The history of the penal press in Indiana state correctional institutions
"The penal publication is a voice crying in the wilderness of public and sometimes officials apathy. It is a voice carrying the pleas and convictions of a suppressed segment of our population." Thus was the June 14, 1963, Pendleton Reflector's description of a penal publication.The Reflector was one of 27 penal publications published during the last 85 years in one of the six Indiana Correctional institutions studied: Indiana Boys' School; Indiana Girls' School; Indiana Women's Prison; Indiana State Farm; Indiana State Prison; and Indiana Reformatory.Indiana penal press history began during the 1890's when the Plainfield Reformatory (Indiana Boys" School), Hot Drops (Indiana Reformatory), and Reflector (Indiana Reformatory began publication. Only the Reflector, discontinued in 1972, maintained publication into the 1900's. During the 75 year existence of the Reflector, most other Indiana penal publications began and ceased publication. Many existed for only a few issues; other published for several years.Content prior to 1940 consisted primarily of feature and outside news material, while post 1940 content concentrated on inside news and inmate views.Though material included capital punishment, riots, escape, and an occasional beating, penal publication content was not responsible for the death of the Indiana penal press. Instead, censored material not allowed inside the pages of the Lake Shore Outlook (Indiana State Prison) was written, smuggled out of prison, and published. The resulting book written by the Outlook staff, An Eye For An Eye, marked the first of a series of events leading to the cessation of publication of both the Lake Shore Outlook and The Pendleton Reflector. By 1973, only The Boys' School Herald and Super Star Spectrum (Indiana Boys' School and Indiana Girls' School) continued to publish.Little prospect is in store for the reinstitution of penal publications at Indiana State Prison, Indiana Reformatory, Indiana State Farm, or Indiana Women's Prison.