In 1852, the California Legislature bought twenty acres at the tip of the rancho, where the Board of Prison Commissioners planned to build a state prison.
Mr. Hopper was Prison Commissioner from 1981 to 1983 in Mr. James's first administration.
Prison Commissioners purchased the establishment in 1955, and converted it into a Senior Detention Centre in 1957.
The Governor, Secretary of State, and the Attorney General were named as the Board of Prison Commissioners, an arrangement that continues today.
The ground obtained was sufficient for such an ambitious plan, but the finance was not and the Prison Commissioners had to be content with only one prison.
Although they were public servants answerable to the Home Secretary, the Prison Commissioners had a separate existence going back to the reforms of the late Nineteenth Century.
Under the Prison Act 1877, three Prison Commissioners had been appointed to re-organize and administer English county and borough prisons.
From 1898 the Prison Commissioners became, as their chairman already was, Directors of Convict Prisons in addition to their responsibilities for the local prisons.
In 1890 the Prison Commissioners agreed to declare Clifford's Tower a national monument and to conserve it as a historic location.
The original Feltham was built in 1854 as an Industrial School and was taken over in 1910 by the Prison Commissioners as their second Borstal institution.