Green Bay Correctional Institution: At a standstill
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from the previous edition: https://gopresstimes.com/2023/02/05/green-bay-correctional-institution-further-delays/
By April 10, 1899, the reformatory was home to 38 inmates, but appropriations were still held up as state legislators argued over funding and how much was truly needed to house the incoming residents.
The inmates’ days were divided between laboring for the state, learning a trade and military drill training “to walk and carry themselves like men.”
The number of young men who could read and write was estimated at 40%, so inmates were also provided with an education.
Work finished by the inmates that summer included the completion of a large barn and work on the superintendent’s home.
In January 1900, the tailoring department was moved to the reformatory from the Waupun prison in order to teach the young men another type of trade.
Over one year after approval, the next legislature finally made the appropriation available to continue work on the prison.
Plans were made to extend the north cell wing by 200 feet — which contained 100 cells — to add another 196 cells.
In April of 1901, George W. Bishop, a member of the state Board of Control, was selected to succeed J.E. Heg, who was recruited to oversee the newly-constructed New Jersey reformatory at double the wage.
Bishop was selected as a capable person to oversee the construction of the addition.
He was replaced by Charles W. Bowron in early July.
Newspaper reports chronicle a continued escape issue with the reformatory until July when the Board of Control adopted a more strict patrolling system.
Wisconsin Board of Control President Judge William P. Lyon relayed the board’s dissatisfaction with the work the reformatory had done to that point.
“It is a new enterprise, and while we are learning every day, it has not met with that complete success that we anticipated,” Lyon stated.
“In the first place, a lot of incorrigible young men were transferred to it from the state prison. These did not all turn out as well as desired. Then, the courts of the state do not seem to fully understand the purposes of the institution, and as a result they are sending some degenerates and others there, who ought to be sent elsewhere.
“We are learning, however, and henceforth expect to achieve greater and more satisfactory results than we have been able to so far.”
In the final months of that year, foundation for the addition was going in, as reformatory staff was dealing with a new challenge.
Continued in an upcoming edition