Book: Central Ohio's Historic Prisons (Images of America) by David Meyerscategories: Book, Prisons, Reformatories, Murders, Gangs, Riots, True Crime
David Meyersabout this book: With the opening of the Ohio State Reformatory in 1896, the state legislature had put in place "the most complete prison system, in theory, which exists in the United States." The reformatory joined the Ohio Penitentiary and the Boys Industrial School, also central-Ohio institutions, to form the first instance of "graded prisons; with the reform farm on one side of the new prison, for juvenile offenders, and the penitentiary on the other, for all the more hardened and incorrigible class." However, even as the concept was being replicated throughout the country, the staffs of the institutions were faced with the day-to-day struggle of actually making the system work.
In CENTRAL OHIO'S HISTORIC PRISONS, David Meyers and his daughter, Elise, chronicle the development of the penal system in Ohio, using more than 200 rare photos and illustrations. It is a topic that David knows well from having spent 30 years working in adult and juvenile corrections, including stints "behind the walls" at the Ohio Penitentiary and the Ohio State Reformatory. "Prisons book author knows the nitty gritty," wrote Mike Harden in The Columbus Dispatch (11/04/2009). "Although Historic Prisons is, by its nature, largely anecdotal, its twisted little vignettes present a wickedly delicious tray of canapes."
• Dr. James Howard Snook, the two-time (and two-timing) Olympic gold medalist and Ohio State professor put to death for killing a lover half his age after an aphrodisiac-fueled affair.
• Purple Gang member Thomas "Yonnie" Licavoli who pulled 37 years at the Ohio Pen for the murder of a rival mobster, while continuing to operate his rackets from his prison cell.
• Esther Foster, the first woman hanged in Ohio. She is said to have pledged her body to medical science after a doctor promised her he would supply her with all the candy she could eat up to the minute the noose ended her sweets binge.
And many, many more. Harden summed the it up as follows: "[N]otions about progressive rehabilitation have always been a little like notions about socialism – they work fine in theory, but the people on the bottom of the pile don't live theoretically. The reality of their lives, though, makes for fascinating reading."
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