A look at Southern prison camps from the '60s and '70s

tags: South, prisons




Documentary photographer Bruce Jackson has created a striking photographic record of Southern prison farms of the 1960s and '70s, when he was given unsupervised access to prison grounds, guards and prisoners themselves.

In his book, Inside the Wire, Jackson documents a prison culture that 'is a direct descendant of the 19th century slave plantation,' the Texas and Arkansas prison systems, where he shot photographs between 1964 and 1979.

'Not only were southern agricultural prisons based on the structural model of the American slave plantation, but many of them occupied land that had literally been slave plantations before the Civil War, and secular plantations on which work and living conditions were not much changed after it,' writes Jackson in Inside the Wire.

Jackson's initial intention was to study black convict worksongs and folk culture, and his used his camera only to record details for his research.

However, he soon realized the opportunity he had to document the arachaic and brutal world of the southern penal system....




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