skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 97230 Find in a Library
Title: Crime File: Inside Prisons
Series: NIJ Crime Files
Corporate Author: Police Foundation
United States of America
Date Published: 1984
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20850
Police Foundation
Washington, DC 20036
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 84-IJ-CX-0031
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Audiovisual Sales
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20850
United States of America
Document: PDF (Study Guide)|Video (28:37)
Format: Video (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This video cassette, number 20 in the Crime File series, portrays a three-member panel discussing prison conditions in Texas both before and after a 1980 court order for the reform of prison management practices, implications of the Texas experience for prison management, and lessons for prison management to be drawn from the experiences of the experimental Federal correctional facility in Butner, N.C.
Abstract: The moderator presents background material on patterns of management in Texas prisons before and after the 1980 Federal court order. Before 1980, a central feature of Texas prison management was the use of inmates as 'building tenders' to supervise inmates and inform the staff about inmate misbehavior. The inmate lawsuit that prompted the 1980 court order charged that building tenders brutalized inmates, administered medicine, and even performed surgery. The background presentation further notes that since the court-ordered change eliminating building tenders as a feature of management policy, reports of inmate violence and prison disorders in Texas have increased. Panelist George Beto, former Director of the Texas Department of Corrections, argues that prison management prior to the 1980 court order was effective in maintaining discipline and order in the prisons; the brutality charged in the lawsuit, he claims, was not prevalent. Panelist Alvin Bronstein, of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, argues that violence was rampant in Texas prisons prior to 1980, but reports of this violence were suppressed. He claims that Texas had a repressive prison regime that dehumanized inmates. In a discussion of remedies for prison violence and disorders, panelist Norval Morris, of the University of Chicago Law School, argues for smaller prison facilities. In the final segment of the video, the experimental Federal correctional facility at Butner, N.C., is described. It is a small facility (420 inmates) housing a random selection of inmates, most of whom are serving multiple-year sentences for crimes against persons. The prison has had no inmate homicides and few assaults. Lessons are drawn for the style of prison management and design that facilitates humane inmate treatment and inmate personal safety.
Index Term(s): Court ordered institutional reform; Federal correctional facilities; Institutional violence; North Carolina; Prison conditions; Prison disorders; Prison management; Texas; Videotapes
Note: Videocassette (3/4 inch, Beta, and VHS), 28 minutes in length, color.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.