Clarence Martin, at age 20, enters the prison system for the first time. He will come and go a total of nine times before his final release from prison in 1972. Clarence was born in Greenwood, South Carolina to a family of 12 children. His father died when he was 12 years old. He says he has a fourth grade education and has spent much of his childhood years working on the family farm and as a hired farm hand to other local farmers. He is not yet married.
In 1921 Clarence is one of 595 men and women admitted to prison. He is also one of 27 prisoners admitted from Escambia County and one of 224 black men and women admitted. (Sixty percent of those admitted to prison in 1921 were black.) He was one of 161 admitted for the offense of breaking and entering. More than one fourth (27%) of all prisoners admitted that year had committed the crime of breaking and entering. Today drug offenses account for most prison admissions.
Employers come to
prison in search of cheap labor for mines,
forests, and lumber yards.
Convicts leased to
harvest timber. (Photo courtesy of FPC.)