Wednesday, May 9, 2012

66. Digital Archives Adds Women's Prison Records

    The ICPR issued the following press release last week:

     INDIANAPOLIS (May 3, 2012) -The nationally-recognized Indiana Digital Archives ( has new digital collections available for anyone interested in Indiana heritage and genealogy.
    The Indiana Women's Prison database includes nearly 20,000 names of women committed to the Indiana Women's Prison between 1873 and 1969. Compiled from inmate record books maintained by the Indiana Women's Prison, information entered in this database includes the prisoner's name, race, county of conviction, crime, term of sentence and/or fine, sentence date, and the date(s) of discharge, parole, pardon, or death. When applicable, the "Notes" field includes information on transfers to other institutions, aliases, maiden or married names, escapes, and previous convictions or paroles.
    The inmate record books at the Indiana State Archives also contain family history and other information not included in this database due to space limitations. Additionally, there are admission cards, commitment papers, occasional photographs, and other records for some prisoners.
    Researchers should contact the State Archives at to learn what records are available on an inmate and to order reproductions of documents.
    "The Indiana Women's Prison has a significant place in Indiana history being the nation's first institution expressly for female prisoners and the first maximum-security female correctional facility," said Jim Corridan, State Archivist and Director of the Indiana Commission on Public Records. "We anticipate family history researchers will find this index particularly useful when researching incarcerated women in Indiana."

[My comment? Where are the images online? This database, while good, has again been keyed by Hoosier volunteers at little or no cost to the state. When is the "professional" paid staff going to be trained to operate a scanner, so that we can see these documents and photographs? The Washington  State Digital Archives, supposedly the model for Indiana, has thousands of images online.]

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