be devoted to the production of goods and services for
"state use" only, a practice now common to most states, including Florida.25
Nineteenth-Century Origins and Development of Inmate
Rehabilitation Through Education
With a zeal matched only by their English humanitarian counter-
parts, American prison reformers were actively directing organized efforts
at improving the physical and spiritual well-being of convicts. This was
accomplished in spite of the disapproval of some puritanical wardens, such
as Captain Elam Lynds. Lynds closed down a Sunday school for younger
Auburn inmates because he believed learning "increased danger to society
of the educated convicts."26 Such resistance to inmate education did not
deter Louis Dwight. With the organized resources of his Boston Prison
Discipline Society, Dwight helped organize "Sabbath schools" in many of
the northern prisons. On Sunday, inmates were offered the opportunity to
remain in their cells alone or join others in the chapel for basic reading
instruction. The instructors, all chaplains, distributed free Bibles to
the inmates. In some prisons chaplains instructed the inmates through the
bars of their cells. Dwight's Sabbath schools even prevailed at Auburn
where, by 1830, says the inmate education writer Albert R. Roberts, "New
York State's Auburn Prison had formed thirty-one classes and 160 inmates
were attending them."27 At Sing Sing, according to a visiting Englishman,
Sir William Crawford, the most illiterate prisoners at the prison re-
ceived instruction for two hours a week.
In 1847, the New York State Legislature passed a law requiring the
hiring of two full-time instructors for each of the state prisons at Auburn
and Sing Sing. The law was an important milestone in inmate education be-
cause it "was the first legal recognition of academic education in cor-
rectional institutions in the United States."28
The New York State Law stated that:
the objective of prison education in its broadest sense should
be the socialization of the inmates through varied impressional
and expressional activities, with emphasis on individual inmate'
needs. The objective of this program shall be the return of
these inmates to society with a more wholesome attitude toward
living, with a desire to conduct themselves as good citizens and
with the skill and knowledge which will give them a reasonable
chance to maintain themselves and their dependents through honest
labor. To this end, each prisoner shall be given a program of
education, which on the basis of the available data, seems most
likely to further the process of socialization and rehabilitation.
The time daily devoted to such education shall be such as for
meeting the above objectives.2
In 1867, the Massachusetts State Legislature was petitioned by
Warden Gideon Hayes of the Massachusetts State Prison for sufficient funds
to enable him to purchase textbooks for teaching illiterate convicts.
Such actions signaled the shift of responsibility for the education of in-
mates from the private and religious sector to the public sector.30
Elmira Reformatory, in upper New York State, specifically designed
for youthful first offenders, ages 16 to 30, became the model for all such
subsequent institutions. Education at the reformatory was, according to
Roberts, "for the first time considered as the keystone to the arch of
reform."31 The Commissioner of the reformatory, Zebulon Brockway, upon
taking charge in 1876, operated Elmira on the premise that "a thorough
training program should be available to all, from the illiterate to the
university graduate, using the most advanced methods."32 Brockway believed
that education must be available to all classes "because criminals are
capable of being changed for the better by this means."33 Brockway ob-
served that the right kind of educational programs would do more than
merely impart academic knowledge. The effects of education, according to
Brockway, could "dissipate poverty by imparting intelligence sufficient
. . to putting into mind habits of punctuality, method and perseverance,"34
useful in an industrial society. Inmates at Elmira, enrolled in educational
programs, could gain good conduct credits and help shorten the length of
their indeterminate sentences.
Warden Brockway did not hesitate to tap two nearby colleges for
educational support. In 1883, Brockway asked Professor W. A. Wells, of
Syracuse University, to conduct an industrial arts class, which in a short
time included vocational classes in plumbing, suit tailoring, printing, and
telegraphy. By the following year the experimental program had grown into
a full-time department with its own staff of instructors, making it one
of the pioneer trade schools in the country. Elmira classrooms and work-
shops were soon widely imitated.
Adult education courses were also being conducted six nights a week
by inmates with sufficient formal education backgrounds. Warden Brockway
was also able to draw Dr. D. R. Ford, of the Elmira Women's College, into
presenting advanced courses in physical geography and natural sciences.
The adult education program was expanded into a permanent department under
Dr. Ford's direction, while a third department, concentrating on higher edu-
cation, was shortly formalized by D. P. Mayhew, from Michigan State Normal
School. Professor Mayhew, appointed "moral director," conducted classes
in Bible studies, ethics, and psychology. Two more faculty members were
added to the Elmira staff to teach college economics, history, and litera-
The American Prison Association and Inmate
Rehabilitation Through Education
The educational efforts of Louis Dwight, Zebulon Brockway, and
other educators, received important support from the newly formed American
Prison Association. Its historic meeting at Cincinnati in 1870 attracted
an international audience who spoke out in favor of inmate rehabilitation
through education. Sir John Bowring, the British delegate, succinctly
summed up the need for inmate education:
provision for schools is a matter of grave importance, and in
prisons, as indeed everywhere, a central all embracing supervision
is of paramount importance. The hours devoted to study
should be so exclusively devoted, and emulation should be
encouraged, as a great impulse to progress. . A prison
may be deemed an industrial school in which the management
deals with moral instead of physical diseases, which it
is its duty to alleviate and, if possible, to cure.36
Enoch Wines, the Secretary of the American Prison Association,
personally wrote to the Republican Reconstructionist governor of Florida,
Marcellus Stearns (1874-1877), following the Civil War, offering him state
membership in the Association. The governor declined Wines's offer of
the Association's professional advice, services, and publications, possibly
because the one-thousand-dollar annual membership fee was too much for the
state's impoverished treasury.
The Auburn System emerged as the dominant paradigm of nineteenth-
century American penology. Historically, according to Orlando Lewis,
"the period is of exceptional significance in the development of American
penal systems . because powerful economic and moral forces have in the
past conditioned and traditionalized our penal institutions,"37 up to the
present time. Auburn replaced the Pennsylvania System because it success-
fully incorporated both the Quaker and Puritan views of reform and discipline
with the particular needs of an emerging industrial society.
The Auburn System practiced two conflicting methods of criminal
treatment: the Quaker belief in rehabilitation (and thereby reform), and
the Puritan notion of discipline through punishment as a means of achieving
conformity. The rightful position of these two doctrines is still unre-
solved in American penology.
American conservatives and liberals are still divided over whether
the proper role of prisons is to punish or rehabilitate. Among the great
majority of Americans who may not lean towards either position, prisons
are assumed to be serving both functions, though, in fact they are mutually
incompatible. Added to this controversy is the still debated question over
whether imprisonment can act as a deterrent of future criminal behavior,
first raised by Cesare Beccaria in the eighteenth century. "It is the clash,"
commented Orlando Lewis, "of the several prominent 'interests' of the
prison programs that has ever and again confused the prison problem."38
The religious motives for promoting the teaching of reading in some
early nineteenth-century American prisons was eventually superseded by more
mundane educational motives. The self-supporting Auburn industrial prisons
displaced the labor-wasting Pennsylvania System by becoming extensions of
the nation's expanding industrialism. Auburn-type prisons were self-
contained and profitable industrial plants primarily operated by the con-
As more sophisticated machinery and manufacturing processes were
installed, prisons required more skilled workers and foremen to operate
and regulate their industrial plants. Vocational training and academic
education became necessities if the profitable operations were to continue
running smoothly and profitably. It was also recognized at this time that
educational activities helped improve prison morale, relieving the boredom
and the sense of wasted time that was at the bottom of much prison unrest.
A Declaration of Principles issued at the National Congress on
Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline, in 1870, stated that:
education is a vital force in the reformation of fallen
men and women. Its tendency is to quicken the intellect,
inspire self-respect, excite to higher aims, and afford a
healthful substitute for low and vicious amusements. Education
is therefore of primary importance in prisons.
Industrial training should have both a higher development
and a greater breadth than has heretofore been, or is now,
commonly given to our prisons. Work is no less an auxiliary to
virtue, than it is a means of support. Steady, active honorable
labor is the basis of all reformatory discipline.39
1George G. Killinger, Penology: The Origins of Corrections in America
(St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co., 1973), p. 35; Thorsten Sellin,
Slavery and the Penal System (New York: Elsevier Scientific Publishing
Co., 1976), p. 138.
2Louis Robinson, Penology in the United States (Philadelphia: John C.
Winston and Co., 1921), pp. 71, 76; Margaret Bacon, The Quiet Rebels: The
Story of the Quakers in America (New York: Basic Books, 1969), pp. 19, 23, 26.
3Kai T. Erikson, Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of
Deviance (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1966), pp. 189-197.
4Negley K. Teeters, They Were in Prison: A History of the Pennsylvania
Prison Society, 1787-1937 (Philadelphia: John C. Winston and Co., 1937),
5Blake McKelvey, American Prisons: A Study in American Social History
Prior to 1915 (Monclair, New Jersey: Patterson Smith, 1977), p. 6.
6Negley K. Teeters, op. cit., p. 49.
7George Killinger, op. cit., p. 27.
8Orlando F. Lewis, The Development of American Prisons and Prison
Customs, 1776-1845 (Monclair, New Jersey: Patterson Smith, 1967), p. 29.
9George Killinger, op. cit., pp. 14-15.
10Negley Teeters, op. cit., p. 158.
Louis N. Robinson, Penology in the United States (Philadelphia: John C.
Winston and Co., 1921), p. 67. "The word penitentiary, which is of ec-
clesiastical origin, was used by Benthan and Howard to characterize a prison
in which the criminal could expiate his crime and be reformed."
12Negley Teeters, op. cit., pp. 218-236. Contains Dickens complete
report of his visit and the reaction of the Philadelphia Prison Society to
13Margaret Bacon, op. cit., pp. 19, 23, 26.
14Kai T. Erikson, op. cit., pp. 202-204.
15Orlando Lewis, op. cit., p. 93.
16George Killinger, op. cit., pp. 80-83.
17Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer, Punishment and Social Structure
(New York: Russell and Russell, 1968), p. 128.
18Louis M. Hacker, The Triumph of American Capitalism (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1940), pp. 267-279.
19Orlando Lewis, op. cit., p. 92.
20Blake McKelvey, op. cit., pp. 12, 39; Orlando Lewis, qo. cit., pp. 132-133.
21Orlando Lewis, op. cit., p. 130.
22Ibid., p. 138.
23bid., p. 136.
24Ibid., p. 146.
25Blake McKelvey, op. cit., pp. 98-99.
26Orlando Lewis, op. cit., p. 95.
27Albert R. Roberts, Source Book on Prison Education: Past, Present,
and Future (Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1971), pp. 4-5.
28Ibid., p. 5.
29New York State Correctional Law, 1847, Ch. 864, Sec. 136.
