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

J.K.P. Campbell, Monthly Report, September 1875

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J.K.P. Campbell, monthly report for September 1875

matter by me frequently both by letter, and Verbally. The Hospital accommodation
and food for the sick are not what they should be. Owing to the fact that 144
convicts have been sent out on plantations &c. this month quite a number of the
cells are destitute of suitable bedding—which I am assured will be supplied as
soon as cloth can be woven to make new mattresses[.]

On the morning of the 18th inst on reaching the Prison about 7 o’clock to my surprise
I found a stillness and quietness as if twere Sunday[,] the convicts all locked
up in their cells & the guards collected about in groups & idle; upon inquiry I
found that the guards had refused to do duty on account of having nothing to
eat[,] enough however were prevailed upon to take charge of the shops, & about 8
o’clock the men went to work[.] [T]he Convicts had nothing to eat for breakfast
that day but cold corn bread. I regret to say we had quite a number of
visitors who saw this Sumptuous Meal[.]

The outlaw I.[?] cell building is in very bad condition and has been so for 10
or 11 months[.] [A] portion of the roof was blown off by a storm[,] and the great concussion
caused by the explosion of the boiler of the saw mill last fall which opened
the joints of the tin roof—it leaks very badly, and when we have continued rain
the whole building becomes very wet[,] and the cells are not in a condition to be occupied
yet the men sleep in them. The Cabinet shop just south of this building leaks
equally as much. The Paint shop leaks very badly also—in fact every roof
about the entire prison needs repairing. The contract between the Lessees and the
state expressly provides that the buildings shall be kept in good repair[.]

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J.K.P. Campbell, Monthly Report, September 1875. Superintendent/Inspector, Reports, Records Relating to the Penitentiary, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: February 10, 2016