Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ragen, Joseph E.
For 25 years (1936–1961), Joseph E. Ragen was warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. The penitentiary was a complex of two maximum-security prisons, Joliet and Stateville, and a 2,200-acre prison farm. These facilities were designed to house approximately 3,500 prisoners, but the population frequently exceeded 5,000. In the 25 years Ragen served as warden, there were no reported or acknowledged escapes from Stateville, no riots or major disturbances at any of the prisons, and few deaths. While prison riots swept across the United States in the 1950s, Ragen's complex remained calm and its factories continued to produce millions of dollars per year in food and manufactured goods. The orderliness and productivity of his administration had an international reputation; Ragen was a frequent host to European corrections officials. He was also an autocratic ruler whose policies and practices drew criticism at the time of his administration and now, in ...