finding winston moore: the original psychologist jail warden.

If you’re coming here by way of The Marshall Project piece I wrote about psychologist and Cook County Jail administrator Winston Moore, welcome! If you’re interested in learning more about Cook County Jail history, you can read an outline of my dissertation, as well as these posts which will tell you a bit about:

You might also be interested in the questions I have about a jail reform discourse that centers on the mentally ill.

When I first set out to write a history of American jails in the postwar era, I had no idea where to start. I started out looking at multiple cities and counties, trying to find a few that might make a good case study. It became clear to me that there are a lot of different kinds of jails. County jails, city jails, regional jails, state jails; single-site jails and multi-site jails; jails run by correctional professionals and jails run by regular folks. I felt a little like Goldilocks in search of a feasible dissertation project that was just right (i.e.: finishable and not too expensive to research).

I stumbled onto the story of Winston Moore as I combed through thousands of Chicago Tribune articles. That people in his time called him “the first negro jail warden” caught my eye– but then, over the ensuing ten years worth of newspapers, the story of a tough-talking, larger than life figure emerged. He didn’t sound like anybody I’ve ever read about– and made me wonder– why have I never heard about him? I decided I would do whatever I could to answer that question, and as a result, I built my dissertation around Moore’s exciting and tumultuous years at Cook County Jail. The Marshall Project piece represents three years of work and about 100 pages of my dissertation.

Moore was not an easy man to find in the archive. The Cook County Sheriff’s Department told me they don’t keep any records over ten years old. Moore wrote the occasional comment in magazines like Ebony and Jet, but didn’t publish much else. He seems to have left behind no papers. So, I had to search for him in Chicago’s archives. I found him in legal documents and official reports housed in the ACLU-Illinois records at the University of Chicago. I found him in the papers of his harshest critics– including the John Howard Association records and the Hans Mattick papers at the Chicago History Museum (fortunately, Mattick was something of a hoarder). I found him in the papers of activists who worked with him, through the League of Women Voters-Cook County papers at the University of Illinois Chicago and the Alliance to End Repression papers at the CHM. And of course, I found Moore back in the newspapers where I started. Chicago’s press was fascinated by his honesty and his contradictions and the roller-coaster drama of his administration.

Like all jail administrators, Moore was limited by his context– the War on Crime and the Urban Crisis made running a jail extremely difficult. He was limited by his own managerial capacities, his struggle to play politics, his staff, his budget. But most of all, Moore said the jail itself was his greatest limitation.

“The hardest thing to do though, has been to outlive this institution’s damn awful past. What we need most of all is a new history.”[1]

As Nneka Jones Tapia takes the helm, I hope she’ll remember her institution’s damn awful past and I wish her the best as she makes a new history.

My piece is referenced in this Pacific Standard piece about psychologists running correctional institutions.

[1] Rick Soll, “Winston Moore: Tough not enough,” Chicago Tribune, Apr. 8, 1973, 50.

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hearing a voice for the first time.

Anybody who has talked to me about my dissertation project in the last year has probably heard me talk about Hans W. Mattick. He was a criminologist who came of age with the “second Chicago school” of sociology’s emphasis on “applied criminology.” He was not one to hide out in his ivory tower; as such, he never finished his book on American jails (instead publishing it in an anthology) and didn’t publish many academic articles. As such, his work intersects with my project in that he worked as Assistant Warden at Cook County Jail early in his career and continued to study and advocate for jail reform for the rest of his life.

used for educational and scholarly purposes courtesy of the University of Chicago Photographic Archive.

His papers, housed at the Chicago History Museum, tell the story of a consummate scholar-activist. He was a neurotic chronicler who saved everything and meticulously annotated his papers, adding dates and commentary, always careful to point out when he was plagiarized (often by Cook County politicians and jail administrators) and when someone was lying (often Cook County politicians and administrators). Mattick’s writings have popped up in every collection I’ve looked at for the dissertation; he is perhaps the most dominant narrator in the first half of my project (from about 1954-1978).*

At any rate, I run into Mattick enough in my work that I feel an affinity to him. In Hyde Park, I’ve walked by the location of the slummy college apartment he lived in and the nicer apartment building where he took his own life. His handwriting has become familiar to me. I have gotten frustrated with him when I haven’t been able to find a document I know he would have kept (I eventually found it; thankfully his wife made sure a few straggler boxes made it into his collection after he died). Getting to know Hans Mattick has been one of the unexpected pleasures of my work.

At any rate, I was delighted to find that his appearance on “The Studs Terkel Program” has been digitized. Mattick was an advocate for Paul Crump, who was on death row at Cook County Jail (the presence of an electric chair at the jail made it quite exceptional). To be able to hear his voice (at last!) is one of the weird perks of being a twentieth century historian.

I like the way he says “rehabilitation.”

https://archive.org/embed/popuparchive-1856627

He pops up around 14:00.

*While I know it’s problematic that my window into the jail at that time is, in many ways, totally contingent upon what Mattick saved, it will always be more problematic that the Jail destroyed so many of its own records.

an American prison history reading list.

I was lucky to spend four straight semesters teaching some form of prison history at both Temple University and Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. In the course of that work, I found my students appreciated having a bibliography to jump start research projects. I know there is broad public interest in these kinds of topics as well, so I thought I would share the current iteration of my bibliography.

