Research


Scope and Content Note

B0143-80: Bound volumes record information on each inmate received at the prison. The Correction Law required daily reports of inmates received, including name, county tried in, crime, and other information. The early volumes (volumes 1-5 and 8 are missing) are entirely handwritten and provide the following information: date of admission; alias, county from which received; age; place of birth; marital and family status; residence; height; weight; complexion; eye and hair color; other physical characteristics (e.g. scars); if inmate could read or write (later: education); language inmate spoke; religion; habits (drinking, smoking); occupation; date convicted; crime; term of sentence; and judge.

In 1908, a new printed form for the pages added the following information: grade (A, B, or C; later: classification); color; hat and shoe size; description of forehead, ears, eyebrows, nose, mouth, lips, teeth, and general features; previous terms in other institutions; and a certification by the inmate that the information was accurate.

In 1914, a new printed form, titled "Receiving Blotter", added the following categories: plea; parents' place of birth; if a U.S. citizen; date arrived in New York; port; and steamship. This form was revised the following year, omitting the information on arrival in New York and adding when the term was up by commutation, expiration of sentence, or parole.

In 1926, the form was again revised to include jail time; when eligible for parole (omitting information on when term was up by commutation or expiration); regularity of church attendance; length of time since last regular attendance; weekly salary; length of residence at present location; length of residence in state; to what criminal act was attributed (e.g. drunkenness); military service; and articles taken from inmate when received. The detailed description of the inmate's physical features was omitted.

In 1931, the form was expanded to include lost time (i.e. extra time inmate had to serve due to misbehavior in prison); criminal act (brief description); city or town where crime was committed; value of goods or money involved in crime; if recovered; names and locations of accomplices; if friendly with accomplices; mental age and diagnosis (usually left blank); date and port of entry to U.S.; and employment record (last three employers).

This form remained standard with only a few revisions, mostly in structure. Beginning in 1964, a smaller form was used and the information was typed in.

There is a considerable gap in the admission registers near the end of accretion B0143-80. No admission records are included for inmates with consecutive numbers from 135700 (ca. May 1965) to 146922 (ca. October 1970).

B0143-98: This accretion is one bound volume providing name, place of birth, age, occupation, color, height, crime, place of conviction, date sentenced, and length of sentence for male and female inmates entering Sing Sing. Almost all the inmates entered the prison between 1842 and 1852, with a few entering as early as 1831 and as late as 1862. The keeper of the register is recorded (at the fore of the volume) as Jesse Jessup. The volume measures 6 x 4 x 3/4 inches and has a cardboard simulated leather cover with a flap enclosure.