Prison 101

Guest column from Trent Shotwell


Every day the Texas Department of Criminal Justice houses, transports, and supervises over 150,000 inmates making it the second largest prison system in the nation.  The inmate population exploded in the early nineties due to stricter laws and stiffer penalties in Texas courts.  Penitentiaries are undoubtedly a big business in Texas and the average person can be unfamiliar with life on the inside.  Fortunately, Prison 101 by Mark Bull is just the book for anyone who may be interested in Texas prison life and culture.  Mark Bull graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University  an Associate Degree in Industrial Security from the Community College of the Air Force.

Bull was a supervisor for The Texas Department of Criminal Justice and has been a consultant for jail and prison management.  Prison 101 was designed as a pre-incarceration orientation for soon to be big house residents and covers many penitentiary topics both expected and unexpected.  This interesting and hard-to-find paperback addresses prison survival, including inmate tricks and games, dangerous situations, and hoosegow terminology.   Even if someone is not on their way to the penitentiary, Prison 101 gives insight into the dangers lurking behind those razor wire fences.  The book provides vital information for the prison bound and even covers what to expect if you have family that may be incarcerated.

Prison 101 can be found in the Thomason Room CJ Special Collection.

Trent Shotwell is a Library Assistant in Thomason Special Collections at the Newton Gresham Library. He previously worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 3 years and the Texas Prison Museum for 9 years.


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