Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas Prison System&rsquot;s First Hundred Years 1848-1948

Excerpt from the Report of Superintendent L.A. Whatley, November 1, 1896

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Report of Superintendent L.A. Whatley, November 1, 1896


The Johnson farm is located seven miles west of Huntsville, and the
prison for females is situated thereon. There are at present in the Texas
State penitentiary 54 female convicts. Of this number, six are used as
domestics in and about the Huntsville penitentiary proper, and the re-
mainder are on the Johnson farm. There are forty-six negroes and eight
white women convicts.

This farm is operated on the share system and is under the direct man-
agement of Captain J.G. Bowden, who owns the land and receives one-
half the revenues.

While this farm has been admirably conducted in the main, and there
has never been any trouble whatever in connection therewith, it is a
source of constant anxiety to me. These women are worked daily on the
farm, and they must be guarded to prevent escapes, and they are com-
pelled to come in contact more or less with male employees of the
prison and others on the farm, and I am fearful that in spite of every
precaution we may use that immoral practices may be resorted to, unless
some other provision is made regarding them. While nothing of this
nature has ever yet been brought to light, yet, as before stated, the pos-
sibility of it is a source of worry and should be removed.

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Excerpt from the report of Superintendent L.A. Whatley, November 1, 1896. Reports of the Superintendent and Financial Agent of the Texas State Penitentiaries for Two Years Ending October 31, 1896. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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