The original 1840-1902 Manhattan "Tombs" was among the jails spotlighted in the exhibition.
The following information of historical interest appeared in the 1996 joint exhibition by the New York City Department of Correction and the Department of Design and Construction about New York's jails, "Care, Custody, and Control: Correction in New York City," at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The photographs, architectural designs, and artifacts from past to present -- believed largest New York City Correction collection of its kind ever assembled and publicly displayed -- were shown in the Atrium Gallery.
"Care, Custody, and Control: Correction in New York City" covered the 10 jails located on Rikers Island, the borough jail facilities, the Vernon C. Bain floating detention center, as well as other facilities throughout the City.
Vintage photos, antique handcuffs and keys, as well as historic documents and architectural drawings of detention facilities depicted Correction facilities' history.
The New York City Department of Correction operates the largest and
most complex system of correctional facilities in the United States, including
16 jails and three hospital prison wards that accommodate 18,000 to
20,000 inmates daily.
On July 1, 1996, the new Department of Design and Construction became
the agency responsible for building many of the city's public facilities,
including Correction's capital construction projects. Previously, this function
was carried out by the former Department of General Services.
The exhibition was an illustrated presentation on the evolution of the
city jail system. The historic materials, photographs, drawings, artifacts
and art depicted the unique qualities of the jail construction and operation.
It paid recognition to the people, uniformed and civilian, past and present,
responsible for running this significant arm of city government.
The show told the story of how the East River island, purchased by farmer
Guisbert Rycken in 1667 for livestock grazing became the nation's largest
urban jail complex: Rikers.
Also depicted were generations of Lower Manhattan detention complexes commonly called the "Tombs," the borough Houses of Detention (Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx) and various other facilities.
The photos, architect drawings and artifacts were arranged in eight display
units, each with its own theme. [ For more details on the exhibition, click
on "Displays Described."]
Mounted on display partitions were enlargements of the Centennial edition
of Correction News marking the Department's 100th anniversary as
a separate city agency.
The two Departments warmly thanked the John Jay College and its President,
Gerald W. Lynch, for the opportunity to mount the exhibition.