Friday, August 31, 2007

A nostalgic look at corporal punishment and prison labor

Guest columnist J.R. "Sonny" Sessions in the Mexia Daily News reflects on his four decades' involvement with Texas prisons and offers a nostalgic look at a time when:
Corporal punishment was used often and other prisoners helped with the security. It usually paid its way. Then as now most of the inmates from the city and not used to work, they had to pick so much cotton each day, it was a hard life and few ever wanted to come back, many inflicted wounds on their person to get out of work.
Ah, the good old days, huh? For additional context, see this fascinating video about Texas prison work songs in the '40s and '50s.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits,

The "use of other inmates for security" was perfected under TDC director George Beto in the 1950s and 60s.

And guess who copied Beto's "control system"? TYC.

This was brought out in painful detail during the Morales case.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

the use of inmates for security was called building tenders, and it was a brutal system enforced by beatings and worse. it was justifiably outlawed by william wayne justice. a nostalgic look? hmmph! Read the testimony in the ruiz cases from the '80's that brought much-needed change to tdc. think it will wipe out any nostalgia for those days. Fact is, the b.t. system was the cause that many prison gangs were started; i.e. texas syndicate and mexican mafia.

KB from FC said...

I call bs. The gangs started because the BT's were shut down and there was a power void. It would behoove you to listen to Sonny Sessions as he was a Sherrif over 40 years, as was his dad and his grandpaw. His son is a Constable now also. The man is one of the most respected lEO's in the state of Texas, even retired he has more pull than 90% of the current Sherriffs in the state. He was one of the greatest men I ever worked for.