Rikers penitentiary, built in 1933, was named James A. Thomas Center in 1989 for man credited as Dept.’s 1st Black warden. He served a decade as its warden from 1965. He had been tank sgt. in WWII, joined DOC in ’46 and retired after 30 years service. Because he got a provisional appointment as warden 3 years before James C. Harrelson’s provis- ional appointment, JAT is called ‘1st.
Warden Thomas and JATC images are NYC Dept. of Correction (NYC DOC) photos in the archives managed by the NY Correction History Society. All rights retained by and reserved to NYC DOC.