30Albert R. Roberts, op. cit., p. 6.
31Ibid., p. 6.
32Torsten Eriksson, The Reformers: A Historical Survey of Pioneer
Experiments in the Treatment of Criminals (New York: Elsevier Scientific
Publishing Co., 1976), p. 100.
33Zebulon Brockway, Fifty Years of Prison Service (New York: Charities
Publication Committee, 1912), p. 407.
35Blake McKelvey, op. cit., pp. 109-111.
36E. C. Wines, Transactions of the National Congress of Penitentiary
and Reformatory Discipline, 1870 (Albany, New York: Weed, Parsons and Co.,
1871), p. 90.
37Orlando Lewis, op. cit., p. 132.
38Ibid., see also Harry E. Allen and Clifford E. Simonsen, Corrections in
America: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.,
1981), pp. 421-422.
39E. C. Wines, op. cit., pp. 542-543.
THE FIRST FLORIDA STATE PRISON AND THE CONVICT LEASE SYSTEM:
A FAILED ATTEMPT AT INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION (1868-1919)
Florida Establishes its First State Prison
In 1868, the Republican Reconstructionist government of Florida
authorized the establishment of a state prison to contend with the rise
of crime in the state following the end of the Civil War. A Jacksonville
newspaper reported that "various jails throughout the state were of such
flimsy construction that the deparadoes [sic] laughed them to scorn, and jail
deliveries were the most common occurrence of everyday life, where crime in-
creased with fearful rapidity." I Florida's first Reconstructionist governor,
Harrison Reed (1868-1873), a Republican carpetbagger from Wisconsin, ex-
pressed the view that "under the present system the state has been unable
to punish its criminals."2
In an effort to remedy the situation, Governor Reed journeyed to
Washington, D.C., in September, 1868. The governor conferred with Secretary
of War Stanton and the Freedmen's Bureau, which was responsible for abandoned
federal property. The Freedmen's Bureau granted permission for Florida
to convert the abandoned federal arsenal at Chattahoochee, Florida, into
a state prison under a free lease arrangement.
The former arsenal consisted of a number of sturdy, but dilapidated,
stone buildings within a walled enclosure that had once served as barracks,
officers' quarters, and workshops for the federal military contingent
stationed in Florida before the Civil War. The arsenal included over four
hundred acres suitable for cultivation. Governor Reed envisioned "a
judicious [penitentiary] system, which may be made a source of profit"3 by
converting the arsenal into a self-supporting prison capable of holding up
to three hundred convicts. The governor ordered construction of the neces-
sary number of iron sleeping cells, but legislative funding for their con-
struction was never forthcoming. In 1869, the state treasury was so strapped
for money that prison supplies had to be paid for out of the governor's
contingency fund. Undeterred, Governor Reed proceeded with the task of pro-
visioning and staffing the new state facility.
Florida State Prison's First Warden
Governor Reed selected Malachi Martin, a moderate Republican, as the
prison's first chief administrator, bestowing upon him the rank of colonel.
Under the new organization Martin reported directly to the state's adjutant
general's office, which shared authority for operating the prison with the
Florida Commissioners of Public Institutions.4
During the approximately ten years of his tenure as State Prison
Warden, Colonel Martin was a storm center of controversy as conservative
Democrats tried to discredit his penal policies and practices in particular,
and Carpetbagger Reconstructionism, in general.
The colonel was born in Ireland but had spent his adult life in New
York City, where he established himself as a dry goods merchant. At the
beginning of the Civil War, he received a lieutenant's commission and was
assigned to the Army of the Potomac, serving as quartermaster for the famed
"Irish Brigade," from 1861 to 1864. At the end of the war, Martin held the
post of quartermaster for the United States Army, Department of Florida,
headquartered in the state capital at Tallahassee. Resigning his commission
in 1866, he decided to settle in Florida and unsuccessfully tried his hand
at farming. For a brief time before accepting the appointment as prison
commandant, he had acted as an agent for the Freedmen's Bureau.5
Like many other Yankee carpetbaggers in the South, Martin entered
politics, becoming a moderate Republican and serving at one time or another
as a representative from Gadsden County, Speaker of the Assembly, and a
member of the Republican State Executive Committee.6
Political life in Florida following the Civil War was tumultuous
as various factions of Republicans and Democrats vied with each other for
political control of the state. In the heated struggles, according to the
historian, Jerrell Shofner: "dozens of white Republicans and Negroes were
assassinated throughout the Florida blackbelt."7 Martin himself, on at
least one occasion, was the target of an armed mob.
It was in such an atmosphere of near political anarchy that Colonel
Martin took command of the new state prison at Chattahoochee, in December
of 1868. By June of 1869, he had charge of fourteen guards, mostly black
Union veterans, and forty-two convicts, also mostly black. By 1872, the
convict population had almost doubled, creating serious security problems.
Colonel Martin handled the situation by ordering severe punishments, such
as extended solitary confinement and hanging by the thumbs. In one case, at
least, an escaping prisoner was bayoneted to death.8
Warden Martin Attempts to Create a Self-Supporting State Prison
Despite a lack of financial support from the state legislature,
Colonel Martin attempted to organize the facility so that the inmates them-
selves would operate a factory and farm. The sale of prison products would
help support the costs of running the prison. Martin envisioned "es-
tablishing a manufactory within the walls of the prison, where under the
superintendence of an experienced mechanic, we could manufacture implements,
low priced furniture and such articles as would find a ready market."'9 The
new Reconstructionist governor, Marcellus Stearns (1874-1877), concurred:
"there are fine workshops which should be put in operation as soon as the
finances of the state enable it to provide the necessary machinery at its
cash cost. The proper use of these shops would go towards rendering the
Colonel Martin (whose title was changed to Warden in 1871) reported
to the adjutant general in 1873 that the
prison is conducted on the congregate plan, in the full sense of
the term, the prisoners not being separated day or night, unless
when placed in solitary confinement. They occupy one common dormi-
tory, eat at one table and work together. As far as practicable
strict silence is preserved, no prisoner being allowed to speak,
unless to ask for information in regard to his work.11
Towards the end of 1874, a water sluice running from the damned
Mosquito Creek had been completed by the convicts. Warden Martin reported
to the adjutant general that with a water turbine wheel in use "we will have
sufficient power to run a saw mill, a cotton gin and a manufactory . .
we would thus be able to make the prison self-sustaining and a source of
revenue for the state."12 Martin pointed out that the prison's proximity
to the Chattahoochee river and nearby connections to railroad lines could
be useful for delivering manufactured goods to markets.
The goal of making the prison totally self-supporting was never
realized. Every advance in self-sufficiency was offset by an increase in
the number of convicts assigned to the state prison. The increasing popu-
lation created the need to purchase more rations and hire more guards, thus
exceeding the profits from the sale of the prison's agricultural produce
in tobacco and cotton.13
The water turbine wheel for running the mill and manufactory was
never completed because the legislature refused to pass the necessary ap-
Inmate Rehabilitation Through Education in
Florida's First State Prison
When first faced with the possibility of supervising a prison in-
dustrial plant, Warden Martin turned his attention to improving the edu-
cational level of the inmates who would be charged with its operation. In
1872, he reported,
our school is very generally attended, and most of the prisoners
who have been here a sufficient length of time can now spell and
read tolerably well. Those who are most advanced teach the others.
Our supply of books is limited, indeed consisting of only suf-
ficient for a primary school of twenty-five or thirty. Had we
slates, many of the prisoners would make considerable progress in
arithmetic, but while our finances are in their preset condition
we can but expect little improvement in this respect."4
Frustrated at obtaining any state support for his educational
program, Martin reported to his superior in the following year that "there
is no library belonging to this prison. We have few books adapted to a
primary school and these have been so thumbed over that they are now nearly
illegible." He pointed out that the prisoners "exhibit a very laudable
desire to improve their minds," but they needed "a sufficient number of books
for a school that would accommodate all the prisoners.'15 The Warden
argued, unsuccessfully, for "the employment of a suitable person who would
devote his time to education of the prisoners in the evenings." Martin
expressed his belief in the value of inmate rehabilitation through education:
it is well established that a very large majority of the
criminals in the world are the most ignorant and under-educated
classes. Hence the great effort of men who have given prison
discipline their attention and reduced it to a science. All
concur in the opinion that it is one of the first duties of
the authorities of a prison to educate the fallen and degraded.
. Carrying this policy into effect I have always encouraged
night schools. First it keeps the minds of the prisoners oc-
cupied, then they begin to take an interest in their studies,
and finally begin to see that by good conduct there is a brighter
future for them.17
Echoing Martin's concerns, State Adjutant General, John Varnum, in
1874, wrote in his official report to the governor that:
from its original establishment to the present time [the prison]
has labored under all the disadvantages of a remote location,
a dearth of profitable employment under contract outside, and
an inability, from lack of material and means, to support itself
by manufacture or otherwise within the prison. Suggestions of
the most impractical utility have been made in lavish abundance,
but the motive of every improvement, money, has been wanting.18
The Closing of Florida's First State Prison
By 1877, Reconstructionism was drawing to a close throughout the
South. The carpetbagger Republicans and their loyal black supporters were
being voted out of office in Florida and elsewhere. Though slavery would
never be restored, most southern whites wished for a return to the social,
political, and economic structure of the antebellum days.19
The Florida State Prison, established by Reconstructionists, was
dismantled soon after Florida's conservative Democrats were elected to power
in 1877. The prison was considered a burden to the taxpayers of the state,
and its controversial warden was labeled corrupt and cruel by the enemies
of Reconstruction. John Wallace, a vocal black critic of Florida's Re-
construction accused Malachi Martin of "working the prisoners on his own
private farm or vineyard while pretending to be cultivating grapes for
wine-making for the State, and made thousands of dollars for himself."20
This and other unfounded charges by Wallace and other southern loyalists
helped discredit Reconstructionism throughout the South.
In March of 1877, a convict leasing law was passed by the Florida
Legislature authorizing the assignment of all the state's prisoners to
private contractors. In 1879, the legislature sanctioned the conversion
of the prison facility into a state insane asylum.
In 1885, responsibility for the state's prisoners was transferred
from the Adjutant General's Department to the Department of Agriculture,
in compliance with the state's newly revised constitution. The Commissioner
of Agriculture would be responsible for Florida's penal system until 1957,
when the state would finally create a separate and independent Division of
The Florida Convict Lease System
Ever since the opening of Florida's first state prison in 1868, con-
victs were periodically leased out for phosphate mining, railroad construction,
and naval stores production, particularly important industries in Florida's
labor-short post-Civil War economic expansion. After the state prison was
closed down in 1878, all the prisoners were assigned to private contractors
representing a coalition of the Florida plantocracy and northern railroad
interests who were, according to the Florida historian Charlton Tebeau,
extravagant "in the wanton fashion in which they offered (and received)
the state's natural resources for development and exploitation."21 The
contractors paid a nominal sum to the state for use of the convicts.
