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Hard Labor and Hard TimeFlorida's "Sunshine Prison" and Chain Gangs$
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Vivien M. L. Miller

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813039855

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813039855.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 06 December 2021

The Rise of the Sunshine Prison

The Rise of the Sunshine Prison

(p.106) 4 The Rise of the Sunshine Prison
Hard Labor and Hard Time
Vivien M. L. Miller
University Press of Florida

This chapter focuses on the state prison farm during Superintendent J. S. Blitch's period in charge, its expansion and development in the 1920s and early 1930s, inmate labor assignments and the development of an internal prison labor market, efforts to provide better welfare, health care, and leisure opportunities for orderly and obedient inmates, and experiments with industrial labor. A shirt factory opened in 1925, a shoe factory in 1926, a tag plant in 1927, and an underwear factory in 1928. However, as the Grade 2 prisoner population expanded significantly from 1926, an increasingly overcrowded state prison farm was plagued by security shortcomings. A dramatic breakout in 1927 led by inmate Al House spurred important physical changes to the prison farm estate. Construction of a steel and concrete cellblock in 1927 was the first in a series of important architectural changes to the state prison farm that transformed a ramshackle wooden prison farm into a concrete and steel maximum-security prison by mid-century.

Keywords:   Al House, J. S. Blitch, prison industries, prison agriculture, trusties, honor system, inmate healthcare, escapes, Hawes-Cooper bill, women prisoners

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