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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Florida Corrections:  Centuries of Progress

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RAIFORD - Captain D. W. PURVIS, from Ocala, was down overseeing the state prison farm last week. In visiting the prison farm the writer was surprised to see the amount of work Captain PURVIS was having done within the last sixty days. The site for the State Prison Farm is a beautiful place, lying right by the side of New River in section 15, it being a high oak ridge and the timber being taken up on a great deal of it, there being nice streets running through it. The buildings are put up neatly and in rows, making it a beautiful place. Captain PURVIS is having built a good road from the state prison farm to Raiford. He will also soon put a bridge across New River and start to fencing and clearing five acres of land in one body between New River and Water Oak, and says he likes the location for the state prison farm much better than he thought he would when he first took it in charge and we believe under his management that the state prison farm will not only be a success but will be something that the people of Bradford county will be proud of.

Six inmates holding tools, two officials in Model-T car
Convict chain gang turpentine crew in Escambia County.

Small log cabins
Convict labor camp located between DeLand and Daytona Beach (November 30, 1912 photo courtesy of FPC.)

The committee appointed by the legislature to select the most suitable site for a prison farm recommended Bradford county as having the most advantages in the way of fertile soil and geographical location. Bradford County has the best soil in the state of Florida.

First inmate insurrection occurs on November 12, 1914. In the morning, when inmates were scheduled to go to work on one of the wards, they barricaded the door and refused to leave until the Governor or some high official heard their complaints. One inmate died before it was settled.

13 NOVEMBER 1914

Mr. Frank BURNSED came over from Raiford to spend Sunday with his family here. Mr. BURNSED says the State Prison Farm now has a population of about 400.

Horse drawn metal cage is rectangular in shape.
Cage used to transport convicts from camp to work on the road between DeLand and Daytona. (November 30, 1912 photo from Stetson Univ. Lib. Archives)

Old car and convicts working on dirt road
1915 photo of road construction. (Photo courtesy of FPC.)

Old tractor pulls inmate standing on platform to level dirt on road
1915 photo of road construction. (Photo courtesy of FPC.)


The State Road Department and State Convict Road Force is created.

16 FEBRUARY 1917

MONTBROOKE - Former State Senator J. S. BLITCH, of Montbrooke, has been named as one of the tax commissioners of Florida, succeeding John S. EDWARDS, who has been appointed Circuit Judge to fill the vacancy caused by the registration of Judge WHITNEY. Senator BLITCH was a warm supporter of Governor CATTS in the recent election.

{Senator Blitch will later play an important role in the history of corrections.}

Inmates Working
Inmates at work in the field.

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