James Bennett and the United Arab Republic

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These pictures show James Bennett, second director of the Federal Bureau of Prison, visiting the United Arab Republic sometime during the late 1950s. He was there to take part in a review of this short lived political union between Egypt and Syria’s prison system.  Bennett made a name for himself as a penal reformer and advocate for the improvement of inhumane conditions in prisons.

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The James V. Bennett Collection contains a number of photographs and documents related to prisons and prison reviews from around the world. To see the photographs, view the James V. Bennett photographs in our Digital Collections by clicking the link below.

James V. Bennett Photographs

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

James V. Bennett Collection, 1905-1971

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Austin H. MacCormick Papers, 1923-1978

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Picture of Austin MacCormick (Second to left)

Austin H. MacCormick was influential figure in the field of Criminal Justice and the Texas prison system. MacCormick held such positions as as Executive Officer of the U.S. Naval Prison, Assistant Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Professor and Dean of Criminology at Berkeley, and Director of the Osborne Association of New York. His impact on Texas prisons came as a result of his surveys of state prison systems in the southern states. His first survey in 1944 of the Texas Prison System exposed harsh conditions and practices of the prison farms.  By 1947, the prison conditions in Texas had continued to decline and MacCormick made his findings public which created a demand for corrective action.  With a directive from Governor T.C. Jester and under the leadership of Prison Director O.B. Ellis, Texas Prisons instigated comprehensive reforms that made Texas one of the top three prison systems in the country.

The Austin H. MacCormick Papers (1923-1978; eight boxes) consist of documents, reports, brochures, and correspondence concerning Austin H. MacCormick throughout his career as one of the nation’s most influential criminologists and prison reformers.  The documents, brochures, and correspondence portray Austin H. MacCormick’s personal life and career as influential figure in federal and state prison reform and his work with adult and juvenile prisons throughout the nation.  Some of the many subjects include: state and federal prison conditions, prison reformation, juvenile detention centers, probation, parole, correctional standards and staff training.  The collection includes over twenty five individual state correctional system reports conducted by Austin H. MacCormick and other criminologists of the time.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/index.php?utm_campaign=archon&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=blog&p=collections%2Fcontrolcard&id=6

Sanford Bates Collection, 1906-1972

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Sanford Bates (on left) outside the Bureau of Prisons.

Sanford Bates had a storied career in the field of law and criminal justice. He was practicing lawyer in Boston, member of the Massachusetts Legislature and Senate, first Massachusetts Department of Corrections Commissioner, and first Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Sanford Bates also served as the Executive Director of the Boys Clubs of America, New York State Parole Commissioner, and Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies for the State of New Jersey.  Sanford Bates was involved with the United Nations and other international commissions during the later years of his life.

The Sanford Bates Collection (1906-1972; forty one boxes) consist of documents, reports, brochures, and correspondence concerning Sanford Bates throughout his career as one of the country’s most influential criminologists and prison administrators. His contributions to prisoner rehabilitation were vast and the collection includes many of his progressive papers.  Some of the many subjects include: state and federal prison administration, juvenile delinquency, probation, parole, correctional standards and staff training.  Along with the publications by Sanford Bates, the collection holds articles by many significant criminologists of the time, criminal justice newsletters and articles, and Bates’ personal library of books.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/index.php?utm_campaign=archon&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=blog&p=collections/controlcard&p=collections/controlcard&id=2

James V. Bennett Collection, 1905-1971

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James V. Bennett played a vital role in the creation and initial operation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A graduate of Brown then George Washington University, Bennett began his federal government career in 1919 when he was named an Investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Efficiency. Bennett penned “The Federal Penal and Correction Problem” in 1928, which was vital as a catalyst for the creation of the Bureau of Prisons.

The creation of the Federal Prison Industries Inc. in 1934 can be considered as one of his most significant achievements during his tenure. He worked as Assistant Director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons up until 1937 when he was named Director following Sanford Bates’ retirement. As Director, Bennett, was a very active reformer of correctional policies and was an advocate for the rights of prison inmates. He was instrumental in opening special institutions for juveniles, rehabilitation centers and halfway houses.

The materials that make up the James V. Bennett Collection, 1905-1971 represent a major part of the life and work of James V. Bennett. Significantly, they portray his role as the Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and a prison reformer. This is achieved primarily through his articles, newsletters, books and as well as other materials. There are also many articles and speeches by Mr. Bennett. The most popular theme is prison policies and reform. This collection also contains numerous correspondence and case histories of prison inmates. Pictorial documentation of Bennett as well as many other important personnel is also represented in this collection. There are also several recordings with songs reflective of prison culture.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/index.php?utm_campaign=archon&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=blog&p=collections/controlcard&p=collections/controlcard&id=3

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