@Article{ crowe1956,
    author = {Jesse Crawford Crowe},
    title = {The Origin and Development of Tennessee's Prison Problem, 1831-1871},
    journal = {Tennessee Historical Quarterly},
    volume = 15,
    number = 2,
    month = {June},
    pages = {111-135},
    year = 1956,

p. 111 - Auburn system adopted in the 1830s, but as in other places, “profit-making ability” of the prison soon eclipsed concern with reformation of convicts, especially when state was faced with economic difficulty during Civil War and Reconstruction

p. 114 - At first a “state-account” system was used: “Under this system the state assumed all the losses and reaped all profits resulting from prison manufacturing.”

p. 115 - Primary concern of reformers in the 1840s and 1850s was detrimental effect of convict labor on free labor outside the walls

p. 116 - suggestion of “Rope and Bagging” or convict leasing in 1853 as a way to relieve competition with mechanics

p. 122 - by eve of war, “the fact was that Tennessee’s penal affairs were in a horrible condition. The spirit of retribution and punishment crowded out reformation; the profit motive remained paramount; unsanitary conditions prevailed; cell space was inadequate; moral and educational instruction was meagre; and no attempt was made to segregate the youthful from the older criminals.”

p. 122 - state debt after the war (totalling $43 million dollars, primarily through issuance of railroad bonds) combined with inability of prison to remain “self-sufficiency” during war created a crisis.

p. 123 - Increase in black convicts: “Before the war the number of such prisoners seldom reached 5 per cent of the total. Yet, by November 30, 1866, this proportion had increased to 52 per cent. Thirty-five months later 62 per cent of the 551 prisoners were listed as Negro. In this same period the number of Negro convicts increased from 165 to 353 while that of the whites rose from 146 to only 198” (Crowe’s explanation for this is Dunning-esque …)

p. 124 - quoting a report from the penitentiary directors from January 1868 concerning “petit larceny” convicts: “It is a matter of documentary proof that many criminals are sent here for offences ranging from eight cents, the value of a fence rail, to all intermediate sums not reaching $5, from remote counties of the State. … The great majority of the convicts are without any education or trade, merely grown up children, ignorant, not to say stupid, formerly slaves; and are sentenced, in most cases for ‘taking,’ as they express it, some article of provision of clothing from their employer, who refuses to pay them …” The same report notices the lapse of Sunday School materials and other reformatory efforts at the prison.

p. 126-7 - act leasing the penitentiary for four years passed in 1866, which authorized advertisement “for thirty days in newspapers of Tennessee and other states ‘for sealed proposals to employ by hire, the labor of all the convicts.’” The act divided control between a warden, selected by the directors, who would see to the prisoners’ welfare, and the lessee who would control their labor. J. L. Hyatt and C. M. Briggs secured the lease at a rate of forty-three cents per day.

p. 127 - fire on June 22, 1867, destroyed workshops; lessees demanded the state rebuild and would not pay the state until they were; a settlement was made so that work could go on, but further legal wrangling led to termination of lease on July 1, 1869

p. 128 - lessees later received a $132,000 settlement from state for improvements made