Lawful Order: A Case Study of Correctional Crisis and Reform

Lawful Order: A Case Study of Correctional Crisis and Reform

Lawful Order: A Case Study of Correctional Crisis and Reform

Lawful Order: A Case Study of Correctional Crisis and Reform

Excerpt

Research for this study, in effect, began over 25 years ago when I spent 15 months as a participant observer in the maximum security prison studying race relations. From that study I had retained all of my field notes, diaries and journals, a number of documents, the transcripts of 12 unstructured formal interviews with inmates, and the tapes of nine similar interviews conducted with staff. These, together with the published work, not to mention a host of vivid memories, proved invaluable sources in reconstructing the history of the period around 1970.

Over the years, although I remained in Rhode Island, my research interests moved away from the prison in part because my relationship to it and its administration changed. For several years I served on the board of directors of a halfway house for ex-felons that was operated by a non-profit group that was often at odds with the department. I also served on several citizens' advisory committees concerned with corrections and testified as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in two cases (neither of which is central to this book) in which the department was a defendant. Early in the history of Palmigiano v.Garrahy, I briefed attorneys for the plaintiffs on conditions in the prison, and for two years in the mid-1980s, I attempted to work with the corrections administration in mediating inmate grievances that had been submitted to the local chapter of the ACLU. These various connections provided windows through which I periodically caught glances of the prison system and its operations, but their partisan nature strained my relation

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