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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118836 Find in a Library
Title: Working the Dead (From Facing the Death Penalty, P 169-177, 1989, Michael L Radelet, ed. -- See NCJ-118827)
Author(s): J B Sorensen; J W Marquart
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Temple University Press
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6099
Sale Source: Temple University Press
1601 N. Broad Street
University Service Bldg., Room 305
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6099
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Description
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of Texas death row inmates who work in a prison industry program concludes that such prisoners can work peacefully with one another and make productive use of their time and challenge the prevailing stereotype that all death row prisoners are so dangerous that they need to be kept permanently confined in isolation cells.
Abstract: The work program began as a result of the 1980 court order in Ruiz v. Estelle, in which the Texas Department of Corrections agreed to classify death row prisoners into two classes. As of March 1988, prisoners capable of work account for 114 of the 206 death row inmates at the Ellis I Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC). The work-capable prisoners experience fewer security measures and many more privileges than the segregated inmates. Some are assigned as orderlies or janitors to take care of their cellblock, but 100 work in a garment factory. The factory is considered a model project, producing more goods per inmate than other TDC garment factories. Guards and inmates have reported favorably on the program, although staff and administrators were skeptical about it at the outset. Overall, the prisoners seem to have much better attitudes and a higher quality of life in the work-capable wings of death role. Since the program began, no serious violent incidents have occurred in the living and work areas. The results support the use of work programs for death row inmates because the inmates may be released to society in the future and for the sake of humane management. List of case citations and 12 references.
Main Term(s): Death row inmates
Index Term(s): Correctional industries; Dangerousness; Texas
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