15 April 2011

Bad Girls at The Detroit House of Corrections: Belle Starr, Sophie Lyons Burke and Julia M. Barker

Belle Starr was incarcerated at the Detroit House of Corrections .  So was Sophie Lyons Burke and Julia M. Barker.  Quite an all-star (no pun intended!) lineup.

The National Park Service article for Fort Smith stated:

"Women with children received special privileges, but did not escape punishment. Anna Jones was allowed to keep her 4 year old daughter with her in jail. Mrs. Arena Howe, who arrived in the winter of 1880-81 on a murder charge, had her five year old son with her. She was also pregnant and had only a few weeks until delivery. Mrs. Howe had the child on schedule and the baby soon accompanied mother and brother to the Detroit House of Corrections to serve a 10 year sentence for manslaughter."
 According to this article:

"Although it was owned and operated by the city of Detroit, the plan from the beginning had been for it to accept prisoners liberally from other jurisdictions," wrote Paul W. Keve in the Michigan Historical Review in 1999."

From Landmarks of Detroit A History....by Robert B. Ross and George Catlin (1898):

 ...In 1859 this cemetery was found to be too close to the center of the town and another purchase was made on Russell street a short distance north of Gratiot avenue. This was supposed to be sufficiently remote for all time but the Eastern Market and the Detroit House of Correction now occupy the ground.  .... .  [Eastern Market is still in the same location; the Detroit House of Correction moved]

In 1922 a new location in Plymouth Township, Wayne County, Michigan, was chosen for the Detroit House of Corrections.  It was officially closed in 1986.  According to this, the records for DeHoCo are housed at the Burton Collection at the Detroit Public Library.

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