Governor William D. Bloxham (1881-1885 and 1897-1901), a Bourbon Democrat
and former slave owner, proclaimed to the state legislature in 1883, that
"from being a large expense to the state under the former system, the con-
victs instead, have become a source of revenue."22
The convict laborers were mostly sturdy young blacks familiar with
heavy outdoor work in Florida's hot climate. Docile under the surveillance
of armed guards, prisoners could be coerced into longer hours of work than
might be expected of free laborers.
The convicts lived in ramshackle camps, most of which were located
in isolated forests or near malarial swamps. The diet provided inmates was
poor,sometimes consisting of uncooked food scavenged from the wild sur-
roundings of the camps. At some camps the infirm and female convicts worked
agricultural plots, a source of fruit and vegetables. Medical treatment
for diseases and injuries was not generally available. Contractors largely
ignored their agreement with the state to maintain the convicts in good
Punishment was intense and escape attempts were frequent. Convicts
were subjected to flogging with a leather strap or hanging by the thumbs.
Although many prisoners died of shotgun wounds, hunger, and disease, ac-
cording to the supervisor of a convict lease camp, Captain J. C. Powell,
"no records were kept of the number of deaths but it was a large proportion
of the prisoners."23
Captain Powell reported that at night prisoners were chained to
a sleeping platform. They were so packed together that if "any convict
desired to move or change his position thereafter it was required that he
first call the night guard."24
In 1893, Governor Henry L. Mitchell (1893-1897) complained about
the condition of the convict camps and the treatment of the state's convicts,
whose numbers had increased to 717 by December, 1898. He noted in his
message to the state legislature that the convicts
are scattered over different portions of the state, some in
phosphate mines and some on turpentine farms, with no one to
look after their interests, they are truly in a most deplorable
condition. . Now these people are not an expense to the state;
on the contrary, they are a source of profit.25
By 1902 there were thirty convict lease camps scattered across the state.
The leasing of state prisoners ended in 1919, although county con-
victs were hired out to private interests until 1923. In that year, a
prisoner died after a severe flogging. The outspoken cries of the prisoner's
parents for justice focused national attention on Florida. The fear of
tarnishing the state's benign image as a tourist mecca led William Jennings
Bryan (who was involved in Florida land sales himself) to personally address
the state legislature. He warned that the publicity about the convict lease
system "will keep people away from the wonderful possibilities of the
state . and minimize the chances to attract capital."26 The legislature
immediately abolished convict leasing altogether.
The convict lease system was a highly profitable enterprise for the
state of Florida. In thirty-four years (1880-1914), the state made 3.3 million
dollars by hiring out its convicts, a considerable sum for those days. Florida
put some of the money to a useful purpose. When a new state prison was
constructed at Raiford, Florida, in 1914, revenue from the convict lease
profits helped fund the purchase of land and the construction of the
facility. In 1913, Florida Agriculture Commissioner W. A. McRae, in his
Biennial Report to the governor, observed:
what has the state done for the convict? Nothing. But,
we have taken the money from his labor and have appropriated
and used same for every known purpose except one--the better-
ment of his unfortunate condition.27
The closing of Florida's first state prison coincided with the end
of Republican rule and Reconstructionist policies in the state and elsewhere
throughout the South. The Florida plantocracy, who dominated the state's
economy before and after the Civil War, was once more in political as-
cendancy following the sweeping election of their Bourbon Democratic sup-
porters into office.
The loss of so much black labor, following the end of the Civil War,
was a serious blow to Florida's disrupted economy which, before hostilities,
counted almost half its population as slave. The Florida plantocracy in
league with conservative Democrats attempted to coerce former slaves into
renewed subservience through the passage of the Black Codes and the formation
of secret terrorist organizations such as the Klu Klux Klan. Florida's
courts sentenced a disproportionate number of blacks to the state prison.
The Republican Reconstructionists, with authority over the state
prison, attempted to create within its walls a self-supporting factory op-
erated by convicts trained and educated at the facility. These practices,
however, ran counter to the labor needs of Florida's agricultural, mining,
and railroad interests. As soon as the Reconstructionists were voted out
of power, in 1877, the state prison was closed and its convicts leased to
Replacement of the state prison by the convict lease system was a
victory for the Bourbon Democrats, many of whom were former slave owners
in need of a new source of cheap labor. Inmate rehabilitation through edu-
cation would have to wait well into the twentieth century, when a second
state prison was opened at Raiford, Florida, in 1914.
IJacksonville Sentinel, February 6, 1869.
2Senate Journal, "Governor's Message," (Tallahassee, Florida, June,
1868), p. 53.
Assembly Journal, "Governor's Message," (Tallahassee, Florida, 1868),
p. 70; Annual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida, (Adjutant
General's Department, 1873), p. 208; Mildred L. Fryman, "Career of a
Carpetbagger: Malachi Martin in Florida," Florida Historical Society Quarterly,
56 (January, 1978), pp. 321-322.
4Louie L. Wainwright, "A History of Florida's Correctional System"
(M.S. Thesis, Nova University, 1978), p. 11.
5Mildred L. Fryman, op. cit., p. 321.
6Ibid., pp. 328-329, 332.
7Jerrell Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet (Gainesville, Florida: University
of Florida Press, 1974), p. 285.
8Tallahassee Sentinel, July 24, 1869.
9Annual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (Adjutant
General's Department, 1874), p. 91.
S10enate Journal, "Governor's Message," (Tallahassee, Florida, 1874),
lAnnual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (Adjutant
General's Department, 1873), p. 207.
12Annual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (1874),
131bid., pp. 87-88.
14Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (Adjutant General's
Department, 1872), p. 136.
15Annual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (1873),
17Annual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (Adjutant
General's Department, 1875 and 1876), pp. 131-132.
18Annual Report of the Warden of the State Prison of Florida (1874),
Joe M. Richardson, The Negro in the Reconstruction of Florida, 1865-1877
(Tallahassee, Florida: The Florida State University, Florida State Studies,
No. 46, 1965), pp. 2-4, 162.
20John Wallace, Carpet-Bag Rule in Florida (Gainesville, Florida:
University of Florida Press, 1964), p. 249.
21Charlton Tebeau, A History of Florida (Miami, Florida: University
of Miami Press, 1971), p. 274.
22Senate Journal, "Governor's Message" (Tallahassee, Florida, 1833),
23J. C. Powell, The American Siberia, or, Fourteen Years Experience
in a Southern Convict Camp (Philadelphia: H. J. Smith, and Co., 1891), p. 18.
241bid., p. 22.
25Senate Journal, "Governor's Message" (Tallahassee, Florida, 1895), p. 7.
In the State Prison Report for 1892-1893, it notes "the convicts sentenced by
the various courts of the state to the state prison for the past two years
have been in the custody of the Hon. E. B. Bailey, whose lease was extended,
December, 1890, for the years 1892-1893, he to pay at the rate of $22.50
per annum for each convict. From this source the state receives over $10,000
per annum for the convicts" (pp. 119-120).
26Tallahassee Daily Democrat, May 12, 1923.
27Twelfth Biennial Report, 1911-1912 (Tallahassee, Florida: Department
of Agriculture, 1913), p. 10.
THE SECOND FLORIDA STATE PRISON: INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION TAKES ROOT (1913-1945)
Florida in the Early Twentieth Century
From 1914 until the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929,
Florida experienced unprecedented growth as the automobile and the railroad
linked all parts of Florida with other sections of the country. World
War I contributed to stimulating Florida's economy; Jacksonville shipyards
were busy building ships, while Florida's agriculture and naval stores
production contributed to America's war effort. The United States Navy
and Army fledgling air arms chose Florida for their major flight training
bases at Pensacola, Miami, and Arcadia. Key West was elevated to the status
of a major naval port.
After the war, cities such as Miami and Coral Gables grew over-
night as retirees and tourists sought refuge from the industrial North on
Florida's sunny beaches. A land boom attracted thousands more looking for
bargains throughout the lower peninsula, while the wealthy divided up Palm
Beach. The results of the influx were mixed. The head of the Florida
State Prison system and Commissioner of Agriculture William A. McRae re-
ported in 1921, that:
the great and systematic advertising which Florida has had for
the past twenty years, setting forth to the world her many and
splendid advantages, has attracted thousands of tourists, home-
seekers and investors in the State, and while this was very
desirable . another class, wholly undesirable, was also at-1
tracted, as is shown by the records of the courts of the state.
The passage of the Prohibition Amendment, in 1919, reopened
Florida's eighteen-hundred mile coastline to a modern style of smuggling.
High-powered motorboats were used for ferrying cases of whisky from ship
to shore. Gambling and prostitution flourished illegally as south Florida
became a playground for gangsters and the innocent in search of sin. The
rest of Florida, the "Cracker" Florida, indulged in moonshining and petty
Bradford Farms: The New State Prison at Raiford
The first tentative step towards creating a modern prison system
in Florida did not take place until 1911. In that year, the Prison Bureau,
staffed by one full-time clerk, was formed as a separate division within
the Florida Department of Agriculture which had been responsible for state
convicts since 1885. The new bureau improved the collection and compiling
of state prison statistical data.2
In 1913, the state legislature authorized the construction of a
new state prison. By the following year, the facility was ready to receive
convicts. Although officially known as Bradford Farms, it was, thereafter,
commonly called Raiford after the local township. State-derived profits
from convict leasing paid for the construction of the prison facilities
and the purchase of land to the sum of $290,000. Construction of the
physical plant and the clearing of seventeen thousand acres for farmland
were entirely done by prison labor at no cost to the state.3
The wooden buildings holding the prisoners were enclosed in a wire
fence stockade containing barrack-like dormitories with iron beds and at-
tached dining rooms. The prison grounds also contained a hospital, a smoke
house, two silos, and various service shops for maintaining and repairing
equipment and machinery.4 By the beginning of 1917, the inmate population
of Florida's prison system, including road camps, reached over sixteen
hundred, of whom 82 percent were black.5 Races and sexes were segregated
from each other within the prison compound.
The superintendent, D. W. Purvis, and many prison staff members
lived in homes near the stockade, rented to them by the state. Governor
Park Trammell (1913-1917) proudly described Raiford as having a modern
plant, including electricity, bathing facilities, sewerage, and screened
windows and doors. A legislative investigative committee, however, found
deficiencies: "the wards were too close together, the barns were over-
crowded, the design of the water system created a dangerous fire hazard
. and little has been produced at the farm in 1914."6
Since its founding in 1914, the State Prison at Raiford served as
a reception and work assignment center for anyone sentenced to the system.
