The first women's prison, Florida Correctional Institution, is constructed at Lowell, Florida. Raiford's female prisoners are transferred to the new facility.
Florida Correctional Institution, Lowell, Florida
The beauty parlor at Lowell C.I. serves the dual purpose of training inmates in hair care and providing a "perk" to deserving inmates by allowing them to have their hair done on occasion.
Florida adopts a new Correctional Code, establishing the Division of Corrections. R.O. Culver is appointed the first director of the Division of Corrections on July 1, 1957 and will remain in office until April 1959. General philosophy changes from "punishment" to "correction." Prior to officially beginning his new Director job, Culver reviewed the state of the correction system in Florida and had several suggestions that could have been equally applicable in the decades since he wrote this letter.
Room 122 – Capitol
December 31, 1956
Honorable Leroy Collins
Governor of Florida
Dear Governor Collins:
While I have not as yet had the time or opportunity to make a complete survey of all the Florida Penal and Correctional Institutions, I have visited and inspected a representative number of places of confinement including the School for Boys at Marianna, the Apalachee Correctional Institution at Chattahoochee, several prison camps, Raiford, the Prison for Women at Lowell, the White Girls School at Ocala, the Colored Girls School at Lowell, and Glades State Prison Farm at Belle Glade. I feel that I am now ready to submit to you a report covering what I have observed and my preliminary recommendations.
By and large, I found the institutions visited well administered and the employees loyal, cooperative, and possessing an earnest and sincere desire to assist in developing the Florida Penal System into an organization, modern, effective, and efficient.
For the most part the institutions have well planned and constructive work and rehabilitative programs. There are instances, of course, where the programs could, and should, be expanded and additional industries established to provide a realistic and constructive work program for a rapidly expanding prisoner population.
It is true the Florida Penal System has not kept pace with the steady growth and advancements made by some of the other State agencies but I have found nothing of particular importance wrong with the prisons that cannot be corrected with a program of close cooperation and coordination between institutions and a well thought out plan of operations. And in the development of a plan may I suggest, for the present, a program be adopted dealing with two phases of operations:
LONG RANGE PROGRAM:
A Long Range Program is something that has to do with every phase of prison operations and I am sure many important items will be unavoidably omitted if I start to enumerate them; however, I will try to mention a few of the more prominent activities to be considered in establishing a modern and up to date penal system:
These are but a few of the very important aspects of prison work that must be given consideration if we are to develop our Penal and Correctional System into a modern, and efficient organization.
Director Florida Penal System
The first Classification Staff are hired at Florida State Prison and a card system for inmate records is implemented.
Central Office for the Division of Corrections is located in Tallahassee. Aerial view of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida State Prison's "O Unit," a maximum security unit, opens. Today this unit is the Work Camp at Florida State Prison and houses minimum and medium custody inmates.
The use of sweat boxes ends. According to former Road Prison Director, L.W. Griffith, many inmates stayed in the sweat boxes for a minimum of 10 days. They were given a half pound of cornbread and water. The box was 6' x 3', and if two were in it, they could not lay down to sleep.
Prisons emphasize rehabilitation, not punishment.
The use of sweat boxes as a form of punishment ends.
On July 2, 1959, H.G. Cochran, Jr. is appointed Director of the Division of Corrections, replacing R.O. Culver. He will remain in this position until 1962.
H.G. Cochran, Director
Division of Corrections
First Transition Officers are hired to assist inmates with placement upon release.
|Two years after his release Clarence Martin is arrested and sentenced to 10 years for breaking and entering. He begins his 7th incarceration at age 58.|
New six-digit numbering system to identify inmates is implemented.
Florida State Prison, East Unit, a new maximum security unit, is constructed in Starke. Construction continues after the prison opens and is not completed until the late 1960s. In 1972, when the units of Florida State Prison are split into two institutions, this unit becomes today's Florida State Prison.
The official newsletter of the Florida Division of Corrections, the Correctional Compass, makes its debut. The following is an excerpt from the original "Correctional Compass" newsletter, from September 1, 1961. It is written by then-Director of the Florida Division of Corrections H.G. Cochran, Jr.
"I am going to use this first issue of the Division's newsletter to call to the attention of all employees the urgent need for training in the area of Civil Defense. Most of you are aware of the gravity of the present world situation, especially in view of recent developments in the Berlin crisis. Maintaining a state of constant preparedness is our best defense for survival in the event there is an outbreak of hostilities resulting from nuclear attacks. However, Civil Defense training is not restricted to survival training for nuclear attacks, but it is survival training for any form of a disaster, natural or man-made.
This training is valuable to all of us by preparing us for any emergency that might develop. At the requests of your superintendents, the Personnel Officers in your institutions are currently in the process of establishing Civil Defense classes so that each employee in the institution will have an opportunity to avail himself of this training. When you are called upon to participate in one of these classes, do so willingly because it may mean the difference to you and your family of surviving or not surviving in a natural disaster or nuclear attack."
On October 1, 1961, the Division of Corrections assumes responsibility for the administration of all phases of Road Prison operation from the State Road Department. The purpose of the transfer is to place all state prisoners under a central administrative authority.
Inmates learn a trade in a workshop.