Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Steve J. Martin, Author, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Author, Harry M. Whittington, Foreword by Texas Monthly Press $21.95 (289p) ISBN 978-0-87719-090-5
In this history of Texas prison reform, the authors note that for many years prison inmates were considered ""slaves of the state,'' a situation that had been somewhat ameliorated by the 1960s, although the system remained brutal and repressive. Most controversial were overcrowded conditions and the use of trusties to enforce discipline. In 1967 prisoner-advocacy lawyers became involved and since then the Texas Department of Corrections has been revamped and the prisons altered. Ex-prison guard and ex-special assistant state attorney general Martin and University of Texas sociology professor Ekland-Olson here detail the process by which changes were made, with emphasis on a pivotal case, the Ruiz v. Estelle class-action suit. The book will be of interest to penologists, criminologists and sociologists but is too regional and specialized for general readers outside the Lone Star State. Photos not seen by PW. (November 4)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
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