Description

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as New York Governor Regarding Prison Reform. June 18, 1930. Albany, New York. Two pages. 8" x 10.5", Executive Chamber letterhead. To Honorable Sanford Bates, Justice Department, Washington. FDR writes, in full: "My dear Mr. Bates:/ I can tell you a little more in this note than was possible over the telephone to El Paso. As you probably know, the last Legislature at the last moment authorized the creation of a wholly new Parole system for the State of New York. This system has been divorced from the Department of Corrections and placed, at my urging, as a separate division of the Executive Department-in other words, it reports directly to the Governor./ The Commission is to consist of three members, at a salary of $12,000 each./ Since the Legislature adjourned I have been in consultation with a great many of our friends, whose opinion I value highly on social welfare and penological problems, and it has been very interesting to me to know that without exception they have agreed with me that you are the one person who could best initiate and carry out the new State policy. That is why I much hope that you will consider seriously the request that comes, not only from me, but from many of your friends, that you accept an appointment as a member of this Commission and it Chairman./ I realize, of course, the very important work which you now have in connection with the Federal Prisons and, at the same time, I am wondering if you will not very shortly feel that you have carried through your organization work in Washington and that the rest of the task can be accomplished by others. The only need for immediate decision lies in the fact that appointments must be made before July first, in order that the Commission may inaugurate the work./ After going over the problem of the appointments, I have come to the conclusion that there should be on the Board, in the other tow places, a man with judicial experience, who, at the same time, has made a long study of social and penal problems. Therefore, I have asked former Supreme Court Justice Irving Goldsmith in that capacity. Further, I have thought that the other place should be filled by a man expert in parole and probation work, and I have asked Mr. Bernard J. Fagan, Chief Probation Officer of the Children's Court in New York, who is probably the best equipped man we have in the State. It would be possible for me to appoint a temporary third member for the purpose of organization if you feel that you can come a little later on in his place./ I hope much that you will give this very deep consideration, and I know you realize the very great importance of the new Parole system in New York-if it works out successfully it ought to be of the greatest possible value, no only in our State but as a guidance for other States./ I shall be at Hyde Park-telephone Poughkeepsie 545-next Sunday, June 22nd, and all of the following week in Albany until Thursday afternoon, June 26th, when I leave for the Governors' Conference in Salt Lake City./ Very sincerely yours..." At the time of this letter, Bates was Superintendent of Prisons at the Department of Justice and was preparing the legislation that would create the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He would hold the position of Director from 1930 until 1937. Paper is fine with folds and binding holes but the typewriting is extremely faded. The signature is bold. An interesting and historically important letter.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    17th-18th Tuesday-Wednesday
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