A brief account of the construction, management, and discipline &c. &c. of the New-York State Prison at Auburn
- A brief account of the construction, management, and discipline &c. &c. of the New-York State Prison at Auburn
- 19th Century Prison Reform Collection
- G. Powers (1789-1831)
- Auburn, N.Y.; Printed by U.F. Doubleday
- Work Type:
- Auburn Prison.
Prisons > New York (State) > Auburn.
Prison administration > New York (State) > Auburn.
Criminal law > New York (State)
- 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.
- Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
- The content in the 19th Century Prison Reform Collection is believed to be in the public domain by virtue of its age, and is presented by Cornell University Library under the Guidelines for Using Text, Images, Audio, and Video from Cornell University Library Collections [http://hdl.handle.net/1813.001/CULCopyright]. This collection was digitized by Cornell University Library in 2017 from print materials held in the Rare and Manuscript Collections, with funding from a Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences Grant to Katherine Thorsteinson. For more information about these volumes, please contact the Rare and Manuscript Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.