Some caveats: This list is by no means comprehensive. This is a work in progress and reflects an emergent field of study. As such, this list is interdisciplinary, but focuses primarily on books written by academic historians. Some works do not tidily fit the periods they are listed under, but have been placed there judiciously. It includes some works on crime, policing, and the death penalty, but is incomplete in those fields. It does not include books on wartime imprisonment and is short on books about political prisoners, immigration imprisonment, and books from the last couple years (I’m sorry I work so much) etc. This bibliography does not include a survey of journal literature because most people do not have access to academic journals. I’ve only included books that I’ve read, but not all of them. I privileged newer books and books that I really liked- books with good bibliographies of their own. Books that I would like to read, books about jails, and documentaries are subjects for another day. This list, while not definitive, is at the very least sufficient to get your Amazon search focused.

I’d love it if you’d share your essential reads in the comments.

Theory

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 1977.

Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?, 2003.

Glenn C. Loury et. al, Race, Incarceration, and American Values, 2008.

Overview

Blake McKelvey, American Prisons: A History of Good Intentions, 1977.

Paul W. Keve, Prisons and the American Conscience: A History of U.S. Federal Corrections, 1991.

Lawrence Friedman, Crime And Punishment In American History, 1994.

Norval Morris and David Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison, 1997.

Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality, 2010.

The Early Republic

David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic, 1971.

Michael Meranze, Laboratories of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution, and Authority in Philadelphia, 1760-1835, 1996.

Michele Lise Tarter and Richard Bell, eds., Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America, 2012.

The Emergence of the Modern Prison

Estelle B. Freedman, Their Sisters’ Keepers: Women’s Prison Reform in America, 1830-1930, 1984.

Nicole Hahn Rafter, Partial Justice: Women in State Prisons, 1800-1935, 1985.

Alexander Pisciotta, Benevolent Repression: Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement, 1994.

Anne M. Butler, Gendered Justice in the American West: Women Prisoners in Men’s Penitentiaries, 1997.

Rebecca McLennan, The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the Making of the American Penal State, 1776-1941, 2008.

Jennifer Graber, The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America, 2011.

Caleb Smith, The Prison and the American Imagination, 2011.

Incarceration during Reconstruction and Jim Crow

Edward Ayers, Vengeance and Justice, 1985.

Alex Lichtenstein, Twice The Work of Free Labor, 1996.

Matthew J. Mancini, One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928, 1996.

David Oshinsky, Worse Than Slavery, 1997.

Mary Ellen Curtin, Black Prisoners and Their World: Alabama, 1865-1900, 2000.

Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name, 2009.

Progressive-Era Punishment and Reform

Jonathan Simon, Poor Discipline: Parole and the Social Control of the Underclass, 1890-1990, 1993.

Nicole Hahn Rafter, Creating Born Criminals, 1997.

David Rothman, Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America, 2002.

Michael Willrich, City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago, 2003.

Kali N. Gross, Colored Amazons: Crime, Violence, and Black Women in the City of Brotherly Love, 1880-1910, 2006.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The Condemnation of Blackness, 2010.

Cheryl D. Hicks, Talk with You Like a Woman: African American Women, Justice, and Reform in New York, 1890-1935, 2010.

Postwar Imprisonment and Crime

Gresham Sykes, The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison, 1958.

James Jacobs, Stateville: The Penitentiary in Mass Society, 1977.

Malcolm Feeley and Austin Sarat, The Policy Dilemma: Federal Crime Policy and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, 1980.

James Gilbert, A Cycle of Outrage: America’s Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950s, 1986.

Daniel Glaser, Preparing Convicts for Law-Abiding Lives: The Pioneering Penology of Richard A. McGee, 1995.

Charles Bright, The Powers that Punish: Prison and Politics in the Era of the “Big House,” 1920-1955, 1996.

Michael W. Flamm, Law and Order: Street Crime, Civil unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s, 2005.

Kathleen A. Cairns, Hard Time at Tehachapi: California’s First Women’s Prison, 2009.

Volker Janssen, “When the ‘Jungle’ Met the Forest:  Public Work, Civil Defense, and Prison, Journal of American History (December 2009).

Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough, 2010.

Ethan Blue, Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons, 2012.

Civil Rights and Social Movements in the American Prison

George Jackson, Soledad Brother, 1970.

Eric Cummins, The Rise and Fall of California’s Radical Prison Movement, 1994.

Tom Wicker, A Time to Die: The Attica Prison Revolt, 1994.

Malcolm Feeley and Edward L. Rubin. Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America’s Prisons, 1998.

Donna Murch, Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California, 2010.

Danielle L. McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, 2010.

Lee Bernstein, America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s, 2010.

The Punitive Turn and the Rise of the Prison Industrial Complex

Katherine Beckett, Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics, 1997.

Marie Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America,

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, 2007.

Vanessa Barker, The Politics of Imprisonment: How the Democratic Process Shapes the Way America Punishes Offenders, 2009.

Loic Waquant, Prisons of Poverty, 2009.

Heather Thompson, “Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline and Transformation in Postwar American History” Journal of American History, (December 2010).

Joshua Page, The Toughest Beat: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers Union in California, 2011.

Contemporary Incarceration and its Social Consequences

Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson, The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in America, 2000.

David Garland, The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society, 2002.

Meda Chesney-Lind and Marc Mauer, eds., Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment, 2003.

Donald Braman, Doing Time on the Outside: Incarceration and Family Life in Urban America, 2004.

Marc Mauer, Race to Incarcerate, 2006.

Bruce Western, Punishment and Inequality in America, 2007.

Todd Clear, Imprisoning Communities, 2009.

Suzanne Oboler, Behind Bars: Latino/as and Prison in the United States, 2009.

Jonathan Simon, Governing Through Crime, 2009.

Loïc Wacquant, Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity, 2009.

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, 2010.

David Garland, Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition, 2010.

Lisa L. Miller, The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty, and the Politics of Crime Control, 2010.

Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, Immigration Nation: Raids, Detentions, and Deportations in Post-9/11 America, 2012.

Ernest Drucker, A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America, 2013.