Thomas Tunney was Superintendent of the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY from 1964 to 1972. He was 90 years old at the time oral historian Suzanne Snider interviewed him for the Prison Public Memory Project on September 3rd, 2011.
Tunney came to New York from Wisconsin where he worked with Girls Training Schools. He considered himself an innovator. To prepare himself for the work awaiting him in New York, he spent a couple months in Mississippi doing voter registration and trying to learn about black culture. His background included air sea rescue work in the Navy and he had a Masters Degree in psychology. He also taught Tai Chi. He was a Buddhist and peace activist and he often joined other anti-war activists in their regular protests against the war in Vietnam on Saturdays in Hudson.
In this short interview clip, Tunney, living now in Saratoga Springs, NY, talks about how he came to New York, and about his first innovations and his first mistakes at the Girls Training School in Hudson.