Robert Perkinson believes that slavery played an integral role in the creation of the American penitentiary system. In Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire, Perkinson outlines the two ancestral lines of U.S. prisons: rehabilitation and retribution – with retribution outpacing its rival for over a century. There are deep discussions on the culture of the South, race, civil rights and the War on Drugs. At times, Perskinson reveals a partisan bias, but his powerful showcase of American prison history is not only highly readable, it won the 2011 PEN Award for Nonfiction.
There are 114 State Prisons in Texas
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