Research

Inmate case files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
Inmate case files from New York State correctional facilities describe in great detail the family and social background, arrest, confinement, and release/parole of men and women confined in State prisons, reformatories, and institutions for defective delinquents. The content of the files reflects the role of each institution in carrying out these functions. Each prisoner is assigned a case files which follows the inmate if transferred or resentenced within the system. Records are restricted
Creator:
Title:
Inclusive Dates:
1894-2005
Bulk Dates:
(bulk [ca. 1925-1992])
Series Number:
14610

Arrangement

Within each accretion, arranged by facility, then numerical by consecutive inmate number, sometimes within inmate type or file type.

14610-91A, Fulton; 14610-94C, Bedford Hills; 14610-98A, Rochester; and 14610-98H, Napanoch: Arranged alphabetically by inmate's last name.

14610-97A, Otisville, Mid-Orange, Great Meadow, Hudson, Taconic, Mt. McGregor, Arthur Kill correctional facilities: Arranged by facility, then either alphabetical by inmate name, numerical by inmate identification number, or chronological by release date.

14610-98, Adirondack Correctional Facility:Chronological by release date.

14610-98F, Fishkill Correctinal Facility: Arranged as either sample cases or central monitoring cases, and therein alphabetical by inmate name.

14610-98B, Wallkill Correctional Facility; and 14610-98G, Bushwick Correctional Facility: Unarranged.

14610-00, Albion State Training School: Alphabetical by last name.

14610-01, Attica Correctional Facility: Numerical by inmate consecutive number from 10596 to 81C0254.

14610-05: Arrangement varies by correctional facility.

14610-05A, Albion Correctional Facility: No discernable arrangement.

14610-08: Roughly chronological by name of institution.

14610-08A, Fishkill Correctional Facility; 14610-08B, Clinton Correctional Facility; 14610-09, Wallkill Correctional Facility: Uncertain.

Scope and Content Note

Inmate case files from New York State correctional facilities describe in great detail the family and social background, arrest, confinement, and release/parole of approximately 84,000 men and women confined in State prisons, reformatories, and institutions for defective delinquents.

The case files document the basic previous hit Department of Correctional Services functions of confining and habilitating offenders at appropriate security levels throughout the State. The content of the files reflects the role of each institution (prisons where inmates were sent directly from the courts, transfer prisons, reformatories, etc.) in carrying out these functions.

Case files often contain records from more than one institution. If inmates were transferred or resentenced to more than one institution within the system, the case file followed the inmate to the new institution.

A full description of all records usually found in these case files is available from the New York State Archives.

Case files from each correctional facility are described as separate subsets of a unified series of inmate case files. These descriptions highlight any special records found.

The records fall into five major functional areas of the criminal justice and corrections system: 1) Arrest and Sentencing; 2) Admission; 3) Classification; 4) Confinement; and 5) Release/Parole.

1) ARREST AND SENTENCING RECORDS. Several important records document the arrest and sentencing of the inmate leading to confinement: presentence investigation report; copy of sentence; record of confinement while awaiting sentencing; and correspondence.

2) INMATE ADMISSION RECORDS. Records documenting the activities of the correctional institution in gaining basic custody and control of an inmate upon admission include: receiving blotter; inmate record card; medical history; inmate identification records including fingerprints, F.B.I. "rap sheet," arrest reports, coded data on personal appearance, and Bertillon records; record of clothing issued to inmate upon admission; and censor authorization and property record.

3) INMATE CLASSIFICATION RECORDS. A number of records document the classification of inmates to determine housing, work assignments, rehabilitation and treatment programs, and readiness for release. Classification was usually done at receiving prisons or, after 1945, at the Elmira Reception Center. At receiving prisons, Classification Clinics or Classification Boards consisting of the warden and the institution's physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, chaplain, and other staff examined the inmate's background, conducted interviews with the inmate, and prepared extensive evaluation reports to identify problems and needs and to develop appropriate vocational and educational programs.

Important classification records include: classification reports; psychiatric reports; psychological reports; service unit records (service units coordinated facility programs with a parole program); Elmira Reception Center reports; "social disease" records; and correspondence and questionnaires.

4) INMATE CONFINEMENT RECORDS. Records describing the inmate's behavior, work, vocational and academic education, religious life, and physical and mental health include: chronological notes summarizing reports, correspondence, and memoranda relating to inmate during confinement; staff reports concerning inmate's progress; service unit records; medical records; disciplinary reports; records of reduction of sentence earned or not earned; labor assignment record; report of earnings account; educational accomplishment and general adjustment record; records of visits to inmates; correspondence to or from the inmate; and correspondence to the facility regarding the inmate.

5) INMATE RELEASE/PAROLE RECORDS. Most inmates leaving confinement were paroled, usually well before the expiration of their maximum sentence. The next largest group were discharged when their maximum sentence expired. A smaller number were released by commutation of sentence for good conduct, by commutation of sentence by the governor, by order of the court, or by reversal of the judgement. An even smaller number died during confinement. Case file records relate to all these types of releases.

Parole is the release of an inmate to the community after serving a portion of the sentence, subject to conditions imposed by the Board of Parole. The Board was assisted by Institutional Parole Officers who guided inmates during confinement, prepared inmates for Board hearings, prepared records for the hearings, and made evaluations and recommendations to the Board.

