Early nineteenth-century reports of New York State prison inspectors include information on labor and provisioning costs for prisons.
In September, 1846, the month of the New York State Fair at Auburn, spectators at Auburn Prison amounted to 42% of the year’s total.
Visitors to prisons were both spectators seeking to tour a prison and family and friends seeking to visit in prison their friend or relative.
In the mid-19th century, Auburn Prison carefully accounted for its spectator revenue. Discretionary use of this revenue prompted less thorough accounting.
While penal officials were deeply concerned about prisoners’ masturbating, those concerns didn’t prompt them to change prison communication policies.