Prison industries expand beyond agriculture and transportation, with the opening of a shirt factory and an auto tag plant. The State Prison Farm grows under the direction of Warden J.S. Blitch. He is recognized by the Legislature for doing an outstanding job because even though the inmate population almost doubles from 1921 to 1929, he cut costs by 50%. This population explosion requires absolute adherence to strict regimens.
Inmate working at the new auto tag plant at Union Correctional Institution. (Photo courtesy of FPC.)
Commissioner of Agriculture
The following is from a letter written by B.H. Dickson, Supervisor of State Convicts, to the Honorable Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture, dated January 17, 1927 from Jasper, Florida (from the Nineteenth Biennial Report of the Prison Division of the Department of Agriculture of the State of Florida for the years 1925 and 1926).
"Guards" paid $50 per month...
"...As a whole it is my opinion that the State has at this time a very efficient corps of men at the head of its convict camps. However, the salaries paid to guards at this time, being only $50.00 per month, is not sufficient to assure the selection by the captains of competent men to serve as guards. The guards should be mature men, possessed of sound judgement, and discretion, and capable of acting in emergencies or when the captain is not present to give orders. There appears to be clearly room for improvement in the selection of guards - I mean better and more capable guards. This would result in considerable saving in the amounts paid as rewards for recapture of escaped convicts and would probably offset a reasonable increase of salary to such guards...."
The starting salary for a certified correctional officer today is $30,807.
Inmates are recruited for day watch in order to cut costs.
Inmates constructing a road. (Photo courtesy of FPC.)