New York State Prison Inspector

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The Inspector of State Prisons was a statewide elective office created by the New York State Constitution of 1846. At the New York state election, 1847, three Inspectors were elected and then, upon taking office, so classified that henceforth every year one Inspector would be elected to a three-year term. The Prison Inspectors appointed wardens and keepers, and supervised the prison administration in general. They were required to visit jointly four times a year each one of the state prisons. Besides, each one of the Inspectors was allotted the special care to one of the then existing three state prisons (Auburn State Prison, Sing Sing State Prison and Clinton State Prison) where he had to attend to business for at least one week per month.

In 1876, a constitutional amendment abolished the office of State Prison Inspector, pending the appointment of a New York Superintendent of State Prisons who would take over the duties of the Prison Inspectors. The first Superintendent was Louis D. Pilsbury, appointed by Governor Lucius Robinson on February 17, 1877.

List of Inspectors of State Prisons[edit]

Name Took office Left office Party Notes
John B. Gedney January 1, 1848 December 31, 1848 Whig drew the one-year term
Isaac N. Comstock January 1, 1848 December 31, 1849 Whig drew the two-year term
David D. Spencer January 1, 1848 December 31, 1850 Whig/Anti-Rent drew the three-year term
Alexander H. Wells January 1, 1849 December 31, 1851 Whig
Darius Clark January 1, 1850 December 31, 1855 Democratic two terms; elected on the Democratic and Anti-Rent tickets in 1849, on the Democratic ticket in 1852
William P. Angel January 1, 1851 December 31, 1853 Democratic/Anti-Rent
Henry Storms January 1, 1852 December 31, 1854 Democratic
Thomas Kirkpatrick January 1, 1854 December 31, 1856 Whig
Norwood Bowne January 1, 1855 December 31, 1857 Whig/Anti-Nebraska/Anti-Rent
William A. Russell January 1, 1856 December 31, 1858 American
Wesley Bailey January 1, 1857 December 31, 1859 Republican
William C. Rhodes January 1, 1858 December 31, 1860 Democratic
Josiah T. Everest January 1, 1859 December 31, 1861 Republican
David P. Forrest January 1, 1860 December 31, 1862 Republican
James K. Bates January 1, 1861 December 31, 1866 Republican two terms; elected on the Republican ticket in 1860, on the Union ticket in 1863
Abraham B. Tappen January 1, 1862 December 31, 1864 Union elected on the Independent People's and Republican tickets
Gaylord J. Clarke January 1, 1863 December 31, 1865 Democratic
David P. Forrest January 1, 1865 December 31, 1867 Union second term
Henry A. Barnum January 1, 1866 December 31, 1868 Republican
John Hammond January 1, 1867 December 31, 1869 Republican
Solomon Scheu January 1, 1868 December 31, 1873 Democratic two terms
David B. McNeil January 1, 1869 December 31, 1871 Democratic
Fordyce L. Laflin January 1, 1870 December 31, 1872 Democratic
Thomas Kirkpatrick January 1, 1872 December 31, 1874 Republican second term
Ezra Graves January 1, 1873 December 31, 1875 Republican
Moss K. Platt January 1, 1874 March 1, 1876 Republican died in office
George Wagener January 1, 1875 February 17, 1877 Democratic legislated out of office by Amendment of 1876, office taken over by Superintendent of State Prisons
Rodney R. Crowley January 1, 1876 February 17, 1877 Democratic legislated out of office by Amendment of 1876, office taken over by Superintendent of State Prisons
Benjamin S. W. Clark March 2, 1876 December 31, 1876 Democratic appointed to fill vacancy in place of Platt
Robert H. Anderson January 1, 1877 February 17, 1877 Democratic legislated out of office by Amendment of 1876, office taken over by Superintendent of State Prisons

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