All physically able inmates were sent to the statewide road camps of the
convict road force. Living conditions at the camps were poor; in many of
them, prisoners slept outdoors in wheeled cages.7 At Raiford, men who were
healthy enough worked in the fields and the women sewed, laundered, and made
As early as 1920, however, the prison was evolving into a new role.
A few industries were already operating, including a saw and planing mill,
iron foundry, shoe factory, and mattress factory. Of the approximately
seventeen thousand acres of prison land, four thousand were under cultivation
for large-scale agriculture, dairy, and livestock production. Grits, rice,
and cane mills, a corn crusher, oats thrasher, peanut picker, and bean
huller, were helping process the raw farm products. J. S. Blitch, the suc-
cessor to Superintendent Purvis, considered prison industries as a means
for making Raiford "permanently and successfully self-sustaining." Super-
intendent Blitch favored prison labor but believed "it is wrong and dis-
graceful to wreak blood money from their labor, or to treat them in any
way other than will bring about reformation."8
In 1916, Commissioner McRae expressed hope for establishing a school
and library at the prison, but nothing was done. In 1920, Superintendent
Blitch tested the literacy rate at Raiford and found that 33 percent of
the blacks and 20 percent of the whites were illiterate, and a greater number
could hardly read or write.9
Governor Cary Hardee (1921-1925) best expressed the attitude of the
state towards treatment of convicted felons when he proclaimed at his in-
auguration that "reform and rehabilitation, in short, might be worthy goals
but they could not be allowed to interfere with the paving of the highways." 10
During the administration of Governor John Martin (1925-1929), the
Florida State Legislature authorized the Board of Commissioners of Public
Institutions to establish and operate full-scale prison industries at Rai-
ford. Over the years the prison was transformed into a modern industrial
facility similar to the Auburn-style prisons operating in most of the other
states. The numerous wooden structures were replaced by a modern concrete
block administration building, dormitories for housing two hundred trustees,
a large mess hall, auditorium, and library. Two three-story, open-tiered
concrete and steel cell blocks capable of holding two thousand inmates were
also constructed. A self-contained power station and two factory buildings
for housing prison industries rounded out the refurbishing of the prison
The economic depression following the crash of 1929 had an immediate
impact on Florida. The state had already suffered economic reversals with
the collapse of the Florida land boom in 1926. The new governor, Doyle E.
Carlton (1929-1933), faced bank closures, property foreclosures, devalua-
tion, and a fruit fly infestation that threatened to destroy Florida's
citrus industry. Under such conditions, Raiford faced a new era.
The Chapman Era at Raiford: 1932-1956
In 1932, L. F. Chapman was appointed Superintendent of Raiford
Prison. Chapman came to the position with no prison experience whatsoever.
The son of Methodist missionaries to the Indians of the Southwest he had
worked as a newspaperman and a citrus grower. At the time of his appoint-
ment he was serving his first term as a representative in the state legis-
lature. During his tenure, in spite of limited depression funding, he
turned Raiford into a modern correctional institution.12
Under Chapman's leadership, Raiford continued to expand and modernize
its facilities. In 1932, a modern dairy building was added. In 1938, a
fully equipped, two-story hospital was constructed through funds provided by
the federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.).13
By 1939, the State Prison at Raiford operated a shirt factory,
mattress factory, tanning vat, shingle mill, saw mill, tag shop, tobacco
plant, shoe factory, chemical plant, and sewing room (for women). Combined
with farm, dairy, and livestock production, the total prison industrial
operation at Raiford and Belle Glade Prison Farm employed 445 prisoners.
Their productivity generated $269,714 in sales income, of which $36,387
was from sales on the open market.14
Chapman Establishes a School at Raiford
In the same year Chapman became superintendent, he suggested to his
staff that an informal school be opened for the white inmates, under the
supervision of the prison chaplain. The school met in a corner of the
prison auditorium for two-hour sessions, on three days of each week. The
classes were conducted by civilian staff from the records office, and some
of the better educated prisoners. Only those inmates who completed their
regular duties could attend classes on their free time. Beginning in 1935,
classes were held five days a week in the auditorium, attended by a regu-
larly assigned "school squad" of students and instructors. Inmates per-
mitted to enter the educational program were administered the Stanford-Binet
I.Q. test and the Stanford Achievement Test. Scores on the tests deter-
mined which classes inmates would be assigned to, and what kind of remedial
work they might need beforehand.15
Raiford Education Expands
The year 1937 marked a milestone in Florida inmate education. The
old, unused prison hospital building was remodeled into a permanent prison
school. The school offered a full adult education program, through the
first eight grades. A separate adult education school was formed for
"illiterate and undereducated Negroes." The school met at night and was
"governed by the rules used in the white school during the daytime."1 Vo-
cational courses, taught by inmate instructors, were available in horti-
culture, bookkeeping, mechanical drawing, and commercial art. Classes in
printing and typesetting met in the newly installed print shop. Some
courses were funded by the Work Progress Administration and the Federal
The school schedule at Raiford consisted of four one-hour-and-
twenty-minute day sessions with short recess periods. A semester lasted
three months. The progress of students was recorded on individual charts,
from which their future studies could be planned.17
The prison chaplain, L. 0. Sheffield, acted as the Director of
Education and W. C. Pendley held the position of principal. The school
was directly conducted by A. W. Bates and W. W. North who later served as
Education Director at Raiford until his-death in 1958. The instructors
were all volunteer inmates chosen for their high scores on the Stanford
Achievement Test and their prior educational background.18
A typical inmate teaching staff, in 1941, included seven college
graduates, two men with three years of college, and another six who had
completed high school. In order to ensure an adequate supply of inmate
instructors, inmates interested in teaching were carefully observed and
appraised by inmate teacher supervisors on their teaching performances.
Frequent meetings were held for discussing teacher-student problems that
arose during the teaching day. On occasion, the superintendent himself would
call together and conduct a "teachers' forum" for the purpose of improving
the teacher-training program and planning curriculum. According to the
prison official news journal the Raiford Record, the instructional staff
held precise notions about the suitability of inmates for instruction:
even well qualified men academically may not fit the need as a
teacher for the prison school. They may be too young and lack
the necessary tact to handle men in prison or they may be too old
to assimilate new ideas and prison view points. . In most
instances the teachers who are finally selected are first
offenders and they are men with a better than average background
for law violators.
In addition, the teachers of inmates need additional attri-
butes: the successful teacher of prison inmates must be a
diplomat, a psychologist, a disciplinarian, and a teacher, all
rolled in one. He must have infinite patience, for the minds with
which he has to deal are those which have usually been retarded
since childhood. These men do not readily assimilate the knowledge
of textbooks because they never really learned how to study. They
come to the schoolroom with minds which are confused by a multi- 19
tude of personal problems, and complete concentration is difficult.
Throughout the latter 1930s, student enrollment in education at
Raiford comprised a small proportion of the state's total inmate population.
Most able-bodied inmates were sent to road camps and the rest were assigned
to prison industries. In 1939, out of a total inmate population of 3600,
445 inmates worked in the prison industrial shops at Raiford and Belle
Glade, and 180 participated in educational programs either as students or
The Davis Report
James Davis visited Raiford in 1939 on behalf of the Federal Prison
Industries Reorganization Administration in Washington, D.C. While at
Raiford, Davis inspected the industrial and educational activities at the
facility. At that time he was told the student body numbered about 180
whites, of whom one-half were enrolled in horticulture. Blacks attended
class separately at night, while women inmates were not offered any edu-
cation programs. Davis described the financing of inmate education in
Florida's state penal system:
It is particularly interesting to note that there is neither
direct legislative authority nor mandate that such educational
work should be undertaken. Mr. W. N. North, the educational
director, is on the administrative payroll, is assisted by inmate
teachers and is dependent on the personal efforts of the super-
intendent for the continuation of his program.21
Inmate attendance at the school was hampered because according to the law
only seventy-five grade one classified inmates were retained at the prison.
All others were used on the roads. As a result, the school was in danger
of being almost emptied. Davis was told that inmates were restricted to
six months of schooling at a time, following which they had to complete
another six months of work before being eligible again for more education.
Public school districts near Raiford Prison donated whatever text-
books and equipment they could spare. Nevertheless, an adequate supply of
such material was a constant source of concern to the Raiford school ad-
Prisoners assigned to the state road camps could expect nothing in
the way of education. According to Davis, "training courses, educational
and recreational facilities and organized religious activities have no
place in the present road camp system and will not have as long as road
camp prisoners represent nothing more than so many hours of man labor."23
The War Years
The American entrance into World War II involved every sector of
the nation, as its energies and resources were focused on the destruction
of the Axis powers. The scope of the war required tapping all sources of
manpower available, including prison manpower. During the war years, the
federal prison population dropped 25 percent but the prison industry, in
one year, produced war goods worth over twenty million dollars.24
The prisoners at Raiford were urged to make their contribution to
the war effort. Inmates donated blood, purchased defense stamps and bonds,
helped mail OPA ration books, and worked thousands of hours overtime pro-
ducing a variety of items for use by the military.25
A bright spot in the educational picture at Raiford during the war
years was the establishment of its own high school in April, 1942. The
high school section was grouped around five departments: mathematics,
English, science, history, and language (offering French and Spanish).26
The library at Raiford was well supplied with up-to-date magazines,
newspapers and recently published books. The Textbook Service Division of
the State Department of Education shipped consignments of new textbooks to
the Raiford library and school on a fairly regular basis.
Belle Glade Prison Farm is Established
Between 1914 and 1949, only one other large prison facility for
adults was added to the Florida prison system.
Belle Glade Prison Farm (then officially known as Farm Number Two,
Farm Number One being Raiford Prison), was established in 1932 on over
twenty-four hundred acres of agricultural land, near the town of Belle
Glade in south central Florida. Intended as a medium security facility, it
held 176 inmates in 1939, of which 160 were black. By 1946, according to
an investigator, the farm's physical plant consisted of "a badly dilapi-
dated and overcrowded single-story barracks, a rather substantial sugar
mill, white and colored mess hall, five residences for the staff, and aux-
iliary maintenance and farm buildings" enclosed within a wire stockade.
It was not until 1960 that an instructor was appointed to instruct the
largely illiterate inmates in remedial reading.27
Florida's second state prison at Raiford was originally intended as
a clearing house for assignment of able-bodied convicts to the numerous
state-operated road maintenance camps. The prison itself was essentially
a huge farm operated by convicts who were classified as being too old or
infirm for rigorous work on the roads.
