Chronicles of San Quentin
First published in 1961, writing Chronicles of San Quentin was first suggested to Kenneth Lamott during a spell as a teacher at that California prison in the 1950’s.The book not only chronicles the history and highlights of one of America’s most famous penitentiaries, but it also reflects the changes in prisons in the U.S. over the last 100 years. Calmly informing us that there were over 4,000 murders in California between 1849-1855, Lamott quickly justifies the terrible need the state had for prisons other than lax, badly run county and city jails.But San Quentin itself, which started as a floating prison hulk, was little better. Here are its famous prisoners, riots and escapes, its floggings and brutalities, its executions too. With the coming of the “New Era” penology in the 1890’s, the change to more humane and rational treatment of prisoners is shown. The Clinton Duffy era is dealt with at great length—its shortcomings are shown along with its humane virtues—and prison life including the Chessman execution, is portrayed with sympathy and understanding.A highly readable book.
- 2018 Muriwai Books
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- Muriwai Books
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