C. INSTITUTIONAL RECORDS
BEDFORD HILLS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility is located in Bedford Hills, Westchester County. It is classified as a maximum security correctional facility for females 16 years of age or older. It functions as a general confinement facility, a reception center, a detention center, and a diagnostic and treatment center. At present, approximately 800 inmates are confined at Bedford Hills.
The facility at Bedford Hills originated with an 1892 law (Chapter 637) providing for a reformatory for women. The reformatory opened in 1901 under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Charities. Admitted were women 16 to 30 years of age who were convicted of a misdemeanor. The reformatory was authorized to receive women from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 9th judicial districts. Women were given indeterminate sentences with the eventual length of the sentence based on their progress at Bedford. The institution's program was centered on a system of rewards for good behavior and accomplishment in academic and vocational training. In 1910, the name of the institution was name changed to the New York State Reformatory.
In 1920 (Chapter 774), the legislature established at the reformatory a Division for Mentally Defective Women. A previous 1919 law authorized the examination, certification, and commitment of "mentally deficient" women (i.e., women who tested as having low intelligence). Women over 16 years of age who were arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony thereafter could be committed to Bedford upon certification of the mental defect by two examiners. The law was based on the assumption that women of low intelligence were susceptible to criminal activity and needed segregation from the public and from other inmates. The Division carried on extensive psychiatric and psychological testing in other correctional institutions. Women who were found to be of low intelligence could be transferred to Bedford.
This Division was maintained at Bedford until it was transferred to Albion in 1932. In 1932, the name of the Bedford institution was changed to the Westfield State Farm. The reformatory program was continued. In 1933, a separate prison section was opened. The State Prison for Women at Auburn was closed and inmates were transferred to this new prison at Bedford. In 1970, name of the entire facility was changed to the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
14610-77B. Inmate case files, ca. 1915-1930, 1955-1965. R 12 cu. ft.
This consists of approximately 600 case files in two groups. The first group pertains to approximately 500 reformatory inmates confined at Bedford from about 1915 to 1930. These files include reports on approximately 50 women who were examined at Bedford's Laboratory of Social Hygiene. The second group of case files pertain to approximately 80 women confined at the State Prison from approximately 1955 to 1965.
14610-88E. Inmate case files, ca. 1940s-1960s. R 42 cu. ft.
These are medical case history files of inmates released from Westfield State Farm during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
14610-91. Inmate case files, 1957-1978. R 115 cu. ft.
These are case files of inmates release from Westfield State Farm and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility through 1978.
B1012. Daily ward log books, 1957-1968. R 3.5 cu. ft.
These log books document daily activities at Westfield State Farm. They include population counts, names of inmates not in cells, records of visitors, and names of officers on duty.
B1017. Ledger of miscellaneous expenses and appropriations, 1935-1945. .5 cu. ft. (1 volume)
This ledger includes balances for a number of accounts of Westfield State Farm including Prison Capital, Industry, Work in Process, Vouchers Payable, and Inter- Prison Account.
B1284. Daily journal, 1960-1964, 1972. R 1 cu. ft. (7 volumes)
This series consists of a daily journal that includes one or two pages summarizing each day's activity at the Westfield State Farm. The journal includes names of officers on duty, names of ill inmates, number of inmates at special activities, and a summary of disciplinary actions.
B1013. Daily inmate and officer log, 1960-1965. R 1 cu. ft. (6 volumes)
This series consists of a daily record used to track locations of officers and inmates. The log includes names of officers on duty, names of inmates at special locations, and a daily inmate count.
B1018. Subject files, ca. 1962-1974. R 4 cu. ft.
These records include correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, and other material relating to Westfield's administration and supervision of inmates and staff. Topics include copies of policies and procedures, staff work schedules, staff training programs, daily and weekly activity schedules, meeting minutes, procedures, inspection and accident reports, staff reports, inmate classification reviews, and annual reports.
B1014. Receiving blotters, 1933-1952. R 2 cu. ft. (4 volumes)
These blotters record basic information on each inmate at the time of admission. Categories of information include the inmate's family and social background, educational and work history, physical characteristics, and criminal history.
B1016. Register of parole applicants, ca. 1945-1955. 1 cu. ft.
This series consists of records pertaining to the parole eligibility of Bedford inmates. Listed is the inmate's name and number, crime, date received, length of minimum and maximum sentence, number of punishment days lost, and amount of "good time" earned.
B1015. Receiving blotters, 1931-1952. R 4 cu. ft. (4 volumes)
These records contain summary information on each inmate received into the reformatory. Contained is information in categories such as the inmate's physical characteristics, family and social background, educational and work history, and criminal history.
B1022. Inmate record cards, ca. 1929-1940. R 1 cu. ft.
This series consists of 8" x 9" cards containing summary information on approximately 1,000 Bedford reformatory inmates. Included is information on the inmate's background, crime, psychological testing and classification, medical history, housing assignments at Bedford, and date of release.
B1011. Inmate misbehavior case files, ca. 1964-1974. R 6 cu. ft.
These individual files contain records relating to inmate infractions of Bedford's rules. Records include conduct and disciplinary reports, certificates of inmate search, Adjustment Committee reports, and inmate misbehavior reports.
B1010. Inmate work release case files, ca. 1973-1974. R 2 cu. ft.
These records relate to work release programs involving approximately 60 inmates. Included are work release agreements, reports on inmate work performance, request for funds, and correspondence and memoranda.