Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 43 of 61
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BOUND HIM WITH FETTERS OF BRASS AND HE
DID GRIND IN THE PRISON HOUSE."
ADDRESS DELIVERED BY GOVERNOR PAT M. NEFF, AT NAVASOTA, JANUARY
2, 1923, ADVOCATING THE CONCENTRATION OF OUR PRESENT
PENITENTIARY PROPERTIES AND URGING DIVERSIFICATION
OF PENITENTIARY INDUSTRIES..
OUR PENITENTIARY SYSTEM A BIG PROBLEM.
Since the beginning of governments, it has been necessary to have
prisons and penitentiaries. History, sacred and secular, tells of prison
life. The most vexing and perplexing problem that Governors and
Legislatures have had to deal with in Texas for years, is our penitentiary
system. It has many angles. The more you study it, the more
difficult and intricate its solution seems to be. The strange thing is
that there are so many people in the State who, though knowing nothing
about the penitentiary, never even having spent as much as a week
on a visit to it, can tell just exactly what ought to be done to make it a
success from every standpoint. Many improvements have been made
in our penitentiary life during the past two years. There are many
more to be worked out. Those in authority are trying to solve them
right. We are trving to breathe into the entire penitentiary system
the breath of humanity. I purpose in this talk, however, to deal only
with the physical properties and the financial side of this many-sided
The penitentiary system owns 81,120 acres of land. It has 41,000
acres of this land in cultivation. The penitentiary lands are divided
into twelve farms scattered from the banks of-the Red River to the
Gulf of Mexico. In going from the farm in South Texas to the farm
in North Texas, you travel nearly four hundred miles. On these farms
are twenty-two hundred head of work stock; twenty-seven hundred head
of cattle; thirty-five hundred head of hogs; thirteen hundred head of
sheep and goats; sufficient farm implements, and adequate residences
and buildings to house those who work the farms. The prison walls
and administrative offices are erected on a 10-acre tract of land at
Huntsville. The penitentiary farms, most of them over a hundred
miles from Huntsville, are located in Bowie, Houston, Madison, Walker,
Brazoria and Fort Bend Counties. Against these lands there is an indebtedness
of long standing of almost a half million dollars, being a
part of the original purchase price.
There are approximately 3700 convicts in the penitentiary. There
are some 1200 more in the penitentiary now than at the beginning of the
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/43/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .