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Prison and Reformatory Records

The State Archives holds numerous inmate registers, cards, and case files from several State correctional facilities. (Most of the record series are incomplete, and only a sample of post-1956 case files is being preserved.) Basic personal information (including information on adult convictions and incarcerations) is available without restriction. However, probation, parole, and medical data is restricted by Department of Correctional Services regulations. Access to prison and reformatory records is difficult because there are almost no indexes to the records. Archives staff will search for a specific inmate record only if sufficient information is provided (such as place and dates of incarceration and/or institutional identification number) to locate the record. Descriptions of these records is available in Guide to Records of the Department of Correctional Services.

The institutions and date spans of correctional facility case registers or cards available for use at the State Archives are as follows:

Prisons

  • State Prison of the City of New York ("Newgate") (1797-1810)
  • Auburn Prison (1817-1970)
  • Clinton Prison (at Dannemora) (1846-1964)
  • Sing Sing Prison (at Ossining) (1865-1971)
  • State Prison for Women at Auburn (1893-1933)
  • Westfield State Farm [for Women] (1933-52)
  • Fishkill Correctional Facility (1949-77)

Reformatories

  • New York House of Refuge (at New York City) (1824-1935) (case records on microfilm)
  • Western House of Refuge (at Rochester), later State Agricultural & Industrial School (at Industry) (1849-1960) (case records on microfilm)
  • New York State Reformatory (at Elmira), later Elmira Reformatory (1877-1957)
  • Western House of Refuge for Women (at Albion), later Albion State Training School (1894- 1948)
  • Eastern New York Reformatory (at Naponoch) (1900-1909)

For related information on historical records of New York State criminal courts and clemency actions by the governor, consult the guide, Records Relating to Criminal Trials, Appeals, and Pardons.