Gershom Powers, agent and keeper of Auburn Prison, issued this report in 1826. It outlines "the main principles and practice of this institution… in pamphlet form, suitable for general circulation," and was later used to train newly appointed prison officers. Letters from reformers in Pennsylvania and Ohio are included after his preface, as well as from New York Governor DeWitt Clinton. Following these, Powers gives an account of the construction, management, and discipline of Auburn Prison; a compendium of criminal law; an abstract of the contracts first made with local manufacturers; a report on the trial of an officer for whipping a convict; a plan of the prison; as well as an index. Although Powers was the prison's second warden after Elam Lynds, it was really under his supervision that the Auburn System developed its distinct disciplinary style. While Powers could be less severe than Lynds with his use of the lash, he also emphasized the financial benefits of convict labor much more. He was a zealous advocate of the Auburn System, and his defense of it here illuminates key ideological differences with the Pennsylvania reformers. Be especially attentive to the rhetoric of subtle ridicule and self-aggrandizement in his report, a tone which is echoed back by the Pennsylvania System advocates in their Memorandum of a late visit to the Auburn penitentiary included in this collection.||Powers was later elected as a Jacksonian Democrat to the Twenty-first Congress (1829-31) when both houses of Congress were dominated by Jacksonians. During his single term in Congress he served as chairman of the committee on the District of Columbia, after which he was appointed inspector of Auburn Prison in 1830 until he died a year later. Interestingly, he was succeeded as U.S. Representative from New York by Ulysses F. Doubleday who published this report of Auburn Prison. For further information about how this publisher also connected Governor Enos T Throop, prison reformism, and the War of 1812, see The Cayuga Patriot fragment in this collection.
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