Research


New York State Governor Registers of Discharges of Convicts by Commutation of Sentences

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:
This series consists of the monthly reports sent to the governor from each prison indicating convicts eligible for discharge by commutation. The reports from all prisons for each year were bound into volumes. Each monthly report from each prison provides the following information: name of convict; county; crime; court; judge; date of sentence; date received at prison; term; commutation earned; date eligible for discharge; amount of time lost for rule violations; and occasional remarks recommending increase or decrease in commutation.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
23 cubic feet (25 volumes and 9 rolls)
Inclusive Dates:
1883-1961
Series Number:
A0604

Arrangement

Chronological by year of discharge, then by prison, then chronological by month, then by date of discharge.

1913-1916 records:grouped by month (e.g. all June reports for 1913-1916 are grouped together).

A0604-16: This accretion is arranged by gubernatorial administration.

Administrative History

Legislation of 1862 (Chapter 417) and 1874 (Chapter 451, as amended in 1879 by Chapter 373) allowed prison inmates to earn commutation of part of their sentence for good conduct or labor performed. Sentences were to be reduced by specified amounts of time for each year served (e.g. two months for the first year). Legislation of 1886 (Chapter 21) expanded upon the reporting requirements of the 1862 legislation, directing prison wardens or superintendents to report to the governor each month the convicts eligible for discharge by commutation the following month and to indicate the reasons for witholding commutation from any convict if so recommended by prison officials. The governor would then use these reports to determine which convicts would be discharged by commutation.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of the monthly reports sent to the governor from each prison indicating convicts eligible for discharge by commutation. The governor's office bound the reports from all prisons for each year of discharge into volumes. Each monthly report from each prison provides the following information: name of convict; county; crime; court; judge; date of sentence; date received at prison; term; commutation earned; date eligible for discharge; amount of time lost for rule violations (beginning Volume 10, 1894); and occasional remarks recommending increase or decrease in commutation.

Reports are present for the following institutions: Sing Sing Prison; Auburn Prison; Clinton Prison; New York Penitentiary (Blackwell's Island); Kings County Penitentiary (Brooklyn) (1883-1907 only); Erie County Penitentiary (Buffalo); Albany County Penitentiary (Albany); Onondaga County Penitentiary (Syracuse); Monroe County Penitentiary (Rochester); State Asylum for Insane Criminals (Auburn); State Reformatory at Elmira (for discharges in October 1883, March 1884, and 1913-1916 only); Matteawan State Hospital (Fishkill) (beginning 1893); State Prison for Women (Auburn) (beginning 1894); Dannemora State Hospital (beginning 1901); and Eastern New York Reformatory (Napanoch) (1901-1906 only).

No reports are present for 1910-1912 discharges. Reports of discharges for 1913-1916 are not bound and are grouped according to month (e.g. June reports from all prisons for all years are grouped together).

A0604-16 This accretion documents only actions taken in behalf of inmates incarcerated in Great Meadow Correctional Facility.

Items Online

Ancestry.com

This series is digitized and available to New York State residents for free on Ancestry.com. To learn how to access the records, go to:

Link to items online How to Use Ancestry.com New York

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series A0601 Reports of Deductions of Sentences By Prison Agents, Wardens, and Superintendents, is the predecessor series to this series.

Other finding aids

A0604-16: Container list is available at the repository.

Access Terms

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Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box

Accretion: A0604-78
1883 March-1885 January Registers of Discharges 1
1885 February-1886 December Registers of Discharges 2
1887 Registers of Discharges 3
1888 Registers of Discharges 4
1889 Registers of Discharges 5
1890 Registers of Discharges 6
1891 Registers of Discharges 7
1892 Registers of Discharges 8
1893 Registers of Discharges 9
1894 Registers of Discharges 10
1895 Registers of Discharges 11
1896 Registers of Discharges 12
1897 Registers of Discharges 13
1898 Registers of Discharges 14
1899 Registers of Discharges 15
1900 Registers of Discharges 16
1901 Registers of Discharges 17
1902 Registers of Discharges 18
1903 Registers of Discharges 19
1904 Registers of Discharges 20
1905 Registers of Discharges 21
1906 Registers of Discharges 22
1907 Registers of Discharges 23
1908 Registers of Discharges 24
1909 Registers of Discharges 25
1913-1916 Registers of Discharges 26
1913-1916 Registers of Discharges 27
1913-1916 Registers of Discharges 28