Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mess with Texas

Robert Perkinson's Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire (Metropolitan Books) is at last out and receives a strong review by Daniel Bergner (author of the God of the Rodeo: The Quest for Redemption in Louisiana’s Angola Prison”). Perkison, who teaches at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, takes a historical approach, situating the hyper punitive but presumptively racially neutral Texas penal syste today, with a system that developed to replace slavery within the broad parameters of post-Reconstruction federal law. Texas has come from being the strongest (and most brutal) example of the regional penality of the South, to being a dominant model for corrections today. While Texas is frequently cited as a possible role for our failed penal state here in California, I doubt many readers of Texas Tough will want the Golden State to look to the Lone Star State for a makeover.

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