April 30, 2017 – NATIONAL HAIRSTYLIST APPRECIATION DAY – NATIONAL MILITARY BRATS DAY – NATIONAL HONESTY DAY – NATIONAL ADOPT A SHELTER PET DAY – NATIONAL SARCOIDOSIS DAY – NATIONAL OATMEAL COOKIE DAY – NATIONAL PREPAREATHON! DAY – NATIONAL RAISIN DAY – NATIONAL PET PARENTS DAY
On this day:
1927 – The Federal Industrial Institute for Women opens in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women’s federal prison in the United States.
The Federal Prison Camp, Alderson (FPC Alderson) is a minimum-security United States federal prison for female inmates in West Virginia. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.
FPC Alderson is located in two West Virginia counties, near the town of Alderson. A portion of the prison is located in unincorporated Monroe County, while the other portion of the prison, including the dormitories, lies in unincorporated Summers County. Four other area towns, Hinton, Lewisburg, Ronceverte, and White Sulphur Springs, are within commuting distance of FPC Alderson.
In the 1920s, there was a shortage of federal prison space for female inmates. Women offenders either were given alternative punishments or were housed alone within all-male institutions. Prison staff and fellow inmates sexually exploited girls and women who were incarcerated in these facilities.
Mabel Walker Willebrandt, the Assistant U.S. Attorney General, first encouraged establishment of a facility for women. FPC Alderson, which opened in 1927, was the first federal women’s prison in the United States. It was opened during a reform movement in the 1920s to help reform female offenders.
The first warden, Mary B. Harris, was chosen by Mabel Willebrandt. Despite later bureau mythology that Alderson opened its doors with moonshining women from the hills of West Virginia, 174 women had been sent to the facility in the first year of operation before its formal November 14, 1928, opening.
Serving as a model for prison reform at the time, it was styled after a boarding school offering education with no armed guards. The facility followed a reformatory model with no fenced grounds. The prison consisted of primarily work-oriented facilities designed for minor federal offenders. It originally consisted of fourteen cottages built in a horseshoe pattern on two-tiered slopes. The offenders segregated by race in the cottages and each building contained a kitchen and rooms for about thirty women. The vast majority of the women were imprisoned for drug and alcohol charges imposed during the Prohibition era.
FPC Alderson is a 159-acre (64 ha) facility and is the largest employer in the Alderson, West Virginia area.
While there is no barbed wire on the fence surrounding the camp, the prisoners have schedules and each one must work. Inmates get holidays off except those who work in the powerhouse and kitchen. From its beginning, Alderson’s staff members have maintained a focus on vocational training and personal growth experiences, with craft-shop activities an integral part of vocational training. Free time is spent walking around the sidewalk that is set between the two dorms as this is within bounds for the inmates. Since 2004 inmates are no longer free to roam the entire campus and are restricted in areas of the prison. They also play recreational activities such as volleyball.
Most of the inmates at FPC Alderson have been convicted of non-violent or white-collar crime. Many are in the drug program and have come from other prisons to attend the program at Alderson. They sleep in bunk beds in two large dormitories. The dormitories hold 500 plus inmates a piece. Each inmate sleeps in a 5-by-9-foot (1.5 m × 2.7 m) cinderblock cube inside of this open dormitory.
The prison was nicknamed “Camp Cupcake” by members of the news media when Martha Stewart was sentenced to a five-month term there. Local residents have also referred to it as “the college campus.” It was called “Yale” by one-time attendee Martha Stewart. By 2004, according to Alexandra Marks of The Independent, the operating model for Alderson followed “a punitive rather than a rehabilitative model”.
John Benish, the former co-manager of the Alderson Hospitality House, a hospitality establishment where families of Alderson inmates stay, said that FPC Alderson is “built like a college campus. There is lot of property, a lot of greenery and there is no barbed wire around.” The Alderson facility includes two dormitories with 500 inmates each. Inmates live in two person cubicles instead of traditional barred prison cells.
As of 2004, most prisoners at Alderson were convicted of recreational drug-related offenses. Esther Heffernan, a sociology professor at Edgewood College, said that throughout history the inmates included “relatives of famous mobsters and grandmotherly women who embezzled money from banks. You’ve had a real mixture.” Hefferman added that in Alderson, which was a “not undesirable” place to be confined, the isolation from urban life could be stressful for inmates. She said that the inmates, “Coming from the streets of New York and D.C.,” were awakened at night by crickets and frogs. Prisoners are not permitted to patronize Alderson, West Virginia area businesses.
The facility allows weekend visits, but special hours are available for holidays. In prior years the families of inmates were allowed past visiting rooms only on Thanksgiving Day when they could also share in a holiday feast for $1.75.
FPC Alderson is one of six Federal and State Prisons participating in the paws4people TM paws4prisons TM Service Dog Training program. This program allows for college level classes and instruction in the raising and training of dogs to be placed with Veterans and Active Duty Military with PTSD, TBI and MST, as well as Adolescents with physiological, physical and other challenges. This program works as a re-entry program for Alderson inmates who are in demand as dog trainers upon release.
