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January 14, 2022

Portable Auto Jail Houses Fugitive, 1936

A new style in portable “hoosegows” was set by an Oklahoma police official when he built a steel cage on the back of his passenger auto in 1936. The “jail” was used to bring back a fugitive who had escaped from the McAlester, Oklahoma, prison. He had been recaptured by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police.

This home-built, portable "hoosegow" was used by Alex Watson, of the McAlester, Okla., prison, to bring back an escaped fugitive who was recaptured over 1,000 miles away.

Alex Watson, transfer agent of the prison, drove 1,000 miles to bring back the prisoner. The “jail” was made by ripping off the lid of the luggage compartment of a regular coupe automobile and screwing down an sill-welded steel cage. An awning protected the prisoner from the sun, and a cushion provided the interior “comforts” of the jail. The prisoner was released from the cage for brief exercise periods throughout the trip.


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