Velma West at piano photograph   Save
Velma West at piano photograph
Description: Dated 1950-1959, this photograph shows notorious Ohio Reformatory for Women inmate Velma West, who was serving a life sentence for beating her husband to death with a hammer for refusing to take her to a bridge game. She and another inmate escaped the Reformatory in 1939, but were captured and returned to the prison. In 1911, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the establishment of a separate women’s penal institution. On September 1, 1916, the Ohio Reformatory for Women opened in Marysville, Ohio, with a population of 34 inmates. When Marguerite Reilley was appointed superintendent of the Reformatory in 1935, she found dirty and unkempt inmates with excessively restricted living habits. She instituted the “human being” program which provided recreation, entertainment, jobs, and vocational training for the inmates. State Archived Series 1679 AV consists of 234 photographs which illustrate daily life in the Ohio Reformatory for Women, as well as photographs of the buildings and grounds, superintendents Marguerite Reilley and Martha Wheeler. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL00177
Subjects: Correctional institutions--Ohio; Multicultural Ohio--Ohio Women; Ohio History--State and Local Government--Corrections
Places: Marysville (Ohio); Union County (Ohio)