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NCJ Number: 69925 Find in a Library
Title: Texas Prison Rodeo - Is It Just Good Clean Fun?
Journal: Corrections Magazine  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1980)  Pages:36-41
Author(s): B Cory
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Texas Prison Rodeo has been going strong for almost 50 years; while inmates get a break and can demonstrate their courage, critics say the rodeos exploit and make public spectacles of the inmates who participate.
Abstract: The annual Texas Prison Rodeo draws roars of a approval from the spectators, raises maney for an inmate welfare fund (as much as $290,000 a year), and gives prisoners a chance to win a little prize money. Arizona, Arkansas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Oklahoma all have rodeos modeled on that of Texas. In Texas, the combined themes of imprisonment and wild-west adventure are retained throughout the show. Big-name stars have been featured. The Texas Department of Corrections insists that the display shows the inmates as normal human beings to the public and provides opportunities both for staff and inmates to work together and for inmates to compete in a very American forum. Officials stress that participation is strictly voluntary. Opponents claim that inmates must sign illegal waivers releasing the prison system from liability, that the welfare fund is diverted to expense accounts of corrections officials, that the show and its use of old-time prison uniforms and sex-deprivation jokes is a degrading exploitation of inmates' plight, and that the small wages and ungenerous prize money awarded the inmates is unfair and immoral. Some inmates thrive on the chance to use skills they cultivated while outside. Others, after achieving victory, experience disillusionment with their continued imprisonment and awareness of the threat of injury that grows without continued practice with horses.
Index Term(s): Inmate Programs; Inmate staff relations; Prisoner's rights; Recreation
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