My name is Ty Stump and I’m an archivist at the Pennsylvania State Archives. I studied to be an archivist and a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park, and previously worked at the University of Maryland Archives, Smithsonian Museum of American History, and National Anthropological Archives.
“Another Century” is what I do for fun because I like finding the cool parts of history and sharing them. I decided to make this blog for two reasons: as an outlet for my writing and to share history with a special focus on historical records that don’t get a lot of attention.
You’ll mostly find stories here from American history between 1850 and 1950, more specifically about popular culture, technology, my own family history and (of course) Pennsylvania. Sometimes I like to write about the archives profession too.
If you can’t get enough of me here, you can find me writing for Pennsylvania Heritage. You can also find me @ArchivistTy on twitter.
Please note that all content on this site is my own and does not necessarily represent the views of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution, or the University of Maryland.
Interesting piece of history. I managed a unit in MA for patients- about 1/3 of them were forensic. I was looking up Fairview because my brother was there when he was about 17. He was born in 1952 and is now deceased. He was quite a handful and out of desperation, my parents had him committed to Fairview for an evaluation. I’m assuming all records have been purged. It was a terrible place and my brother said if my parents didn’t make the three he drive each weekend, he didn’t know what would have happened to him. My mother was Polish as were many of the guards and she thinks this helped him stay safe.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing your story, I’m glad your brother made it out. Very few records from Farview survive unfortunately, and many experiences like the one you described aren’t well documented. That’s interesting about the Polish guards, I didn’t know that either. I knew a lot of the staff were formerly employed in the mining trades but that was as far as I could find on that. Thanks for filling me in here.
Your piece on Farview was excellent, and really went in-depth about its complex history.
I served a majority of my prison sentence there, it being SCI-Waymart now, from 2018-2020~;
I have to say that it’s still horrifyingly similar to the accounts of Farview over the years, in terms of the way the staff, both C.O.’s and “mental health’ staff, treat the inmates. Farview is still functionally alive within SCI-Waymart, as about half of the ‘prison’ is a dedicated mental ward essentially. Anyone placed within it, either voluntarily or otherwise, will have been deemed criminally insane and forced to take medication, often leading to many of them becoming shells of their former selves, zombies pretty much. I witnessed this first hand. The C.O.’s and the ‘mental health’ staff laugh about it; and if an inmate attempts to refuse medication they’ll be forcibly held down, stripped of their clothes and injected, then strapped to a bed until they comply fully.
The inmates in General Population don’t have it much better. The C.O.’s are extremely cruel, and will do anything they can to make your life a living hell. They often disregard any potential commodity or rule that might be in your favor, and make up their own rules to decrease your standard of living. Any chance they get, they’ll make up a reason to write you up, send you to the hole, and then repeat this cycle once you get back to General Population. Once in the hole the psych department gets ahold of you, and attempts in anyway possible to prescribe you psych meds, many deemed illegal by the state, and don’t easily take no for an answer. Once one accepts any psych meds, it’s a simple path to being forcibly committed to the psych ward, aka the ‘FTC’ (Forensic Treatment Center). I forgot to mention that if you’re in the FTC on any type of commitment and your prison sentence is up, you will be held as criminally insane, with countless ways for them to keep you in there, including C.O.’s who interact with people with mental disabilities, despite no qualification to do so , causing trouble for you, antagonizing you, and then writing you up, or having the psych staff prolong your commitment.
If you are put in the hole for any reason, you will be tortured. You will not be given toilet paper, or any basic human essentials, like soap or toothpaste. You will have your drinking water and toilet turned off by the C.O.’s, will likely be pepper sprayed at some point, will have your meals denied, your 1 hour of ‘yard’ time denied, be given barely any food if at all, will potentially be beaten up by C.O.’s if you protest or talk back in the slightest, and might end up strapped to a bed naked, or put in an inmate restraint system. The hole is like a human torture and experimentation chamber, where you’ll be pushed to your limits, and then medicated and/or committed if you reach them.
A lot of the staff there are descendants from the original staff of Farview, and many of them are indeed Polish as someone else stated. I became friendly with one of the foreman of the Garment Plant, who has worked there since it wad Farview, and he recounted many horrible stories of what happened back then. Many of them are blatantly racist, and overly hateful and spiteful toward the inmates.
The entire place has an extremely eerie feeling. It should have been closed years ago, and never reopened. There’s still a huge amount of illegal things going on there by a vast majority of the staff, from the S.I., George Miller (if he’s still there), to the C.O.’s like Bell, Watson, Oliver, and countless others, to the ‘psych’ and ‘treatment’ staff, like counselors and unit managers. They all have each others’ backs, and there’s absolutely nothing an inmate can do to preserve their rights, other than try their best to lay low, accept things as they are, and not make any ways whatsoever. They’ll prolong your stay at the drop of a hat, any chance they get, just because they can. It’s supposed to be the lowest security/custody level prison, with certain privileges given to the inmates, but it’s worse than any max security prison I’ve been to.
I’m sorry that this is such a long post, and that I chose here to post about all this, but it’s scary that it’s not talked about at all, and that there’s no way anything will change. It truly is still as bad as Farview was.
Thanks for reading if you did, even though I’m unsure how many people will see this.
Thanks for sharing this, that’s absolutely terrible what you experienced at Waymart. Even more so since its consistent with how others were treated there decades and decades ago. Ugh. As I was researching this article, I had a lot of sources on the institution up through the 1990s but not much after that so that’s why I ended the article around when Farview closed and was transformed into SCI Waymart. But the facility’s history from the last 30 years is important too (obviously) and I hope to do some sort of update in the future.
Its not easy to research history like this, but that pales in comparison to actually living it and I hope you’re doing ok. I really appreciate you commenting here.
I ran across your article on Archiving Danville. My 2x GGM was sent there by the Directors of the Poor of Providence (now Scranton) in 1876 after a stillbirth. I was looking for resources on what restraints might have been used during her time there, as it is mentioned in her patient records (obtained from PA Archives, thank you!). Do you know of any resources on that? She was there 1876-1881, and died there in 1881.