Texas Tough : The Rise Of America's Prison Empire

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Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire In Robert Perkinson’s book, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire, a remarkable amount of a decade’s worth of in-depth research is given regarding Texas and it’s astounding past regarding racism, prisons, and penitentiaries. Perkinson’s finding lead to how the only way to escape what could be the continuation of tragedy in this nation is to examine the history of this nation’s most severe prison state, Texas. It all dates back to 1848 when Texas’s first penitentiary was built. Residing in a “sleepy town surrounded by pine forests and tumbledown farms, seventy miles north of Houston,” the chosen place was called Huntsville (Perkinson 15). Known as “the Walls” because of it twenty-five foot high red brick walls that surround the prison,” Huntsville is also known for the escape of “Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde fame, the state’s most notorious escape,” and a number of other great historical occurrences. One civil rights case that the Walls is known for is Ruiz vs. Estelle, in which "Texas prisons were declared 'cruel and unusual ' by a federal judge in 1980" (Perkinson 17). It is known to many that there were multiple ways to execute a criminal, one of which is by electrocution. The notorious electric chair at the "Walls" was named "Ol ' Sparky" and within the span of 40 years starting in 1924, it ended 361 lives. Huntsville is known as "not just a prison town, but a new sort of American
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