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Caging Borders and Carceral StatesIncarcerations, Immigration Detentions, and Resistance$
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Robert T. Chase

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651231

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651231.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Whatever Happened to the Southern Chain Gang?

Whatever Happened to the Southern Chain Gang?

Reinventing the Road Prison in Sunbelt Florida

(p.211) Whatever Happened to the Southern Chain Gang?
Caging Borders and Carceral States

Vivien Miller

University of North Carolina Press

The chapter offers a critical evaluation of Florida’s post-1960s liberalizing corrections philosophy. Beginning with a devastating prison fire that killed thirty-eight prisoners in 1967, the chapter reevaluates traditional narratives that have cast the calamitous fire as the beginning of the end of Southern prison road work. The chapter uncovers an already ongoing institutional history where the movement away from Southern penal traditions mired in the political economy of the chain gang became part of a post-1960s turn toward new Sunbelt values of “corrections” and a new “community-treatment” concept ostensibly intended to offer prisoners vocational training, less high-level security supervision, and a role in community building. In an era of prison uprisings, prisoners’ rights suits, and desegregation of prisons, the chapter concludes that Florida’s highway maintenance program was simply redesigned road work and a Sunbelt version of “community corrections” masked as a liberalizing reform.

Keywords:   Florida prisons, Prison fire, Prison road work, Prison labor, Chain gang, Florida Department of Correction, Prison reform, Community corrections, Sunbelt

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