NYC Reformatory photo from 1954 NYC DOC annual report.
Correction Career of
Lewis E. Lawes
Part 3 of 3

The 1954 annual report of the NYC Dept. of Correction -- Anna M. Kross' second report as its commissioner -- included three pages of information about the NYC Reformatory in New Hampton, Orange County, including some of its history..

These texts are not presented as a full portrait of Lewis E. Lawes but as related background material, brief biographical references, outlines and sketches of that extraordinary correction professional and humane human being. The focus of this particular part of the presentation is on one of the key institutions that figured in his career -- the NYC Reformatory.

Pages 107 - 109 from the NYC Dept. of Correction 1954 Annual Report:
Deputy Warden

Deputy Warden Joyce

No separate photo of Deputy Warden Joseph V. Joyce appears in the 1954 annual report from which this text on New Hampton Farms was taken.

However, NYCHS research found him in a 1959 annual report group photo of 20 people at a promotion ceremony.

The New York City Reformatory is located at New Hampton, New York, in Orange County, approximately 60 miles from New York City.

The Reformatory covers an area of 640 acres and the program is largely agricultural.

The New York City Reformatory for Misdemeanants was first established on Hart Island in 1905 [Note #1] through the enactment by the State Legislature of the indeterminate sentence law limiting commitments to first offenders 16 - 30 years of age. This legislation provided such sentences which might vary to permit flexible periods of rehabilitative incarceration for each offender.

The Hart Island facility, however, proved unsuitable for such segregation and rehabilitative treatment as was implied by law; but it was not until the administration of Katherine B. Davis that the Reformatory for boys at New Hampton, N. Y. was established.

Recognizing the evil effects of improper segregation and the lack of an adequate treatment program for the adolescent, her untiring efforts resulted in provision by the City of New York of funds for the purchase of a site and the erection of a new Reformatory at New Hampton, New York.

The first adolescents were transferred there from Hart Island on March 8, 1914 and Lewis E. Lawes was appointed its first Superintendent. This was one of the first steps made by the City of New York toward the rehabilitation of the youthful offender.

In 1915 Commissioner Katherine B. Davis was also instrumental in having legislation [Note #2] enacted which extended the indeterminate sentence to penitentiary and workhouse cases and created the New York City Parole Commission bringing under its jurisdiction reformatory, penitentiary and workhouse indeterminate sentences to provide individualized investigations as the basis of treatment and service which would serve the real purpose of correction.


On September 17, 1945, the Commissioner of this Department was directed by the late Mayor LaGuardia to permit the State temporary use of one of the buildings at the New York City Reformatory and to furnish necessary services for incorrigible juveniles from the State Training Schools at Warwick and Industry, New York.

As a result of this directive [Note #3] the Commissioner of Correction was authorized to permit the use of a facility known as Cubicle Building No. 1, and rooms known as the tailor shop, electrical vocation shop, the storeroom and a portion of the garage. Other facilities were allowed for use on a scheduled basis.

The State took possession on July 1, 1946. Compensatory remuneration is made annually to the City of New York for rental, food, steam services, electricity and water. The agreement is renewable annually.

The present administration has requested the return of the Cubicle Building and other facilities to implement a realistic youth treatment program, to relieve overcrowding and to facilitate classification and segregation.

An office photo of Commissioner Anna M. Kross did not appear in her 1954 annual report from which the text presented here was taken. Her official photo and that of Mayor Robert F. Wagner (to whom her annual reports were submitted) began to appear in the annuals with her third report: 1955. The above was taken from the 1958 report.


The products of our "teen-age" gangs, 16 to 21 years of age, with their recidivist backgrounds, are the community's most challenging problem and one of the most serious for the Department. Our adult criminal was the juvenile delinquent of only a short time ago. He became a wayward minor, and then he graduated from the upper echelons of our Reformatory at New Hampton to the Penitentiary at Rikers Island. To prevent this progressive deterioration in the future, we must classify the adolescent more efficiently.

Now he is too often tossed in with the heterogeneous population of offenders in the Penitentiary since, for lack of facilities, he cannot be taken care of at the New Hampton Reformatory. The only difference between him and the adult inmate in the majority of cases is the legal duration of his sentence.

When this administration took office, the program of the Reformatory had deteriorated and there were no real treatment programs and only the most superficial vocational training. Guidance counselling and social case-work services were lacking, while the adolescent obtained advice and counselling from his "companions" in detention prisons before sentence, and after sentence in our Penitentiary.

There are in our male sentence institutions approximately 500 of these adolescents who are in dire need of a professionally directed treatment program. An initial pilot program of classification, counselling and guidance has been set up for the Reformatory, to be administered by a clinical team of a visiting psychiatrist, full-time psychiatric case-worker, and a full-time clinical psvchologist.


The educational opportunities were expanded during the past year. New subjects offered included further basic elementary instruction; shop techniques; drafting; shop safety and mechanical design. School attendance has risen from 16 per cent of the population in 1953 to 47 per cent of the population in 1954 .


The class in barbering now has 15 inmate students, under a provisional employee who is a licensed barber. Application has been made to the New York State Department of Education for recognition of this class as a vocational training activity, so that its graduates might receive apprentice certificates.


