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When the United States Federal Government attempted to reform the behavior and morality of it's citizenry by prohibiting alcohol it resulted in creating a very different society. In order to manage the expanding incarceration of outlaws in 1930, President Hoover established the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Prohibition had also created a new class of felon that had never existed in large numbers and now they, too, were in need of jail time: women.

"More than 25,000 women have been fined or sentenced to jail for fracturing the National Prohibition Act...Prohibition Commissioner Roy Haynes (1881 1940) says that the 'queens of bootleggery' are a real problem and menace. His department has watched the development of the female bootlegger with anxious eyes. Special tab is kept on the number of cases in which women figure and his agents have been warned against showing quarter to them because of their sex... There's hardly a Federal or State court which has not been called upon to deal with at least one 'fair defendant' charged with violations of the Volstead Act. Out of every 100 cases of alleged violations of the prohibition statutes, twenty-five women are either defendants or witnesses."

Indeed, so plentiful were the skirts of Rum Row - the Federal Government saw fit to build a prison compound to house them; you can read about that here...

An article about women criminals in the Fifties can be read by clicking here...

Click here to see a 1938 photo essay about the life of the men at Sing Sing Prison.

     


Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

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