Why Texas Led The Way In Modern U.S. Incarceration Boom


In “Texas Tough,” says a New York Times review, Robert Perkinson, a professor of American studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, “offers a searching history of American incarceration, tracing the failures of our prisons to the approach that Texas and other Southern states have long taken toward their criminals.” Perkinson’s story of America's movement from, “the age of slavery to the age of incarceration” concentrates on Texas in part because the modern surge of its inmate population has far outstripped even the spike in national numbers.

Reviewer Daniel Bergner says that “along with his condemnations of Texas and America, Perkinson would have done a service by thoroughly examining, rather than nearly ignoring, recent evidence that both the state and the country are holding incarceration rates in check partly by embracing, however gingerly, the spirit of rehabilitation.” Bergner quotes the new study from the Pew Center on the States previously reported in Crime & Justice News that highlights Texas' “nascent commitment to drug treatment behind bars.” Perkinson might have offered a glimpse of such programs and a sense of whether they will last, says Bergner.

Comments are closed.