By 1925, with state support, the prison at Raiford had become an
agricultural and industrial plant that was to generate much-needed dollars
from sales of its products to state institutions and the public sector;
throughout the depression. Though the inmate operation and servicing of
the facility had grown more complex, there was no formalized program for
training or educating inmates until 1932. In that year, with the en-
couragement of the new superintendent, C. H. Chapman, the first prison
school was opened in Florida since the ill-fated attempt at education by
Warden Malachi Martin in the previous century.
Education survived at the facility because prison staff volunteered
to be teachers. Their work was supplemented by inmate instructors who
possessed some formal education. The education program made modest gains
without any financial support from the state. None of the revenue derived
from prison labor was invested in their education. Only a small amount of
money from the prison's canteen profits were used to support inmate educa-
tion. As late as 1953, only $1,530 was assigned to education,while athletics
Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Mayo, the chief administrator of
Florida's prisons, regarded convicted felons as a source of hard labor.
Education and training, according to Mayo, were "frills." S. L. Walters,
in charge of the prison division for Mayo, observed that "maybe I'm old-
fashioned, but I can't but believe five or six lashes were pretty good
medicine for a convict."29 As long as the Commissioner held power, this
view prevailed in Florida.
Seventeenth Biennial Report: 1921-1922 (Tallahassee, Florida:
Department of Agriculture, 1923), p. 263.
2Twenty-Third Biennial Report: 1933-1934 (Tallahassee, Florida:
Department of Agriculture, 1935), p. 7.
3Fourteenth Biennial Report: 1915-1916 (Tallahassee, Florida:
Department of Agriculture, 1917), p. 9.
4Ibid., p. 24.
5Ibid., p. 44.
6House of Representatives Committee on Corrections, Probation and
Parole, Report to the Legislature, "The Florida Correctional Process,"
(Tallahassee, Florida, April, 1978), p. 11.
7Nineteenth Biennial Report: 1925-1926 (Tallahassee, Florida:
Department of Agriculture, 1927), pp. 8-9.
J. S. Blitch, Florida's Prison System Today and Yesterday (A printed
version of a series of articles appearing in the Tampa Tribune, written by
the superintendent of the State Prison Farm at Raiford, Florida, n.d.), no
page numbers. Article Four "Establishing Industries." Also see Literary
Digest, "Brighter Side of Florida's Penal Methods," July 28, 1923, pp. 37-46.
J. S. Blitch, op. cit., Article Nine.
10Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, Staff Report on Corrections,
Parole and Probation, (Tallahassee, Florida, February, 1974), p. 146.
11Nathan Mayo, Prison Report (Tallahassee, Florida: Department of
Agriculture, 1955), p. 77. See also Select Committee on Corrections of
the Florida Legislative Council, Florida's Correctional System (Tallahassee,
Florida, January, 1955), p. 14.
12Tallahassee Democrat, May 22, 1955.
13James V. Bennett, The Florida State Correctional System: A Survey
and Recommendations (Washington, D.C.: Federal Bureau of Prisons, July 1,
1946), p. 4.
14James Davis, The Prison Problem in Florida: A Survey by the Prison
Industries Reorganization Administration (Washington, D.C.: Prison
Industries Reorganization Administration, June 13, 1939), pp. 33-42.
15Ibid., p. 10. See also Raiford Periscope, Vol. I, No. 6,(September 3,
16Raiford Periscope, Vol. I, No. 11 (November 12, 1937), p. 1.
17Ibid., p. 3.
18James Davis, op. cit., p. 10.
19The Raiford Record, Vol. 5, No. 4 (May-June, 1943), pp. 15, 31.
20James Davis, op. cit., pp. 11, 38.
21Ibid., p. 11.
22Raiford Periscope, Vol. I, No. 1 (March, 1939), p. 16.
23James Davis, op. cit., p. 72.
24The Raiford Record, Vol. 7, No. 4 (July-August, 1945), p. 4.
25The Raiford Record, Vol. 5, No. 4 (May-June, 1943), p. 5.
26The Raiford Record, Vol. 5, No. 3 (March-April, 1943), p. 15.
27James Davis, op. cit., p. 13; also James V. Bennett, pp. cit., p. 5.
28Florida Select Committee on Corrections, Florida's Correctional System
(Tallahassee, Florida, 1955), p. 18; also Division of Corrections, Second
Annual Report: 1959-1960 (Tallahassee, Florida, 1961), p. 15.
29Tampa Tribune, October 3, 1945.
THE POST-WAR ERA AND THE CRISIS OF FLORIDA CORRECTIONS:
THE EXPANSION OF INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION, 1945-1962
Florida in the Post-War Era
World War II helped open a new and prosperous era in Florida. The
influx of thousands of armed forces personnel and their families into or
near the state's numerous military training facilities, greatly increased
its population and enhanced its economy. Many of those who savored
Florida's pleasant climate during those years stayed on or else eventually
returned as tourists or permanent settlers in the decades following the war.
Between 1950 and 1970, Florida's population increased from below three million
to almost seven million. In the post-war years Florida's major cities
rapidly increased in size and population, particularly Miami, Jacksonville,
and Tampa-St. Petersburg. During the same period the dominant agricul-
tural economy was challenged by the steadily expanding tourist and recrea-
tion industry located throughout the southern portion of the Florida peninsula.
Problems in the Florida Prison System Become Public
Following the end of World War II, an increase in crime and felony
convictions in Florida overwhelmed the state's archaic penal system. It
led to prison problems which would eventually shake the system to its
foundations. Reports of deplorable conditions within the Florida prison
system began to surface in 1945. In September of that year, the Tampa
Tribune reported that "again and again there have been reports of cruelty
and oppression" towards inmates in the Florida penal system. Overcrowding,
beatings, and the widespread use of the "sweatbox" were common occurrences.1
Commissioner Mayo, upon taking over official responsibility for Florida's
prison system in 1923, approved the introduction of the three-foot-square,
portable, solitary confinement cells as a replacement for the strap. The
cells were so cramped that a prisoner was forced into an uncomfortable
crouch. Over the years the continued use of the sweatbox was roundly con-
demned by the press and reform groups. Nevertheless, Mayo rejected its
abolition. Instead, the commissioner told a reporter that: "I've never
heard any prisoner complain about being too hot." In fact, he said he had
heard of only one prisoner who suffered any ill effects from sweatbox con-
finement. "About 17 or 18 years ago, a guard neglected to give a Negro
enough blankets and he had his toe frozen; in that case it turned out to be
an icebox instead of a sweatbox."2
"Sweat," Mayo informed the public, "is the best remedy I know for
crime."3 When Governor Millard Caldwell (1945-1949) asked the commissioner
what could be done to eliminate brutal forms of punishment Mayo replied
sarcastically: "why take the prisoner down and put him to bed and give
him a novel to read."4 Mayo's outspoken views and penal practices ac-
cording to James Bachhus, an investigative reporter, "scandalized the state
and infuriated the political establishment."5
Mayo ignored the furor his policies and attitudes generated. Sweat
boxes continued in use until a new state law in 1957, removed the com-
missioner from control of Florida Corrections.
The Bennett Report and Florida Prison Reform
In response to the newspapers and prison reform organizations
critical of Florida's prison system, Governor Caldwell called for an in-
vestigation by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In 1946, the Director of the
Bureau James V. Bennett personally investigated Raiford and submitted the
results of his findings to the governor and his cabinet. The report, en-
titled: "The Florida State Correctional System: A Survey and Recommenda-
tions," made the following observations about the administration and
organization of the Florida penal system:
the Commissioner of Agriculture, an elected officer, is charged
under the Constitution with the responsibility for supervising
the state prison, which he administers by means of a Prison
Bureau . one of the twelve divisions of the department.
The day-to-day control and administration of the prison . .
is vested in the Board of Commissioners of State Institutions,
otherwise known as the Cabinet. . In actual practice the
Commissioner of Agriculture gives over-all supervision to the
prison . while the Cabinet disburses the funds and determines
general policies. . .
Conflicting authority and overlapping administration thus
seem to mark the "top-side" of Florida's correctional system.
Three state agencies--Agriculture, Institutions and Roads--divide
the serious and difficult business of caring for and treating
Bennett also pointed out that "the State Road Department and the
Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture have primary responsibilities in
fields not connected with the custody of prisoners and members of the
Cabinet have manifold duties in unrelated fields."7 He found that "those
authorized to spend state funds for prisoners' care are divorced depart-
mentally from the responsibilities of day-to-day administration." The
overall lack of planning resulting from this division of authority negated
any attempts to establish any "guiding philosophy for the training and
treatment of prisoners sentenced by the courts,"9 creating a lack of
policy for the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Bennett reported that
vocational training and academic education are largely unknown
at the prison. On the day of inspection, out of a population
of 1,322, there were only 32 prisoners in the poorly equipped,
bleak educational building at Raiford. This number included the
inmate instructors. A room in the white women's wing at the
prison is assigned to school and library work, but as could be
determined it was utilized as the dining room for the unit staff.10
Director Bennett offered specific suggestions for improving the
organization and administration of Florida Corrections:
centralization of all prison affairs in a new department of
correction working under the state cabinet instead of the
present three-agency control (Board of Commissioners of Public
Institutions, The State Road Department and the Department of
Agriculture). . General renovation of dilapidated institu-
tion buildings, construction of a central female correctional
institution, construction of larger, permanent road camps . .
selection of prison employees on a merit basis . adoption
of a classification program designed to treat each prisoner as
an individual in an effort to get maximum results from rehabili-
tation efforts . establishment of adequate educational programs
to curb idleness and improve their education.11
The effects of the Bennett report were muted, producing limited im-
mediate results as long as Commissioner Mayo administered the state's penal
system. The findings, however, would lead to far-reaching consequences,
serving as a catalyst for a major reform of the Florida correctional system
which would take place eleven years after the report was issued.
Crisis in the Florida Penal System
By 1954, the Florida correctional system was seriously overcrowded,
in spite of additional new facilities. Raiford, considered crowded in 1946
with 1,322 prisoners was forced eight years later to accommodate 1,942
Superintendent Chapman at Raiford noted "the steady increase in
prison population . the steady increase in white prisoners and the de-
crease of Negro prisoners . and the vast percentage of prisoners who
have come from out of state." 12 The conditions, Chapman warned, were
reaching intolerable limits at Raiford. "More than 200 prisoners are now
housed in two buildings of the quonset type and some of them sleep in tiers
three deep. Good sanitary conditions are impossible in such circumstances
and security is likewise impossible."13
In April of 1955, J. G. Godwin, an assistant superintendent at
Raiford Prison, was killed during an unsuccessful prison break by an inmate.
The following May, Florida experienced its first major prison rebellion.
