Chapter

The Rise of the Sunshine Prison

Edited by Vivien M. L. Miller

in Hard Labor and Hard Time

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039855
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043760 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813039855.003.0005
The Rise of the Sunshine Prison

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This chapter focuses on the state prison farm during Superintendent J. S. Blitch's period in charge, its expansion and development in the 1920s and early 1930s, inmate labor assignments and the development of an internal prison labor market, efforts to provide better welfare, health care, and leisure opportunities for orderly and obedient inmates, and experiments with industrial labor. A shirt factory opened in 1925, a shoe factory in 1926, a tag plant in 1927, and an underwear factory in 1928. However, as the Grade 2 prisoner population expanded significantly from 1926, an increasingly overcrowded state prison farm was plagued by security shortcomings. A dramatic breakout in 1927 led by inmate Al House spurred important physical changes to the prison farm estate. Construction of a steel and concrete cellblock in 1927 was the first in a series of important architectural changes to the state prison farm that transformed a ramshackle wooden prison farm into a concrete and steel maximum-security prison by mid-century.

Keywords: Al House; J. S. Blitch; prison industries; prison agriculture; trusties; honor system; inmate healthcare; escapes; Hawes-Cooper bill; women prisoners

Chapter.  12170 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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