NYC Women House of Detention programs section in 1954-65 report
Report cover By Anna M. Kross
[Part 2 of 3]
More than a generation ago, NYC
Correction Commissioner
Anna M Kross issued a 746-page review
of her dozen years heading
the city jails. She entitled it
Progress Through Crisis: 1954 -1965
NYCHS logo
Pages 114-121 detailed Women's House of Detention program successes and limitations. All the text and most images appear in this presentation.

[Part II of text extracted from NYC DOC 1954-65 report pages 114-115. The body text here is from both pages.]

Women House of Detention 08
In 1957: Representatives of mental health and social work staffs join the custodial members for classification. purposes at the House, Qf Detention for Women. [From Page 118.]

Mental Health movies on drug addiction, alcoholism, fears of rejection and problem situations with the home and family are shown once a week with an assigned therapist in attendance.

Discussion group periods follow the showing of the film.

Where indicated and desired, individual therapy is given although time and staff will not allow for delving too deeply into emotional disturbances.
Women House of Detention 09
In 1957: Limited testing and treatment is offered to women in need of analysis or counselling help. An assigned therapist also directs the showing of health movies on addiction and family adjustment problems. [From Page 118.]

Counseling by rehabilitation division staff members and specially selected and trained correction officers produces a better acceptance of ideas and leads to a more suitable form behavior.

Referrals are made to community agencies where the inmate has indicated a desire for further treatment and counseling.

Women House of Detention 10
The Friendly Visitors, Inc., hold their annual fund raising bazaar at the House of Detention for Women to raise funds for the support of aid to indigent female inmates. The money enables the volunteer organization to also provide materials for classes in homemaking, dressmaking, ceramics and hobbycrafts. [From Page 118.]

A greater part of the institutional activity and after care programs are carried on by volunteer organizations that were organized by the present administration in order to supplement departmental programs and budgetary resources.

Psychological testing and classification, social service, academic education vocational training, psychotherapy, medical services, religious ministrations, pre-release counseling, and aftercare are all on the agenda, though never to the extent needed, despite our yearly repeated pleas for the wherewithal to institute expanded services.

Women House of Detention 11
Nativity play is an annual feature of the year-round theatricals performed by the inmates at the House of Detention for Women. The women also put on the show for the benefit of the male sentenced inmates at Rikers Island each year. [From Page 119.]

As in our other institutions, the Mental Health Service in the women's prison is now under the direction of a psychiatrist provided by the New York City Community Mental Health Board, and the Medical Services are under the direction of the New York City Board of Health.

Despite all the handicaps, we have had a fair success in teaching basic English reading and writing not only to such sentenced women as have come to us in a completely illiterate state, but also to Spanish-speaking women who before their imprisonment were almost totally unable to communicate in the English language.

Women House of Detention 12
The inmates at the House of Detention for Women put on periodical fashion shows for the benefit of the inmate population and invited guests who perform volunteer work at the Institution. This gives the girls an opportunity to make home-going clothing and to develop dressmaking skills. [From Page 119.]

Over two hundred of our women prisoners have earned their High School Equivalency Diplomas since 1955.

In 1964 alone, the Diplomas were awarded to twentyfour women.

Vocational training includes sewing lessons, home-making courses, typing and other commercial instructions, cooking skills, knitting classes, and arts and crafts.

Women House of Detention 13
In 1957: It was reported, "One of the most enthusiastically attended classes is the High School Equivalency Class. Inmates participating in this program are able to take the examination and obtain their graduating certificate while in the institution." [From Page 120.]

Training for constructive leisure-time activities after release is afforded through library services, lectures given by outstanding citizens in various fields, musical sessions, dramatic performances, dance instruction, active sports on the screened-in roof-top areas, and quiet games, television, radio, and movies.

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