A Father Figure

On October 16, 2014, Prison Public Memory Project founder/director Tracy Huling interviewed Sylvia Honig at her home in Wynantskill, NY, a small suburb just northeast of Albany. During the 1960s and 1970s, Sylvia worked as a social worker at three upstate New York juvenile institutions, including the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY, the State Training School for Girls in Wynantskill, NY, and the Brookwood Center for Boys in Claverack, NY.

In this excerpt from that oral history interview, Sylvia tells us about growing up in one of the few Jewish families in the small, upstate community of Nassau, NY and about the influence of her father on her life and career. She also shares how she came upon the job at the Hudson Training School for Girls and what she thought of the ‘treatment’ programs that were being newly instituted by Superintendent Thomas Tunney when she arrived in 1965.