A Proper Regard for the Unfortunates:
Origins of the Jail System in Westchester County, N. Y.
(#9 of 9 parts)
By Anthony J. Czarnecki, Chief of Staff (ret.), Westchester County Correction Dept.
The text and images are presented here by permission of the author and the Westchester County Historical Society that published them as the cover article, "A Proper Regard for the Unfortunates," in the Spring 2006 edition of its Westchester Historian. All rights retained and reserved.

Above: American Correctional Association home page banner images. ACA is one of 2 national correction-related associations whom Westchester County Correction Commissioners have headed during the course of their careers.

In 1969, Local Law 3-68 established the post of Correction Commissioner to replace the Sheriff with regard to responsibility for the care and custody of detainees and sentenced inmates.

Westchester's first Correction Commissioner under this Local Law was Roberts J. (1971 - 73).

Wright had been serving as warden of the county's penitentiary at the time of his appointment as commissioner.

His had been a long and distinguished career as a penologist. Massachusetts Gov. Christian A. Herter (who later became U.S. Secretary of State) named Wright to a 1955 panel to probe the Bay state's prison system.

At the time, Wright was assistant general secretary of the American Correctional Association (ACA) and a leader in the Prison Association of New York (that later became the Correctional Association of NY).

Many panel recommendations to Herter were adopted and improved the system.

Wright eventually became ACA president. In 1962, Springfield College, Ma., conferred on Wright, a 1932 graduate, its Edward Norris Tarbell Medallion for outstanding service.

The above image and caption did NOT appear in the original Czarnecki report or Westchester Historian article. They were crafted for this presentation by the NYCHS webmaster as page design elements and for historical background. Click image to access web source: The home page of the American Correctional Association. It retains and reserves all rights.

ENDNOTES:
  1. Westchester County Archives, Board of Supervisors Records (1853), "Presentment of brand Jury: June 8, 1853", Series 216 A-0306(1)L, Folder 18. These records are hereafter referenced as "WCA-BOSR." Return

  2. Westchester County Archives, Board of Supervisors Minutes (1854-1858), Series 215, A-0302(4), pp. 34-36. Return

  3. Ibid. p. 36. Return

  4. Moore, Charles Everett, "The Jail Limits Monument," The Quarterly Bulletin (White Plains, NY: Westchester County Historical Society, Vol. 5, No. 2 - April 1929), p. 49 Return

  5. Westchester County Archives, Deeds Liber 318, pp. 262-266: "Charles A. Purdy to the Board of Supervisors:" Recorded November 2, 1855." Series 34, A-0355(340). Return

  6. Rosch, John, Historical White Plains: A History of the City of White Plains, Harbor Hill Books (Harrison, NY : 1939), p. 232. Return

  7. Westchester County Historical Society, "French's Scrapbooks," (Obituary : 1892), Vol. 6, p. 95. Return

  8. Prison Association of New York, "Sixth Annual Report", C. Van Benthuysen, Printer (Albany, NY : 1851), p.45. These records are hereafter referenced as "PA-NY." Return

  9. Ibid, p.48. Return

  10. PA-NY, "Tenth Annual Report," C. Van Benthuysen, Printer (Albany, NY 1855), pp. 187-188. Return

  11. American Architect and Building News, Vol. 5, No. 166: March 1, 1879, p. 65. Return

    Above: American Probation and Parole Association home page banner images. The APPA is the other of two national correction-related associations whom Westchester County Correction Commissioners have headed during the course of their careers.

    Rocco A. Pozzi (right), currently (2006) holding the dual positions of Westchester County Commissioner of Probation and Commissioner of Correction, began his career in community corrections in 1973 as a probation officer in Philadelphia. He was Deputy Chief Probation Officer for the Philadelphia County Probation when he left that city in 1989 to head Westchester Probation. He served as APPA president in 1995-1997.

    Mr. Pozzi was appointed Commissioner of Correction in 1998. He holds a B.S. in criminal justice from Pennsylvania State U., a masterís degree in public administration from Temple U., completed the Government Officials Executive Seminar at Harvard U., and serves as Executive in Residence at Paceís Dyson College of Arts and Sciences in the Criminal Justice and Sociology department.

    The above images and caption did NOT appear in the original Czarnecki report or Westchester Historian article. They were crafted for this presentation by the NYCHS webmaster as page design elements and for historical background. Click images to access their respective web site sources: The American Probation and Parole Association and the Westchester Correction Dept. They retains and reserves all rights.

  12. Struble, Mildred, "Westchester County Jail : 1856-1957", The Quarterly Bulletin (White Plains, NY : Westchester County Historical Society, Vol. 33, No.3 - July, August, September 1957), p. 86. Return

  13. WCA-BOSR (1857), "Petition From Seth Bird : November 10, 185T," Series 216, A-0306(5)L, Folder 41. Return

  14. Struble, Mildred, "Westchester County Jail: 1856-1957," The Westchester Historian (White Plains, NY: Westchester County Historical Society, Vol. 33, No. 3 - July, August, September 1957), pp. 86-88. Return

  15. Struble, p.86.Return

  16. WCA-BOSR (1857), "Letter to D.H. Little from John F. Jenkins, Surveyor : November 24, 1857," Series 216, A-0306(5)L, Folder 40. Return

  17. WCA-BOSR (1858), "Report of Physician to the Jail with Table Annexed," Series 216, A-0306(8)L, Folder 14. Return

  18. WCA-BOSR (1863), "Report of Physician to Jail," Series 216, A--0306(19)L, Folder W. Return
    Above: Former Westchester Correction Commissioner Albert D. Gray (right) sworn in as NYC Correction Deputy Commissioner of Planning, Information Systems and Inspectional Services by NYC Correction Personnel Director Helen Tanzosh while then NYC Correction Commissioner Ben Ward watches.

