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Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South$
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Amy Louise Wood and Natalie J. Ring

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042409

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042409.001.0001

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Cole Blease’s Pardoning Pen

Cole Blease’s Pardoning Pen

State Power and Penal Reform in South Carolina

Chapter:
(p.147) Chapter 7 Cole Blease’s Pardoning Pen
Source:
Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South
Author(s):

Amy Louise Wood

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252042409.003.0007

examines prison reform efforts in South Carolina under the governorship of Cole Blease in the 1910s to argue that Progressive-era prison reform played out in distinct ways in the South due to the region’s class and racial politics. Despite his fierce racism, Blease, in the name of reform, pardoned or paroled more criminals, many of them African American, than any previous governor. Yet, Blease’s use of executive clemency had much more to do with imposing an authoritarian and pre-modern form of power onto state bureaucracy than it did with progressive ideals about the promise of the regulatory state. His approach to prison reform illuminates larger tensions within southern progressivism

Keywords:   Prison reform, clemency, parole, Progressive Era, The South, South Carolina, Cole Blease, southern progressivism, state bureaucracy, authoritarian

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