For nearly a century after its opening in 1871, the big prison in the small Central Illinois town of Pontiac operated a farm. This story by contributor William (Bill) Goold tells the history of how the prison farm evolved as the prison itself changed.
In this excerpt from an interview with Durell Pritchard conducted on August 6, 2018 by Michala Matuszewski, a high school student in Pontiac, Illinois, Durell talks about his memories of the prison in Pontiac and its adjacent farm. Durell's uncle was in charge of raising hogs on the prison farm in the 1940’s.
Prison Public Memory Project 2017 intern Sophia Burns takes a deep dive into a fascinating case file from the late 1800s, telling the story of Maud Veach (a.k.a. Sadie Roe), who was incarcerated at the House of Refuge for Women in Hudson, NY in the late 1800s.
Intern Sarah Millender explores the 1978 riot at Pontiac Correctional Center from the perspective of Elizabeth Armstrong. Armstrong was a young girl living across the street from the prison at the time of the riot.
Former PPMP Hudson Site Coordinator Brian Buckley tells the story of the New York State Training School for Girls' closure using primary sources from the offices of Governors Nelson Rockefeller and Hugh Carey (1971-1975).
Tobi Jacobi writes about girls at the Training School in the 1920’s caught in “a tangle of circumstance” as they navigated the everyday challenges of adolescence and the pressures of emerging adulthood alongside charges of incorrigibility and immorality.