Texas Tough

Texas Tough

The Rise of America's Prison Empire

Book - 2010
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A vivid history of America's biggest, baddest prison system and how it came to lead the nation's punitive revolution In the prison business, all roads lead to Texas. The most locked-down state in the nation has led the way in criminal justice severity, from assembly-line executions to isolation supermaxes, from prison privatization to sentencing juveniles as adults. Texas Tough , a sweeping history of American imprisonment from the days of slavery to the present, shows how a plantation-based penal system once dismissed as barbaric became the national template.Drawing on convict accounts, official records, and interviews with prisoners, guards, and lawmakers, historian Robert Perkinson reveals the Southern roots of our present-day prison colossus. While conventional histories emphasize the North's rehabilitative approach, he shows how the retributive and profit-driven regime of the South ultimately triumphed. Most provocatively, he argues that just as convict leasing and segregation emerged in response to Reconstruction, so today's massincarceration, with its vast racial disparities, must be seen as a backlash against civil rights.Illuminating for the first time the origins of America's prison juggernaut, Texas Tough points toward a more just and humane future.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co., c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805080698
Characteristics: 484 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.


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Jan 04, 2017

An interesting read, with some parallels with New Zealand's prison system (though hopefully ours doesn't have the same levels of brutality and corruption). Ultimately though, too long, and repetitious. Has the feel of a thesis turned into a book.

Highly recommended if you want to understand why we incarcerate more of our own citizens than any other developed country and why that incarceration doesn't reduce crime.


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