    The photo was published in the NYC Correction Department newsletter's 1983 summer issue. Albert D. Gray was the second man appointed as Westchester Correction Commissioner. He served 1974 - 1982.

    The above image and caption did NOT appear in the original Czarnecki report or Westchester Historian article. They were crafted for this presentation by the NYCHS webmaster as page design elements and for historical background. Click image to access its web page elsewhere on this NYCHS site. NYC DOC and NYCHS retains and reserves their respective rights.

  19. WCA-BOSR (1864), "Report of Physician to County Jail : November 28, 1864," Series 216, A-0306(22)L, Folder 10. Return

  20. WCA-BOSR (1865), "Report of Physician to County Jail," Series 216, A-0306(26)i, Folder 20. Return

  21. PA-NY, "Twentieth Annual Report," Charles Van Benthuysen, Printer (Albany, NY 1865), pp. 353-356: Return

  22. WCA-BOSR (1868), "Grand Jurors Communication Regarding County Jail 1368." Series 216. A-030613211. Folder 45. Return

  23. WCA-BOSR (1868), "Report of the Committee on the Conditions of the County Jail : December 2, 1868," Series 216, A-0306(33)L, Folder 13. Return

  24. Ibid. Return

  25. PA-NY, "Twenty-Fourth Annual Report for 1868," The Argus Company, Printers (Albany, NY : 1869), pp. 451-452. Return

  26. WCA-BOSR (1869), "Presentment of Grand Jury : 1869," Series 216, A-0306(35)L, Folder 45. Return

  27. PA-NY, "Twenty-Seventh Annual Report for the Year 1871," The Argus Company, Printers (Albany, NY : 1872), pp. 96-97. Return

    John Maffucci (left), served as Westchester County's 3rd Correction Commissioner 1983 - 1986.

    Maffucci began his criminal justice career more than a half century ago - as a guidance counselor at Sing Sing in 1955.

    For 18 years he worked as NYS parole officer, beginning in 1957.

    In 1974 Gov. Malcolm Wilson appointed him a Commissioner on the State Parole Board. Gov. Hugh Carey reappointed him in 1975. An image of the Commissioner shield is at right.

    Maffucci, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Fordham University, taught at Mercy College as an adjunct assistant professor 1972 - 1980.

    In 1986, after leaving the Westchester County Correction Commissioner post, he started a PI office, Maffucci Associates Inc. in Briarcliff Manor.

    The shield emblem of the investigations firm appears left.

    In August 2003, Maffucci launched himself upon a new career by authoring a futuristic novel: The Sing Sing Connection.

    The December 2003 review in Half Moon Press, that serves the Hudson River towns of Westchester, called the book "a real page-turner" and said it "provides an insider's view of the warped psyches and brutal conduct of violent criminals, of particular interest to those who live in such proximity to the 'Big House.'"

    Its fictional plot involves an experiment to end the aggressive behavior of Sing Sing's 25 most vicious prisoners by implanting microchips in their brains, and then externally programming the chips. Book cover image at right.

    The above image and caption did NOT appear in the original Czarnecki report or Westchester Historian article. They were crafted for this presentation by the NYCHS webmaster as page design elements and for historical background.

    Click images to access relevant Maffucci web pages. All rights retained and reserved.

  28. WCA-BOSR (1871), "Communication by Grand Jury Regarding the County Jail: June 26, 1871," Series 216, A-0306(41)L, Folder 7. Return

  29. WCA-BOSR (1875), "Resolutions of the Grand Jury : March 5, 1875," Series 216, A-0306(55)L, Folder 24. Return

  30. Ibid. Return

  31. WCA-BOSR (1876), "Report of Committee on Repairs & Supplies : December 13, 1876," Series 216, A-306(61)L, Folder 8. Return

  32. Moynahan, James M. and Earle K. Stewart, The American Jail : Its Development and Growth, Nelson-Hall Publishers (Chicago: 1980), p.65. Return

  33. Ibid, p.41. Return

  34. Westchester County Historical Society, "French's Scrapbooks," Vol. 10, p. 45. Return

  35. PA-NY, "Seventy-Third Annual Report : 1917," J.B. Lyon Company, Printers (Albany, NY : 1918), p. 152-153. Return

  36. N.Y. State Commission of Correction, "Report of Inspection: Westchester County Jail" (Albany, NY : January 16, 1931), p. 1-2. Return

  37. White Plains City Archives, "Hoffmann Scrapbooks," Voi.1, p.4. Return

  38. Dobbs Ferry Register, July 22, 1932, p. 1. Return

  39. Winston Churchill Quotations, Jarrold Publishing Ltd. (Norwich, GB : 1997), p. 11. Return

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The New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) presents here text and images from A Proper Regard for the Unfortunates: Origins of the Jail System in Westchester County, N. Y. by NYCHS member Anthony J. Czarnecki, Chief of Staff (ret.), Westchester County Correction Dept. We do so with permission from both the author and the Westchester County Historical Society that published the history as the cover article in the Spring 2006 edition of its Westchester Historian. All rights retained and reserved. The NYCHS webmaster added sepia tint to the grayscale images made available for this presentation. NYCHS acknowledges the help of Westchester Correction Sgt. Donald Smith and Sgt. Fred Anderson.