Joseph Batka at work in NYC DOC Engineering Bureau September, 1949.
Chief Architect Batka Had Degrees
But Also Kept His Keeper's Cards
Joseph Batka has contributed scanned images of a "Prison Keepers Association" Card from 1937 (both sides) to New York Correction History Society's artifact photo gallery. The NYCHS webmaster has slightly enhanced the images to make them more readable, but has not changed their content or general appearance.

The holder of the card was the contributor's father Joseph Batka Jr (now deceased), the same Joseph Batka (Chief Architect) mentioned in this site's archived article about the opening of the Rikers Island bridge.

The Prison Keepers Association was a forerunner of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.

Note that the back of the card, shown below, recorded the 25 cents monthly dues payments to which association delegates' signatures attested.

Chief Architect Batka had started out as a prison keeper in 1936, became a captain eight years later, and became Deputy Warden eight years after that.

Meanwhile, he attended architectural classes at night to earn a degree in that discipline and his license. He went from architect in 1954 to senior architect in 1960 to administrative architect in 1969.

His son Joseph provides the career outline:

  • Prison Keeper -- December 16, 1936
  • Captain -- January 16, 1944
  • Deputy Warden -- February 21, 1952
  • Architect -- June 16, 1954
  • Senior Architect -- August 25, 1960
  • Adminstrative Architect -- July 14, 1969
  • Retired -- October 23, 1971

Click to access postcard.
His son Joseph also provided the New York Correction History Society with three digital images of his father: the 1949 photo of him at work in the DOC engineering bureau (top of page), a 1936 photo of him in his Prison Keeper's Uniform (left), and a 1938 photo montage postcard (size 4x6 inches) showing Keeper Batka and the Rikers Island penitentiary.

Note shield position in the two images. Was postcard portrait was flipped horizontally?
Click on the image of Keeper Batka (right) to access the larger postcard photo montage image (68K) from which it is taken. The Batka family is also making available to the society a copy of an article he wrote for the American Journal of Correction, entitled "Penthouse Jail Myths" with a foreword by Commissioner Anna M. Kross.

If you have artifacts of New York correctional history, please consider sending us digital images of them or photos of them that we can scan into digital images, along with brief descriptions.

We will post the images and descriptions in this Correction Artifacts Photo Gallery section.

To make arrangements, e-mail us at (Please include the term "Correction Gallery" as part of the e-mail subject title and a callback phone number in the body of your message.)

The bridge opening article from the Spring 1967 Correction Sidelights newsletter can be found listed on the New York City Department of Correction history menu under "Bridges."

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