Some two hundred prisoners, protesting poor living conditions, rioted at
Raiford, resulting in the death of one inmate and thousands of dollars
damage to prison facilities.
Five months before the Raiford riot, Superintendent Chapman retired.
Firm, but essentially fair, he had led the prison through a depression, a
war, and an unsettling post-war era. During his tenure, despite limited
funding, he tried to transform Raiford into a modern correctional institu-
tion. He alone can be credited with reintroducing inmate rehabilitation
through education into the Florida correctional system after a hiatus of
over half a century.
Nathan Mayo and Florida Corrections
The retirement of Superintendent Chapman and the rising chorus of
criticism aimed at Florida Corrections climaxed at a time when its aging
chief administrator, Commissioner of Agriculture Nathan Mayo, was ill from
cancer. Despite his growing incapacitation, he refused to relinquish
the position he would hold for a total of thirty-seven years, until his
death in 1960.
Nathan Mayo entered politics as a Marion County Commissioner in
1913. By 1923 he had twice been elected to the State House of Representa-
tives. As Chairman of the House Committee on Convicts, he came into his
first direct contact with Florida prisons. In that capacity, he helped
rid the state of the last vestiges of the convict lease system. In 1923,
Governor Cary A. Hardee appointed Mayo Commissioner of Agriculture. Ap-
propriately, the new appointee had made his livelihood in farming, live-
stock, flour milling, cotton ginning, and naval stores; all the major
sources of wealth for Florida's plantocracy.
In a state whose wealth was primarily agricultural, the Commissioner
of Agriculture could wield an uncommon degree of political power. Mayo
could count on the state's well-organized agricultural groups for support.
Martin La Godna, the Commissioner's political biographer, believed that
as a cabinet member, Mayo had a voice equal with the governor's
in many decisions affecting the whole state. If a governor bucked
him, he could strike back or, as was his usual habit, simply wait
for a new, more amiable governor since, until 1955, the chief
executive could not succeed himself.14
His powerful hand was further strengthened from fees collected for agri-
cultural services, making his department financially semi-autonomous. Ac-
cording to a former State Senator Edward H. Price, Jr.: "Nathan Mayo may
have been the strongest political figure in Florida during its entire
history."15 During his tenure Commissioner Mayo encouraged the modernization
of Florida's agriculture, helping make the state one of the nation's leading
food producers. The state's pride in the progress of its agricultural
economy, however, was somewhat diminished by the adverse publicity
created by its archaic penal system.
The Florida Corrections Code of 1957
In 1955, Florida elected a liberal Democratic administration led by
Governor Le Roy Collins (1955-1961). Collins ran on a platform of progres-
sive leadership and social stability as a means of attracting industry to
Florida.16 In keeping with his political program the governor helped
initiate reform legislation of the state's penal system.
James C. Merritt, the state's assistant attorney, who was responsible
for drafting the new penal legislation, noted that "Florida's archaic
penal system, considered by many the most sordid aspect of our state govern-
ment, seems finally destined for a complete overhaul."17 The final result
passed by the state legislature, the Florida Correction Code of 1957, marked
a major turning point in the history of Florida Corrections.
The new Code created a Division of Corrections independent of the
Department of Agriculture and solely responsible to the state's Board of
Commissioners of State Institutions, headed by the governor. The Code
granted the new Division a large degree of autonomy in the administration
of essential prison programs and services.
For the first time in Florida's history, the legislature specifically
authorized the implementing of inmate rehabilitation through education by
providing prisoners with access to education "to be given by public or
private educational agencies of the state."18 All inmate education programs
were placed under the scrutiny and approval of the State Board of Education.
The Code further stated that:
(1) The board shall establish educational programs for the prisoners
under the jurisdiction of the department utilizing personnel of
the department, or by arranging for instruction to be given by
the public or private educational agencies of the state.
(2) The director shall cooperate with the county board of public
instruction and the state department of education, who may
establish and maintain classes for prisoners under the juris-
diction of the department to provide instruction of a vocational,
adult or academic nature designed to meet the needs of said
prisoners. Such instruction is to be under the supervision and
control of the county board of public instruction in which the
institution is located. For the organization and operation of
these classes, county boards of instruction are authorized to
expend funds available to them either from local powers or through
the minimum foundation program as provided by the law.19
Progress of Inmate Rehabilitation Through Education: 1957-1962
Up until 1957, Florida did little for inmate education. The state
ignored the educational needs of its prisoners. With the passage of the
new Code, Florida finally acknowledged the need for a full-scale program of
inmate rehabilitation through education.
At Raiford Prison, R. E. Upton assumed the role of Acting Director
of Education upon the death of W. N. North, in June of 1958. North had
guided inmate education at Raiford through the latter years of the De-
pression, World War II and the Post-war era with minimal help or encourage-
ment from Tallahassee.
The new director's immediate tasks called for "a complete revision
of the academic program for the first eight grades."20 Upton planned to in-
crease the enrollment of qualified inmates in academic studies and vocational
training. He hoped to obtain modern visual aids and replace the "outdated
texts now in use with the latest editions of state textbooks."21 In September
of 1958, two salaried teachers were hired one for academic subjects and the
other for vocational agriculture. This was the first modest attempt at
eventually eliminating the widespread use of inmate instructors. By
January of 1959, an additional instructor was added because of increased
For the next two years, Director Upton submitted educational plans
and budgets to the new superintendent at Raiford, De Witt Sinclair. Upton's
plans included a recommendation for opening a job placement office for
trained inmates. During this same period, two new vocational classrooms
were constructed for teaching courses in office machine repair and radio-
Financing of Inmate Education Increases
Beginning in 1958, inmate education was included in the state's
Minimal Foundation Program operated by the Florida Department of Education.
The program funded improvements in public educational facilities throughout
the state so as to assure equal educational opportunities for all its
pupils. With sufficient Minimal Foundation Program funding and supple-
mentary allowances from the Division of Corrections, education departments
were established or expanded in all major prison facilities. Programs
focused on upgrading the basic academic and vocational skills of the in-
mates, 75 percent of whom had never advanced beyond the eighth grade. Of
the total inmate population, only 1 percent had passed beyond the eleventh
The results of the new concern for inmate education were soon forth-
coming. Between 1960 and 1962, with increasing financial support, inmate
student enrollment at Union Correctional Institution rose from about seventy
to over two hundred. The civilian, full-time teaching staff increased
to seven. During the same two-year period, 115 diplomas and certificates
of achievement were awarded to over 400 inmate students matriculating at
Florida State Prison.24
Adult education programs in county school districts, through spon-
sorship of the State Department of Education, were established in thirty
of the state's thirty-six road prisons, offering opportunities to earn
high school equivalency diplomas.25
The Florida Correctional Institution at Lowell, for women offenders,
established business training courses in typewriting, shorthand, book-
keeping, and office procedures. In June, 1960, twenty of the facility's
inmates graduated with high school diplomas.
Richard 0. Culver Appointed Director of Florida Corrections
After searching for a strong administrator to carry out the reform
of the Florida correctional system, Governor Le Roy Collins selected the new
Division of Corrections Director from the ranks of the federal prison
system. The new administrator, Richard 0. Culver, was highly endorsed by
the federal prison director, James V. Bennett. At the time of his selection,
Culver was warden of the federal reformatory at Petersburg, Virginia, and
a twenty-year veteran of the federal prison system.
When the new division director assumed his post in 1957, the
Florida correctional system had expanded to include five major institutions
and thirty-six road camps spread across the state. The inmate population
numbered nearly six thousand.27
Director Culver immediately tackled the major problems of Florida
Corrections using the broad general authority granted him by the Cor-
rectional Code of 1957. Applying its mandate, Culver established new
organizational policies and administrative rules carried out under a
single, unified operation.
The new correctional administration replaced punishment with
modern rehabilitation policies and practices. Education was now considered
the primary method of inmate reformation. A first step in the program was
the authorization for the construction of a Reception and Medical Center
for processing all new inmates into Florida Corrections. The Center
opened in 1966, at Lake Butler, Florida, near the Raiford Prison complex.
At the Center inmates are classified, tested, and evaluated for educational
The Culver-Johns Feud
The Corrections Department also turned its attention to the
personnel of the newly organized system. Louie L. Wainwright, Florida's
present head of Corrections, reports that Culver's efforts to tighten
control over the entire department was "met with considerable resistance
from the superintendents of the various institutions who had operated in-
dependently prior to the creation of the Division in 1957."28 When the new
agency attempted to improve the quality of the prison staff by instituting
a merit system and firing incompetents, the action was met by an outcry
of protest from within the organization and from outside politicians
fearing they might lose their patronage prerogatives.
Nevertheless, the state administration seemingly supported Director
Culver's replacement of incompetent political appointees with formerly
retired federal prison personnel. One newspaper reported, "the Cabinet,
which the Legislature authorized to run the prison with personnel of its
own selection, has given Culver a full vote of confidence."29
The State Senate, however, decided to create a committee and in-
vestigate Director Culver's correctional policies and practices, with the
intention of replacing Culver. A member of the State Senate Investigating
Committee, Charley E. Johns, led the attack on the director.30
Charley Johns was an old-timer in Florida politics, having entered
the Florida House twenty-five years earlier. From 1953 to 1954, Johns
had served as acting governor of the state. His political constituency
included Raiford Prison, a prime patronage plum. Johns initiated a
campaign to discredit Director Culver's policies with the aim of eventually
having him ousted from his position.
Prior to a showdown meeting he planned to have with Culver, Johns
wrote to the State Prison at Raiford recommending that it hire a Lawtey,
Florida constituent of his, who was "deserving and needed a job," noting
that some of his previous employment recommendations had been ignored. "If
he does not get the job I will be hard to live with," said Johns.31 The
senator described his choice for the prison as "a fine boy, but his educa-
tion is limited. He can sign his name, but his reading is poor."32 The
matter was not handled to John's satisfaction, and he called for a private
meeting with Director Culver. The visit was held at Raiford Prison. Ac-
cording to Johns, "Culver cursed me out for complaining against his importing
of a lot of out-of-state retired federal men for jobs men already working
in our prisons were qualified for."33 Johns expressed the view that
"Culver's idea that a man must have a high school education to carry a gun
is asinine."34 The Johns-instigated feud had reached its climax and
needed settling if progress was to be made in building a new state cor-
In the end Johns was to have his way. Governor Collins, bowing
to the constitutionally questionable activities of the State Senate In-
vestigating Committee, fired Director Culver in early 1959 and replaced
him with the Director of the State Beverage Department, H. G. Cochran, Jr.
