Inmates at the Colorado State Penitentiary were employed in many activities.
image of Warden Best found here
“Carpentry, blacksmithing, shoe cobbling, clothing repair and general maintenance offered the principal activity and labor outlets for prisoners in the first decade or two of prison operation in Colorado. They were also employed in building walls, repairing prison buildings, and in farm and garden work. In the period of 1899 – 1900 about 2,200,000 pounds of farm produce was raised by prisoners.
On March 1909 Thomas J. Tynan was appointed to the office of warden. He made it possible for every man who was willing to work to have employment. Road camps were set up and unguarded prisoners worked away from prison walls for days at a time.
Prison boxing team found here
In 1925 the penitentiary purchased a canning factory and ninety acres of fruit trees, berry plants, vineyards and truck gardens The canning venture proved highly productive. Fruits and vegetables processed and canned included apples, apple butter, apricots, beets, green beans, catsup, cherries of all kinds, corn, peaches, Italian prunes, puree, pumpkin, plums, spinach tomatoes, and tomato juice.
In 1934 a sock-knitting machine was installed at a cost of $29,000, capable of producing one thousand pairs of socks per day at a cost of four cents per pair. Civilian clothing manufacture included suits, dress pants, dress socks, and white shirts. Soaps of all kinds, scouring powder, cold cream, vanishing cream, skin softener, lotion, shampoo, furniture polish, sweeping compound, bluing, ink, and flavorings were manufactured in quantities sufficient to supply all state institutions.
images found here
Warden Thomas J. Tynan went on the assumption that putting men in stripes for ninety days, the usual practice on entering the prison, was the wrong psychology. Beginning early in 1911 he put all new arrivals in blue and made them “convicts of the first class.” If they made good and followed prison routines, they were never subjected to the wearing of striped clothing.
image of prisoners forced to work in drag found here
By law in 1940, a prisoner upon discharge was given $5.00, a suit of clothes, and a railroad ticket. In 1995, a prisoner upon discharge was given $100.00, a suit of clothes, and a bus ticket.