(Above) Undated photo of Warden Milton Roth, with uniformed and civilian colleagues, believed taken shortly before in his death in 1968. (Right) Formal photo. Both from the NYCHS-maintained archives.
For 35 Years

Milton Roth: Psychologist & Warden

On Nov. 12, 2004, Heidi Roth, revisited Rikers where her father had been warden of the NYC Reformatory in the 1960s.

With her was her teenage son. She wanted him to see the island where his grandfather had worked.

They were accompanied by an NYCHS escort who accepted, on behalf of the society, the family's memorial album of Milton Roth photos, clippings and other memorabilia from his 35-year career with NYC DOC.

It will be kept in the NYCHS - maintained archives at the NYC Correction Academy.

Some images from it will be used in displays and web pages that help tell correction history and his part in it.

The obituary below appeared, with the headline "In Memoriam," on
Page 4, Volume XII No. III 1968 of Correction Sidelights.

Warden Milton Roth had served 35 years as a member of the Department. He died suddenly, at the age of 61, of a heart attack November 5, 1968, at 49th Street and 10th Avenue, Manhattan.

Below from issue earlier in 1968:

Warden Milton Roth and Captain Garnell Smith get flowers ready for presentation to visiting parents.

Warden Milton Roth has done it again. Adding that little touch of consideration for the families of the inmate population. Warden Roth made Mother's Day at the N.Y.C. Reformatory a memorable one.

The adolescent inmates produced enough potted Balsam plants at the institutional greenhouse to present one to each visitor on Mother's Day.

In addition they prepared a big "Happy Mother's Day" banner for the institutional bus and placed many placards announcing the special holiday in the visiting area.

Did it go over? You would have had to be there to appreciate the reaction of visiting family members and the inmate population. Many were moved with tears of gratitude and many more expressed their feelings of appreciation to the institutional staff.

Just a little extra effort and the day was made a more significant one for all concerned. Radio 88, WCBS, did a moving spot coverage of the event.

He had served as Warden of the Reformatory since December 18, 1967, the day Commissioner George F. McGrath promoted him to the highest rank in the uniformed force.

He had been serving as Deputy Warden - in - Command of that institution since December 5, 1963.

Warden Roth joined the Department September 16, 1933, as a psychologist.

Five years later he filed for the position of Correction Officer and was appointed in 1938.

He rose to the rank of Captain in 1952; to Assistant Deputy Warden in 1957; and to Deputy Warden in 1962.

It was said of Warden Roth that he was a man genuinely dedicated to his work. He unassumingly handled the tremendous responsibility of providing interesting and meaningful programs for the volatile population of sentenced youthful offenders.

He was respected and loved by the inmates and their families.

The Reformatory program includes a Public School, Manpower Development Training program, a library, counseling, recreation, and intensive housing and classification services.

From archives photo:
Milton Roth with pipe at his warden's desk.

His staff carried out his policies with a loyalty that only a man with his abiding interest in the individual could possibly hope to realize.

There was an institutional "esprit de corps" that could be felt by the casual visitor or the veteran correctional employee.

The professional and the line correction officer both shared the team spirit engendered by this man.

From obit image:
Milton Roth with pen at his warden's desk.

As a Captain in the U. S. Army Military Intelligence, he served on active duty from 1941 to 1948.

Detail from 1968 map:
Reformatory and adolescent facilities were situated in 1968 at what is now JATC.

At the end of World War 11, he joined General Douglas MacArthur's personal staff.

Since he spoke Japanese fluently, he was placed in charge of a province in Japan for three years as Military Governor.

He retired as Lieutenant Colonel in the U. S. Army Reserves.

His wife, Florence, and daughter, Heidi, are his survivors.

To Anna & Austin's
P.S. 616
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In Memoriam
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