A Board of Managers comprised of prominent citizens from throughout the State appointed by the Governor controlled the New York State House of Refuge for Women.
Every year, the Board of Managers was responsible for filing an Annual Report to the New York State Legislature covering key events, conditions, and pressing issues.
A review of the Annual Reports available to the public at the New York State Archives reveals a continuing concern of the Board about the physical plant of the House of Refuge in Hudson and the disconnect between that physical plant and what the Board of Managers saw as the reform purpose of the Refuge. As early as 1899, the Board of Managers was pleading with the Legislature to remodel the prison:
“We greatly desire that the interior of the prison should be remodeled as it does not serve at all the purposes of a prison. The dungeons are damp and cold…The plumbing is generally defective…There is no place for cases of infection and we desire an isolation building therefore…The fire equipment is utterly inadequate…The ceilings in the main building and in the cottages are poor, many of them have already fallen and others in danger of falling hourly…One of the most serious defects of the whole system is the disposal of sewerage…To bring this institution up to the real purposes of a reformatory, we earnestly ask your cooperation…”
NYS House of Refuge Board of Managers, 1899
Herbert E. Mills, President
Marcia Chase Powell, Secretary
Hon. Fulton Paul, Treasurer
Mrs. Annah S.T. Halcomb
Thomas Wilson, MD
Howard Townsend, Esq.