Pennsylvania's Answer To Prison Riots
AbstractPennsylvania's Answer To Prison Riots SAGE Publications, Inc.1954DOI: 10.1177/003288555403400102 Ralph W.England UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA HE question, "What is Pennsylvania doing to prevent prison Triots?" might well be restated to read, "What effects have prison riots had on Pennsylvania's penal system?" The costly and shocking riots at Western Penitentiary and its then branch, Rockview, in January, 1953, and a "disturbance" at Eastern Penitentiary in May, served new and dramatic notice on the citizens and officials of Pennsylvania that its peno-correctional system was in urgent need of revision. Based upon an Act of 1829, each of the State's seven penal institutions have been governed by separate and largely autonomous boards of trustees. In 1869 a State Board of Public Charities was created, with advisory powers over state correctional and charitable agencies; a Prison Labor Commission was formed in 1915 to administer prison industries. The most recent step toward centralization, up to 1953, was the transfer of penal institutions to a Bureau of Corrections in the Department of Welfare in 1921. However, virtually complete autonomy remained with the boards of trustees; except for prison industries, the Bureau of Corrections' functions were advisory, and centralized correctional administration in Pennsylvania was still non-existent.