Board of Parole records were usually interfiled with the institution's case file records. For most inmates, at least one-third of the case file records relate directly to the parole process. In addition, many summary records prepared by the institution contain information that was eventually used in the decision to grant or deny parole.

Records relating to an inmate's release can be divided into those created by the Board of Parole and those created by the institution.

a) Inmate release records created by the Board of Parole. These records document the application, release on parole, life on parole, and any violation of parole. Some are copies of records that were filed separately with the central Board of Parole office. These may include: inmate questionnaire; parole application; pre-parole reports; facility parole officer reports; correspondence and memoranda regarding the parole application and decision; transcript of Board of Parole hearing; certificate of release on parole; monthly parole reports; parole violation reports; and executive clemency records.

b) Records relating to inmate release created by the institution. Most summary inmate records mention dates eligible for parole, date released, etc. Other records were specifically prepared by the institution for the parole decision. Many reports created by institution staff were used by the Board of Parole to assess the inmate's qualifications for parole. Other records relate to inmates released upon expiration of term, commutation of sentence, reversal of judgement, death, and other reasons. These records include: physical examination upon discharge; staff reports warrant for retaking a paroled or escaped prisoner; memoranda and correspondence regarding release on parole or discharge; and summary of institutional history.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted:Records are permanently restricted in part. Access may be permitted upon application to and approval by the State Archives.

Alternate Formats Available

Microform for accretions 14610-78 and 14610-88E is available.

Related Information

Other finding aids

Partial container and folder lists for various accretions.

Transfer lists for accretions transferred to State Records Center storage.

Custodial History

Files from Attica, Auburn, Clinton, Elmira, Fishkill, Great Meadow, and Green Haven: Some records from acccretions 14610-94, 14610-94A, 14610-94B and 14610-95B suffered severe water damage from a flood in July, 1995. Approximately 63 cubic feet of records were authorized for destruction by RDA 19727 and subsequently destroyed.

14610-88E, Westfield State Farm inmate medical history files, ca. 1940-1960: Files were received from Bedford Hills on 12/1/88 (22 cu. ft.) and from Clinton on 12/28/88 (20 cu. ft.). The records were microfilmed by Archives staff in 1989. Due to active mold infestation, paper copies were destroyed in December 1990.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):

Bayview Correctional Facility

Queensboro Correctional Facility

Woodbourne Correctional Facility

Fishkill Correctional Facility

New York (State). Superintendent of State Prisons

Elmira Correctional Facility

Auburn Prison

Wallkill Correctional Facility

Attica Prison

Institution for Male Defective Delinquents at Napanoch

Great Meadow Correctional Facility

Coxsackie Correctional Facility

Hudson Correctional Facility

Sullivan Correctional Facility

Bushwick Correctional Facility

Clinton Correctional Facility

Eastern Correctional Institution

Buffalo Correctional Facility

New York (State). Dept. of Correction. Division of Administration

Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility

New York State Reformatory (Elmira, N.Y.)

Edgecombe Correctional Facility

Eastern Correctional Facility

Lincoln Correctional Facility

Camp Gabriels Correctional Facility

Auburn Correctional facility

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility

Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility

Collins Correctional Facility

Arthur Kill Correctional Facility

Buffalo Correctional Facility

Queensboro Correctional Facility

New York State Institution for Defective Delinquents

Otisville Correctional Facility

Green Haven Correctional Facility

Elmira Correctional Facility

Great Meadow Prison

Woodbourne Correctional Facility

Fulton Correctional Facility

Adirondack Correctional Facility

Western House of Refuge for Women

Eastern New York Correctional Facility

Green Haven Prison

Adirondack Correctional Facility

Sullivan Correctional Facility

Orleans Correctional Facility

Coxsackie Correctional Facility

Green Haven Correctional Facility

Institution for Male Defective Delinquents at Napanoch

Rochester Correctional Facility

Parkside Correctional Facility

Mid-Orange Correctional Facility

Fishkill Correctional Facility

Wyoming Correctional Facility

Auburn Correctional Facility

Fulton Correctional Facility

Westfield State Farm

Rochester Correctional Facility

Albion Correctional Facility

Bushwick Correctional Facility

Otisville Correctional Facility

Parkside Correctional Facility

Eastern New York Reformatory

Clinton Correctional Facility

Arthur Kill Correctional Facility

Taconic Correctional Facility

Bayview Correctional Facility

Wallkill Prison

Wende Correctional Facility

Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility

Mid-State Correctional Facility

Albion State Training School

Edgecombe Correctional Facility

Western House of Refuge for Women

New York State Vocational Institution

Lincoln Correctional Facility

Wallkill Correctional Facility

Attica Prison

Downstate Correctional Facility

Woodbourne Prison

Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility

Downstate Correctional Facility

Elmira Reformatory

Albion State Training School

Mid-Orange Correctional Facility

Hudson Correctional Facility

Camp McGregor Correctional Facility

Great Meadow Correctional Facility

Greene Correctional Facility

Taconic Correctional Facility

Clinton Prison

Sing Sing Correctional Facility

Groveland Correctional Facility

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