Selected Papers of Homer Cummings, Attorney General of the United States, 1933-1939

By Carl Brent Swisher; Homer S. Cummings | Go to book overview

9. Prisons, Parole, and Pardons

[The broad outlines of the prison program are given in Part Two above. From 1933 to 1939 the complex and detailed problems of parole, probation and prison labor were studied, policy was formulated, legislation was secured, and administration was coordinated and developed. In the field of executive clemency, all applications were personally reviewed by Attorney General Cummings, after investigation. From March 4, 1933, to December 7, 1938, a total of 7,944 applications were filed, 3,028 recommendations submitted by the Attorney General were considered by the President, and 4,583 were disposed of in the Department of Justice under presidential regulations. These matters include full pardons, the restoration of civil rights, commutation of sentences, respites, and remission of fines, costs, and penalties. In the closing months of 1933, Attorney General Cummings recommended a general amnesty proclamation to restore civil rights to those convicted of violating the war-time Espionage Act and the Selective Service Act. The President issued the proclamation on December 23, 1933. Ed.]


An office memorandum to Sanford Bates, Director of the Bureau of Prisons, June 4, 1935:

I WAS at Alderson, West Virginia, on the 31st of May and had ample opportunity to look over the federal institution [a prison for women]. It was a highly enjoyable and stimulating experience. The impression I received was distinctly favorable.

There are certain matters which, at your convenience, I would be glad to talk over with you. When you write to Doctor Harris please present my congratulations and best wishes. Later on I shall write her a personal note of appreciation.


Office memorandum to Executive Assistant Ugo Carusi, June 5, 1935:

When I was at Alderson, the attached letter from Eva May Jones was handed to me together with the memorandum attached thereto.

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