The following graphs are compiled from the data recorded in the Annual reports on the Inspectors of State Prisons. In each report, the Agent, later known as the Warden, devoted a section to describing the discipline and punishment enforced in the prison throughout that year.
Due to variation in the Agent’s Reports, not every year included a detailed breakdown of the different punishments and infractions. Included below are graphs of the available data, but it should be noted that not every year is represented.
The numbers of punishments inflicted on convicts within Sing Sing, taken from the available Annual reports of the Inspectors of State Prisons.
Three of the annual reports examined contained particularly detailed records of the punishments, including what they were inflicted for.
A glance into the specific punishments from the annual report of the year 1858/59.
A glance into the specific punishments administered in 1860. Particularly interesting is the detailed account of the infractions that received punishment.
1864/65 was the annual report documenting the highest number of punishments out of the sample group.
The specificity of the descriptions of the violations within these years is particularly notable. This gives a vivid image of the laws of Sing Sing: some of the most frequent infractions include talking, being noisy in one’s cell, and whistling or singing in one’s cell.
The Shower bath and the Dark cell, or solitary confinement, were consistently some of the most popular forms of punishment documented in the Annual reports. The above graph shows the trends in these two punishments across a span of years.
– Briana Boland
New York State Inspectors of State Prisons. Annual Report of the Inspectors of State Prisons (Albany)