More on wiki:
Notable inmates (current and former)
Inmates released from custody prior to 1982 are not listed on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
Born on this day:
1857 – Eugen Bleuler, Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist (d. 1940)
Paul Eugen Bleuler (German: [ˈɔɪɡeːn ˈblɔɪlər]; 30 April 1857 – 15 July 1939) was a Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist most notable for his contributions to the understanding of mental illness and for coining the terms “schizophrenia”, “schizoid”, “autism”, and what Sigmund Freud called “Bleuler’s happily chosen term ambivalence”.
Bleuler was born in Zollikon, a town near Zürich in Switzerland, to Johann Rudolf Bleuler, a wealthy farmer, and Pauline Bleuler-Bleuler. He studied medicine in Zürich and following his graduation in 1881 he worked as a medical assistant to Gottlieb Burckhardt at the Waldau Psychiatric Clinic in Bern. Leaving this post in 1884 he spent one year on medical study trips to Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris, to Bernhard von Gudden in Munich and to London. Thereafter he returned to Zürich to take a post as an intern at the Burghölzli, a university hospital.
In 1886 Bleuler became the director of a psychiatric clinic at Rheinau, a hospital located in an old monastery on an island in the Rhine. It was noted at the time for being backward, and Bleuler set about improving conditions for the patients resident there.
Bleuler returned to the Burghölzli in 1898 where he was appointed director.
Relationship with Freud
Following his interest in hypnotism, especially in its “introspective” variant, Bleuler became interested in Sigmund Freud’s work. He favorably reviewed Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud’s Studies on Hysteria.
Like Freud, Bleuler believed that complex mental processes could be unconscious. He encouraged his staff at the Burghölzli to study unconscious and psychotic mental phenomena. Influenced by Bleuler, Carl Jung and Franz Riklin used word association tests to integrate Freud’s theory of repression with empirical psychological findings. As a series of letters demonstrates (published in English in 2003), Bleuler performed a self-analysis with Freud, beginning in 1905.
He found Freud’s movement to be over-dogmatic and resigned from the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1911, writing to Freud that “this ‘all or nothing’ is in my opinion necessary for religious communities and useful for political parties…but for science I consider it harmful”. Bleuler remained interested in Freud’s work, citing him favourably, for example, in his often reprinted Textbook of Psychiatry (1916). He also supported the nomination of Freud for the Nobel Prize in the late twenties.
Dementia Praecox, or the Group of Schizophrenias
Bleuler introduced the term “schizophrenia” to the world in a lecture in Berlin on 24 April 1908. However, perhaps as early as 1907 he and his colleagues had been using the term in Zurich to replace Emil Kraepelin’s term dementia praecox. He revised and expanded his schizophrenia concept in his seminal study of 1911, Dementia Praecox, oder Gruppe der Schizophrenien (Dementia Praecox, or Group of Schizophrenias), which was only translated into English in 1950 (by Joseph Zinkin). Like Kraepelin, Bleuler argued that dementia praecox, or “the schizophrenias,” was fundamentally a physical disease process characterized by exacerbations and remissions. No one was ever completely “cured” of schizophrenia—there was always some sort of lasting cognitive weakness or defect that was manifest in behavior. Unlike Kraepelin, he believed that the overall prognosis was not uniformly grim, the “dementia” was a secondary symptom not directly caused by the underlying biological process (three other “fundamental symtpoms,” deficits in associations, affectivity and ambivalence, were), and that the biological disease was much more prevalent in the population due to its “simple” and especially “latent” forms. Bleuler wrote in 1911: “When the disease process flares up, it is more correct, in my view, to talk in terms of deteriorating attacks, rather than its recurrence. Of course the term recurrence is more comforting to a patient and his relatives than the notion of progressively deteriorating attacks.” (See Noll, American Madness, pages 236-242). The eugenic sterilization of persons diagnosed with (and viewed as predisposed to) schizophrenia was advocated by Bleuler. He believed racial deterioration would result from the propagation of mental and physical cripples in his Textbook of Psychiatry:
The more severely burdened should not propagate themselves… If we do nothing but make mental and physical cripples capable of propagating themselves, and the healthy stocks have to limit the number of their children because so much has to be done for the maintenance of others, if natural selection is generally suppressed, then unless we will get new measures our race must rapidly deteriorate.
He believed the disease’s central characteristics to be the product of a process of splitting between the emotional and the intellectual functions of the personality. He favoured early discharge from hospital into a community environment to avoid institutionalisation.
Bleuler also explored the concept of moral idiocy, and the relationship between neurosis and alcoholism. He followed Freud in seeing sexuality as a potent influence upon anxiety, pondered on the origins of the sense of guilt, and studied the process of what he termed switching (the affective shift from love to hate, for example).
Bleuler was known for his clinical observation and willingness to let symptoms speak for themselves, as well as for his skillful expository writings.
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