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Other titles in the Missouri Heritage Readers series:
The Missouri State Penitentiary: 170 Years Inside "The Walls" (Missouri Heritage Readers)by Jamie Pamela Rasmussen
Synopses & Reviews
Asked how the Missouri State Penitentiary compared to other famous prisons, a historian and former prison administrator replied, andldquo; Itandrsquo;s older and meaner.andrdquo;and#160;For 168 years, it was everything other prisons were and more.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; In TheMissouri State Penitentiary, Jamie Pamela Rasmussen recounts the long and fascinating history of the place, focusing on the stories of inmates and the struggles by prison officials to provide opportunities for reform while keeping costs down. Tales of prominent prisoners, including Pretty Boy Floyd, Sonny Liston, and James Earl Ray, provide intrigue and insight into the institutionandrsquo;s infamous reputation.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The founding of the penitentiary helped solidify Jefferson Cityandrsquo;s position as the state capital. A highlight in the chapter on the Civil War years is the story of George Thompson, who was imprisoned for attempting to help a number of slaves to freedom. The narrative enters the twentieth century with the controversy surrounding the various systems of inmate labor; the effort to make the prison self-supporting eventually caused punishment to be driven by factory needs. The example of Firebug Johnson demonstrates how inmates reacted to the prison labor system while Kate Richards Oandrsquo;Hareandrsquo;s struggles and efforts to improve conditions in the penitentiary illuminate the role of women in the system at the time. A full chapter is devoted to the riot of 1954, and another concentrates on the reforms made in the wake of that catastrophe. Rasmussen also considers the effect inmate lawsuits during the 1980s and 1990s had on prison life before telling the story of the decision to close the prison.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Missouri State Penitentiary provides a fitting account of an institution that was part of Missouriandrsquo;s history for well over a century. Numerous illustrations and a list of recommended reading contribute to the readersandrsquo; understanding of the history of the institution.
About the Author
Jamie Pamela Rasmussen is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Missouri State University. She lives in Springfield, Missouri.
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners