A Study of the Commitments to the Louisiana State Penitentiary During the Year April 1, 1938 through March 31, 1939
Date of Award
The object of this study is to analyze the composition of that portion of the criminal population committed to the Louisiana State Penitentiary during the year April 1, 1938 through March 31, 1939 The characteristics analyzed are ago, sex, race, marital status, residence, nativity, education, and the crimes for which the prisoners were committed. A survey of recidivism was also attempted, particular emphasis has bean placed upon the racial and rural-urban differences with respect to the crimes within the group. The data were collected and compiled from the prisons records on file at the office of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, The group was composed of a total of 1,126 prisoners, of whose 740 wore Negro, and 386 wore white. There were only 60 females committed: 53 were Negro and 7 were white. In general, the offender was youthful, unmarried, and poorly educated. Almost one-third of the white prisoners were out of state residents. The Negro prisoners wore a more native group. The data show that the prisoner is predominantly an urban resident, but the proportion of urban prisoners among the Negroes is much greater than it is in the case of the white. More than one-half of the prisoners had a penal or police record prior to present commitments. The Negro percentage was slightly lower than that of the white in this case, only one-fifth of those having previous felony records were sentenced under the habitual offender law. The fact that a much greater proportion of Negroes with previous felony records were sentenced under the above statute seems to indicate racial discrimination.
Dorn, Russell, "A Study of the Commitments to the Louisiana State Penitentiary During the Year April 1, 1938 through March 31, 1939" (1939). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 8338.