Read against the Fourth annual report of the inspectors of State prisons (1852) which is also included in the digital archive, this letter records many of the central conflicts between the New York Prison Association and the Inspectors of State Prisons. At the center of their debate was the constitutional amendment of 1846 which made the inspector a state-wide elected position. In this letter, the Prison Association explains why this change inaugurated a period of partisan and fickle prison governance. They also argue at length that the inspectors had become too beholden to wardens for their access to prisons, making them impotent to intervene in management and oversee proper financial transactions. These mid-century debates between the independently-operating Prison Association and publicly-elected Inspectors of State Prisons reveal important lessons about the divisions of power and interest in prison management.
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