The recreation program was augmented by the hiring of two part-time professional recreation workers. This made possible the organization of night athletic tournaments, a woodworking hobby shop, and other new projects.


The resident physician has recommended that youths receive laboratory tests and examinations for the detection of diabetes, tuberculosis, cardiac diseases and blood ailments. Vaccines were recommended for immunization against certain virus ailments. The estimated cost of these tests would be approximately $750.00 per year. This procedure received the approval of the Commissioner and the program is now in operation.

Psychiatric and psychological seriices are most inadequate with only one psychiatrist from the Penitentiary visiting the institution approximately once a month.

Plans are now being made, however, to provide more extended treatment through the services of a permanent psychiatrist, a psychologist, a group counsellor, and a-psychiatric case worker.

Webmaster note:In the 1958 annual report, from which the above official photo of Mayor Wagner was taken, the following notice appeared on Page 69. The italicized paragraphs seem to have been inserted into the announcement. They may have been authored by Commissioner Kross herself since they express viewpoints only she would have authority to insert into such a notice. Most of the language of the notice appears to have been taken from the kind of formal press release that the mayor and governor's staffs would have jointly composed in originally announcing the planned takeover. But then the verb time frame shifts from the future tense of "would" and "will" to the past tense of "was released:"


Mayor Robert F. Wagner stated on March 28, 1958, that the city-owned New Hampton Farms, a correctional institution, would be made available to the State of New York for the care and rehabilitation of Juvenile Delinquents.

The Mayor acted after conferences with Governor Harriman. Mayor Wagner stated:

"The Governor and I were agreed that more State rehabilitative services were needed for delinquents who should be committed. After intensive search for facilities within reach of the metropolitan area, the State Department of Social Welfare recommended the New Hampton Farms as the most feasible solution if it could be made available by the City. Recently, I advised Governor Harriman that this could be done and he expressed his agreement with the proposed solution. It will give the immediate relief we need."

New York City officials indicated that the institution, in recent years used as a branch workhouse, would be vacated within ten days. Three existing fireproof buildings could provide housing for approximately 250 committed delinquents, in addition to a capacity of 161 in a building now leased to the State Department of Social Welfare and used since 1945 as an annex to the State Training School for Boys at Warwick. The structures stand on 640 acres of land.

Mayor Wagner instructed James Felt, Director of the Bureau of Real Estate, to negotiate with representatives of the State of New York for the sale or lease of the institution.

The department is indeed appreciative of the cooperation and assistance of the Board of Correction of the City of New York, who through its conferences and meetings with the various city and state agencies helped effect the expeditious transfer of this institution to the State.

The Department of Correction officially released the institution to New York State on May 7, 1958.

While this is an economy measure for the City, it places an additional hardship on the New York City Department of Correction. Whether the reflected budgetary savings, by releasing this institution, will benefit the New York City Department of Correction remains to be seen.

The dentist assigned to the Penitentiary visits the Reformatory only twice monthly, and his work is limited to extractions. It is recommended that a part-time dentist be employed, and the dentist who is doing our emergency work at the present time is willing to consider this assignment. During the year 1954, there were 41 emergency cases taken to Middletown requiring the services of 82 custodial officers. Constructive dental work is part of rehabilitation and in young people this is even more essential. An extension of dental services is recommended.


The inadequate manpower formula of the Department handicapped our custodial program. During the calendar year 1954, -- 1,694 days for over-time were repaid to the personnel, 448 of which was due to holidays.

Mr. Albert Krauss, Instructor of Tailoring, died during the year. His position remains vacant.


During the year the egg production totalled 42,162 dozen; we obtained 23,547 pounds of poultry; 7,971 pounds of meat were slaughtered; 40,680 pounds of vegetables were produced and we received 136,422 quarts of milk from the dairy.


At the present time the institutional food is served on metal trays. Liquids are served in aluminum bowls. In order to make the meal more appetizing, it is recommended that crockery be substituted for the eating equipment which is presently in use.


Inmates attend religious services of the various major religious faiths on a voluntary basis. At the present time all social work at this institution is performed by the Chaplains. The Protestant Chaplain spends two days a week in New York City but the Catholic Chaplain is required to do most of his social work with the families by correspondence.


The morale of the inmates during the past year has been good and there have been fewer disciplinary problems since the revitalization of the education and recreation program.

  1. Chapter 305 of the Laws of 1905, limiting commitments to first offenders 16 - 30 years of age.
  2. Article 7-A Correction Law (L-1915--C. 579.1)
  3. Resolution (Cal. No. 125) adopted by the Board of Estiinate on December 28, 1945.

Go to
Part 1 of NYCHS' presentation of the NYC and NYS Correctional Career of Lewis E. Lawes

Go to
Part 2 of NYCHS' presentation of the NYC and NYS Correctional Career of Lewis E. Lawes

Also see
NYCHS excerpts - Ch. 8: Lewis E. Lawes of Mark Gado's Stone Upon Stone: Sing Sing Prison

Also see
NYCHS excerpts - Ch. 1: James McGrath Morris' The Rose Man of Sing Sing

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