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date: 23 April 2021

Brockway, Zebulon Reedlocked

(28 April 1827–21 October 1920)
  • Sandra Opdycke


Brockway, Zebulon Reed (28 April 1827–21 October 1920), penologist, was born in Lyme, Connecticut, the son of Zebulon Brockway, a merchant and shipyard owner, and Caroline Brockway. After graduating from a local academy Brockway worked as a store clerk, first in Austinburg, Ohio, and then in Guilford, Connecticut. In 1848 he became a clerk at the Connecticut state prison and three years later was chosen as deputy superintendent of the penitentiary in Albany, New York. Appointed superintendent of the Albany almshouse in 1853, he built America’s first county hospital designed specifically for the insane. That same year he married Jane Woodhouse; they had two daughters. In 1854 he became the first superintendent of the new Monroe County prison in Rochester, New York. There he began his innovations in penology, treating prisoners with a leniency unusual for the time and stressing education rather than punishment. During this period Brockway was deeply stirred by the local revival movement and began to institute evangelistic programs, including a prison Sunday school. At the same time he won favorable public notice by devising a system of contract labor that made the prison self-supporting....

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