Browse Exhibits (14 total)

Historical Images of the Weeks School Infrastructure

Photo_Weeks_several_bldgs_nd.JPG

This exhibit highlights the infrastructure of the Weeks School while it operated in the 20th century. The Weeks School included various dormitories, administrative buildings, and farming buildings.

Newspapers Reveal Problems at the Vermont State Prison

VSP_ST_Albans_Weekly_Messenger.pdf

Referencing newspapers as we examine the history of Vermont State Prisons is essential. In the early 20th century, newspapers served as most civilians' only window into prisons - whether good or bad. In order to understand what prisons were truly like, people looked to newspapers for a more authentic, unfiltered account of prisons than 'official' reports could offer. Newspapers included specific stories told by prisoners, reporters who went 'behind the scenes' to examine conditions/complaints, guards that spoke to riots which occurred, and government officials who addressed (or did not address) the next steps for prisons. As the general population increased and more people became imprisoned as a result, broad curiosity could not be ignored - prisons became an issue that involved everyone (whether in regards to safety, criminality, money/government spending, employment etc.). It is safe to say that without newspapers, prison reforms/movements and general changes (which also came to concern imprisoned women and people of color) could not have happened.

These 10 items highlight the main problems, concerns and evolution of Vermont State Prisons:

Photo Collection of Vermont State Prison

These various photos detail what the State prison looked like and the conditions within. Within this exhibit, viewers will see the outside appearance of the prison which details the layout and boundaries to which inmates were confined. Additionally, the historical photos shed light on how inmates were treated in terms of living conditions and the use of the electric chair. It is also important to look at how the State prison stands today, which is also highlighted. 

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Official reports on inmates and operations at the Vermont State Prison, Windsor

Convinct List 1.pdf

This exhibit is a collection of various official reports on inmates and operations at the Vermont State Prison, Windsor. Reports include convict lists from the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries in addition to reports that prison officials published themselves on the state of operations of the prison. This exhibit provides value as it shares the narrative of the Vermont Department of Correction and sheds light on the development of the state's criminal justice system during a period of significant reform. These resources should provide viewers with relevant context surrounding the various photos and newspaper articles detailing the State Prison and its abject conditions.

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