The Cochran Interlude
The appointment of H. G. Cochran, Jr. as the new Director of the
Florida Division of Corrections in early 1959 helped calm the furor created
by the Culver-Johns feud. In the three years of his appointment, the
Florida Division of Corrections continued to expand. The inmate population,
in June of 1962, reached eight thousand. By 1961, the state's five major
correctional facilities and thirty road prisons provided inmate education
programs. In that same year, the state legislature authorized the construc-
tion of two more major facilities.35
Probably Director Cochran's most enduring contributions to Florida
Corrections were the steps he took to organize, centralize, and improve a
number of correctional policies and practices on a statewide basis. To
achieve this, uniform accounting methods, and formalized policies and pro-
cedures were published. Cochran created a new, centralized records section
with control over movement, location, and confinement of all inmates in the
system. An Advisory Council on Adult Correction and Prison Industries was
established to supervise inmate rehabilitation through education and mean-
ingful work. In 1962, the director unexpectedly resigned and entered private
Despite the widely advertised problems encountered by Florida
Corrections between 1945 and the resignation of Corrections Director
H. G. Cochran, Jr. in 1962, the state began taking the first major steps
towards creating a modern correctional system that promoted inmate re-
habilitation through education. During this period Apalachee and Sumter
Correctional Institutions were specifically built for incarcerating youth-
ful first offenders in an environment emphasizing rehabilitation through
academic and vocational education. In 1956, all female inmates were trans-
ferred from Raiford to the new Florida Correctional Institution for Women
at Lowell, Florida.
Avon Park Correctional Institution, established in 1957, repre-
sented the most modern penological institution opened in Florida up to that
time. It emulated the nationally recognized "open prison" concept of in-
carceration as then practiced at a model state prison in Chino, California.
In 1961, all the road prisons were transferred from the State Road
Department to the Division of Corrections, ending years of controversy over
the treatment of prisoners assigned to road details.
Overcrowding, a major problem of the Florida prison system since
the 1940s, was further complicated by the question of where to assign the
growing number of inmates classified as requiring maximum security super-
vision. The prison at Raiford, the only major facility capable of holding
a large number of maximum security inmates, was dangerously overcrowded.
In order to alleviate the problem a new facility, designated the East Unit,
about a mile away from Raiford Prison, was opened in 1960, with a capacity
to hold 1,330 inmates in individual cells. The East Unit was eventually
renamed the Florida State Prison, and Raiford Prison became officially
known as Union Correctional Institution. Despite the addition of new
prison space, the growth of the inmate population would continue to
create problems for Florida in the years to come.
ITampa Tribune, September 28, 1945.
2Tampa Tribune, September 26, 1945.
5Commnittee on Corrections, Probation and Parole of the Florida House
of Representatives, Report to the Legislature: The Florida Correctional
Process (Tallahassee, Florida, April, 1978), p. 26.
6james V. Bennett, The Florida State Correctional System: A Survey
and Recommendations (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Prisons, July 1, 1946),
7Ibid., p. 3.
8Ibid., p. 5.
9Ibid., p. 7.
10Ibid., p. 15.
11Ibid., pp. 1-2.
12Thirty-Third Biennial Report: 1953-1954 (Tallahassee, Florida,
Department of Agriculture, 1955), p. 2.
13Ibid., p. 3.
14Martin M. LaGodna, The Florida State Department of Agriculture During
the Administration of Nathan Mayo, 1923-1960. Ph.D. Dissertation, University
of Florida, 1970, p. 136.
15Ibid., p. 135.
16Charlton Tebeau, A History of Florida (Miami, Florida: University
of Miami Press, 1971), p. 442.
17James C. Merritt, quoted in The Florida Correctional Process,
(April, 1978), p. 33.
18Laws of Florida (1957), Ch. 944-945, pp. 3007-3019.
19 Ibid., pp. 3009-3010.
20The Raiford Record, Vol. 20, No. 4 (July-August, 1958), p. 15.
21Ibid., p. 15.
R. E. Upton, Jr., An Approach to Rehabilitation through Education
(Raiford, Florida, 1959), p. 13.
24Education Department Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Raiford, Florida:
Florida State Prison, June 30, 1960), p. 1; see also Third Biennial Report:
July 1, 1960 June 30, 1962 (Tallahassee, Florida: Division of Corrections),
25Third Biennial Report: July 1, 1960 June 30, 1962, o2. cit., p. 14.
26Second Biennial Report, July 1, 1959 June 30, 1960 (Tallahassee,
Florida: Division of Corrections, 1960), p. 15.
27Louie L. Wainwright, A History of Florida's Correctional System:
1832-1978, Master's Thesis, Nova University, 1978, p. 40.
23Ibid., p. 42.
29Tallahassee Democrat, December 16, 1958.
31Tallahassee Democrat, April 16, 1959.
35Louie L. Wainwright, op. cit., p. 43.
THE WAINWRIGHT ERA IN FLORIDA CORRECTIONS: INMATE REHABILITATION
THROUGH EDUCATION COMES OF AGE, 1962-1980
Florida's Economy Expands and Diversifies
The 1960s signaled a new era of dynamic economic growth for Florida.
President Kennedy's promise to make America first to reach the moon greatly
accelerated the space launch program at Cape Canaveral. Scientists and
engineers from all over the nation moved to Florida. In the wake of the
space program, a number of high technology oriented companies, such as
Martin Marietta, opened plants and offices in the state.
During this same period agribusiness became an important economic
factor in Florida agriculture. Firms such as Coca-Cola and Ralston Purina
developed large scale agricultural industries resulting in major citrus and
vegetable crop yields. Agribusiness farms attracted migrant workers from
throughout America and elsewhere.
The state's favorable climate and easy access to ocean or gulf sea-
shores contributed to Florida's popular image as a vacation haven. Through-
out the 1960s and 1970s, the tourist and recreation industry emerged as a
major economic force in the state. Mammoth recreation complexes such as
Sea World and Disney World helped attract tourists from all over the world
in greater numbers. Employment opportunities expanded over most of the
state though much of it was of a seasonal nature.
Florida's Population Growth and Urbanization
Since 1960, Florida's population doubled from about five million
to nearly ten million. Between 1970 and 1980, 92 percent of the population
increase was due to net migration into the state from elsewhere. Over the
past twenty years, Florida has served as a haven for Cuban and Haitian
refugees escaping from political and economic oppression in their home
countries. Upwards of over 850,000 immigrants of Hispanic origin have
greatly contributed to the growth of metropolitan areas such as Miami and
Tampa, resulting in a dramatic shift in the cultural and demographic
composition of the lower Florida peninsula.1
Crime Growth in Florida
Along with the population increases and urbanization, crime in
Florida has also grown in the past twenty years. In 1980 alone, all violent
crime in Florida increased by 27 percent, according to James W. York, Com-
missioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Furthermore, the
The disturbing progression in the growth of crime in our
state continues. Since 1977, the volume of index crimes
has risen on an annual basis by 3.6, 6.8, 12.1 and now 18
percent. The numbers authenticate a dangerous trend. Vio-
lent crimes of the kind that drive citizens behind locked
doors are rising drastically. Last year murder increased
28 percent. Robbery, spurred by worsening economic conditions,
leaped almost 54 percent . the increase in crime is not
confined to our larger cities. While crime in metropolitan
areas has increased 24.1 percent, smaller cities reflect a
16.5 percent increase, and even our rural areas are affected
by a 14.3 percent increase in crime. The potential for a
crisis in crime is fast approaching the probability stage.2
Florida's Illegal Drug Problem
Florida's dubious distinction as America's drug capital has added
a sinister and violent dimension to the state's overall crime problem. In
1981, a national news magazine reported that: "seventy percent of all
cocaine and marijuana enters the United States through Florida."'3 The
1,800 miles of coastline, flat terrain, widespread wilderness and forest
areas offer easy access into the state for drug smugglers coming from the
Caribbean by ship or airplane. The quick profits gained from drug smuggling
has attracted a growing number of Floridians, including both public officials
and private citizens. According to a press report, "law enforcement of-
ficials say almost every police agency in the state (of Florida) has been
touched in some way by drug corruption."4 Drug dealing is estimated to be
the state's most profitable business, totalling between seven to ten billion
dollars a year. The federal and state criminal justice systems have had
little success in controlling the illegal importation, manufacture, and sale
of drugs. According to its Annual Report, Florida's Department of Cor-
rections, as of June 30, 1980, held 1,285 felons convicted of illegal nar-
cotics possession, but only four for illegal narcotics sale and manufacture.5
The Wainwright Era: Problems and Progress in
Florida Corrections, 1962-1980
In June 1962, H. G. Cochran unexpectedly resigned as Director of the
Florida Division of Corrections. The following month, Louie L. Wainwright
was appointed Director by Governor C. Farris Bryant (1961-1965). The new
prison chief was a native of Lawtey, Florida, nearby the state prison at
Raiford where he first worked as a guard. In 1957, Wainwright, by then a
captain, was transferred to Avon Park Correctional Institution, becoming its
superintendent by year's end. The Avon Park correctional facility was
a new showcase prison modeled after the experimental Chino, California
"open" institution. As a result of Superintendent Wainwright's demon-
strated administrative abilities during his five years at Avon Park,
Director Cochran, with the endorsement of the powerful state senator
Charley E. Johns, recommended him to the governor as his replacement.6
The new director assumed leadership of Florida Corrections in a period of
social unrest kindled by civil rights agitation and a growing opposition
to the Viet Nam War throughout the country.
During the approximately two decades between 1960 and 1980 of the
Wainwright era, the Florida correctional system added twenty major facilities
to the five already operating in 1960. During this same period, the Florida
Corrections staff rose from about 1,000 to 8,900 and the inmate population
more than tripled in size, from about 6,000 to just below 20,000. The
size of the Florida Department of Corrections, in 1980, ranked fourth in
the nation, exceeded only by New York, California, and Texas.7
Since Florida Corrections was first created as a separate agency of
state government in 1957, it has undergone several major reorganizations. In
1969, the Division of Corrections was placed under the newly formed Depart-
ment of Health and Rehabilitative Services. The new Department acted as
an umbrella agency encompassing a wide range of state human service organi-
zations. Administration of the huge superagency proved to be too unwieldy
and inefficient. In 1975, the State Legislature passed the Correctional
Organization Act which authorized the establishment of an independent, up-
graded Department of Offender Rehabilitation. The Department's name was
once again changed, in 1978, to the Department of Corrections.
The Wainwright era in Florida Corrections also witnessed some dis-
turbing events which helped prod the state's lawmakers into funding the
construction of a modern prison system.
In 1967, the old wooden barracks at a state prison road camp out-
side of Jay, Florida, caught fire, killing thirty-eight inmates. Shortly
before the fire, a prison inspector had given the facility a satisfactory
Overcrowding and desegregation of the prison system in the 1960s
sparked a number of violent incidents, culminating in a bloody race riot at
Sumter Correctional Institution in May of 1963, injuring sixty-seven inmates.
The facility, originally designed to house 576 inmates, instead held about
800 at the time. In February, 1971, a riot broke out at the Main Unit of
Florida State Prison at Raiford, injuring sixty-three inmates.9 In one
year, 1975, 4,294 convicted felons were admitted into the state correctional
system, "a number" according to Secretary Wainwright "greater than the total
inmate population in any one of 32 states."10 The overcrowding was so
critical that tents and equipment were borrowed from the National Guard and
used for housing 280 inmates on the sports field of Florida State Prison.
The construction of additional cells capable of holding 1,850 beds still
proved to be insufficient. A class action suit (Costello vs. Wainwright),
initiated by a group of inmates in 1972, demanded a reduction of prison
overcrowding and an improvement in the medical facilities.11
Nevertheless, progress was being made throughout Florida's cor-
rectional system as the state lawmakers supported its modernization. In
1980, Secretary Wainwright outlined some of the accomplishments that had
Despite the increase from 10,000 to 20,000 inmates (between
1972 and 1980), major improvements have been made. Health
care appropriations have increased from $382.33 per year per
inmate in Fiscal Year 1972-1973 to $668.45 per year per inmate
in Fiscal Year 1980-1981. The total amount appropriated for
operation of the prison system has increased from $35,935,680
in Fiscal Year 1972-1973 to $188,538,543 for Fiscal Year 1980-1981.
Finally, approximately $141,000,000 has been appropriated by
the Legislature1 since Fiscal Year 1972-1973 for the construction
of new prisons.1
The Endwright Task Force Program for Improving
Florida Inmate Education
Expansion of inmate education throughout the Florida correctional
system was spurred on by an important inmate education report issued in
1967 entitled: "A Plan for Expansion and Development of Education De-
partments of the Florida Division of Corrections." The plan was developed
under the direction of Correctional Education Coordinator, David K.
Endwright and a task force of education experts from Florida State Uni-
versity and the Florida Department of Education. The Endwright Task
Force study outlined a strategy for a major revamping and expansion of
inmate education in the state's correctional system. The study called for
close cooperation between the Division of Corrections and the Department of
Education. Important goals cited in the report included the replacement
of all inmate instructors with state certified instructors, and the up-
grading of all inmate education facilities to meet state accreditation
standards. A new and innovative curriculum was recommended for all grade
levels of academic and vocational education. The study advised that post-
secondary education should be provided in association with the state's
community colleges and universities.
Endwright's research team suggested the establishment of a teaching
internship program in conjunction with the state colleges of education.
The plan envisioned inmate education facilities as student teacher centers.
The proposed internship program could be offered for course credit to
graduate and undergraduate students majoring in fields such as adult edu-
cation, physical education, vocational education, educational administra-
tion, and the behavioral sciences as well. Such an arrangement, the task
force reasoned, would help recruit future teachers for the correctional
The Endwright task force plan for improving inmate education served
as a major guideline for future governors and legislatures, who in the
ensuing years enacted many of its recommendations.
Objectives of Florida Inmate Education
The process of centralizing the administration and planning of in-
mate education nn a statewide basis was boosted by the creation of the
Bureau of Education and Career Development in 1974. In 1975 the Bureau
issued a new study for improving inmate education entitled: "A Plan for
Comprehensive Academic and Vocational Education." The purpose of the plan
was to develop a strategy for carrying out the provisions of the Correctional
Reform Act of 1974. The Act authorized expanded education and job training
opportunities for the state's convicted offenders. The plan presented the
1. To establish a system of accountability in the education
department of each institution.
2. To develop extensive learning laboratories for individualized
instruction in basic skills. Occupational education should be
correlated with basic academic subjects.
3. To require that teachers, in addition to meeting state certifi-
cation requirements in their field of specialization, participate
in adult education staff development programs which may consist
of course work, workshops, etc.
4. To broaden the educational curriculum to include more social
and coping skills, particularly consumer and family life
5. To develop vocational programs relevant to the employment world
and based on factors related to increasing the offenders'
a. Vocational needs of inmate population.
b. Job market analysis of existing and emerging occupations.
c. Job performance analysis, including skills and knowledge
needed to acquire the occupation.
6. To develop a set of measurable behavioral objectives appropriate
to all academic and vocational programs.
7. To conduct active in-service teacher training programs at all
institutions, providing information on the latest trends, methods,
and innovations in the various fields.
8. To establish class size on a ratio of 12 students to 1 teacher.
9. To use an academic and vocational advisory council to assist
and advise in the growth and development of programs. The council
should include members from various agencies representing both
academic and vocational education.
10. To establish an active job placement program to help residents
find employment related to skills training received.
11. To provide a variety of instructional materials including audio
tapes, teaching machines, books and television to stimulate
individual motivation and interest.
12. To utilize the services of local colleges, vocational schools,
public school systems, federally funded projects, and community
action groups when practical.
13. To involve not less than 60% of the educationally deficient inmates
in a full or part time education program.4
Growth of Florida Inmate Education: 1962-1980
Much progress was made between 1962 and 1980 in reaching many of
the objectives established by the two Florida Corrections inmate education
plans. In 1951, the first year of the high school equivalency program,
thirteen Raiford inmates were awarded General Education Development
(G.E.D.) diplomas. In the year 1980, the number of G.E.D. diplomas earned
by inmates reached 1,300. Between 1972 and 1980 inmate enrollment in
vocational education and on-the-job training programs rose from 415 to
over 2,600. In this same period all inmate education enrollments in-
creased from approximately 3,000 to over 7,000. In 1965, inmate education
opportunities were broadened with the introduction of post-secondary edu-
cation classes conducted by local community colleges.15
During the administrations of Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr. (1967-
1971), and Reubin O'D. Askew (1971-1979), funding for inmate education in-
creased substantially. In 1968, Governor Kirk signed into law a 1.5 million
dollar appropriation for classroom construction and equipment, and the ap-
pointment of additional teaching staff and administrators. In the 1980
fiscal year the budget for inmate education in Florida had grown to 6.5 million
dollars. Funding also included over one million dollars from federal grants
such as the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA Title I),
and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA).16
Beginning in 1968, inmate instructors were phased out of instruc-
tional duties as full-time state certified teachers were hired to replace
them. Instructional and administrative staff rose from 160 in 1973 to over
300 in 1975. In 1980, education personnel in Florida Corrections numbered
over 450, including librarians, counselors, recreation directors and
Legislative Support of Inmate Rehabilitation through Education
In 1974, the state legislature passed the Florida Correctional
Reform Act. The legislation emphasized the rehabilitation of the state's
confined felons through education. The law noted that Florida was
spending sixty million dollars to maintain its state correctional system
yet crime was still increasing. It regarded as a major source of the
the general inability of ex-offenders to find or keep
meaningful employment. Although ninety percent of all
offenders sent to prison return to society one day, the
correctional system has done little to provide the offender
with the vocational skills he needs to return to society
as a productive citizen.
These changes must not be made out of sympathy for the
criminal or out of disregard of the threat of crime to
society. They must be made precisely because that threat
is too serious to be countered by ineffective methods.18
The Act went on to authorize:
the development of plans for comprehensive vocational and
educational training of offenders and their evaluation within
each institution, program or facility of the Division based
upon the identified needs of the offender and the requirements
of the employment market to which he shall return upon release.19
In 1975, the Florida State Legislature again addressed the prison
problem by issuing the sweeping Correctional Organization Act, elevating
the Division of Corrections to departmental status. The Act states that
among the goals of the newly reorganized department is:
to provide rehabilitative programs which may include both
academic and vocational education to incarcerated offenders
and offenders being supervised in the community.20
The two laws added more support to the full-scale development of
a statewide inmate education program aimed at serving the academic, voca-
tional, and social-psychological skills and needs of all its incarcerated
Over the past twenty years of the Wainwright era, inmate rehab-
ilitation through education made dramatic gains in Florida. The Department
of Corrections has consistently encouraged and supported inmate education.
During this period the administration of inmate education was centralized
in Tallahassee, the state capital, and organized on a statewide basis.
Most of the state correctional facilities were provided with fully ac-
credited instructional staff, classrooms and offices. Course work was
broadened to include a wide spectrum of programs aimed at improving the
academic and vocational skills of inmates from elementary to college level.
Programs were also introduced which focused on inmates' social and psycho-
logical needs and problems.
Florida's prison industries also thrived. New product lines were
added and markets increased. In 1963, the state legislature authorized
the limiting of sales mainly to state institutions, county school boards
and sheriffs departments. The Bureau of Correctional Industries supervised
industrial and agricultural operations in six major correctional institu-
tions by the early 1970s. The facilities produced over one hundred products
with a sales value exceeding four million dollars.21
In 1976, the state legislature appropriated eleven million dollars
to the Corrections Industrial Trust Fund for investment in prison industrial
expansion. In the previous year sales from prison industries reached a
new high of almost eight million dollars.22
The Florida Department of Corrections, during the Wainwright era,
expanded its prison industries and provided more inmates with educational
opportunities than at any time in the history of the Florida prison system.
1The Bureau of Economic and Business Research, Florida Population
Statistics: 1970-1980 (Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press,
1981), pp. 5-6.
2Department of Law Enforcement, Annual Report (Tallahassee, Florida,
1980), p. iii.
3Newsweek, July 20, 1981, p. 30.
4Gainesville Sun, July 16, 1981.
5Department of Corrections, Annual Report: 1979-1980 (Tallahassee,
Florida), pp. 58, 61.
6Department of Corrections, Correctional Compass (Tallahassee, Florida),
August-September, 1962, p. 1.
7Department of Corrections, Annual Report: 1979-1980 (Tallahassee,
Florida), p. 2.
8Louie L. Wainwright, A History of Florida's Correctional System,
1832-1978, M.A. thesis, Nova University, 1978, p. 49.
9Ibid., p. 55.
10Ibid., p. 57.
11Ibid., p. 58.
12Department of Corrections, Annual Report: 1979-1980, op. cit., p. 14.
13David K. Endwright, A Plan for Expansion and Development of Education
Departments of the Florida Division of Corrections (Tallahassee, Florida,
1967), pp. 1-59.
14Division of Corrections, "A Plan for Comprehensive Academic and
Vocational Education," (Tallahassee, Florida, 1975), pp. 4-5.
15Department of Offender Rehabilitation, Overview of Education Programs
in the Department of Offender Rehabilitation (Tallahassee, Florida, 1978), p. 1.
See also, Department of Corrections, Division of Community Colleges-
Department of Corrections Cooperative Efforts (Tallahassee, Florida, 1979), p. 1.