This is a case study of the violence and disorder that have become endemic in U. S. prisons. The 1980 riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico was one of the worst riots in prison history. Thirty-three inmates were killed and hundreds were injured. The author demonstrates how this riot, and the growing disorder that preceded it, reflect important shifts in the organizational structure and philosophy of prison management in the U. S.
The Penitentiary in Crisis analyzes how shifts in prisoner control strategies disrupted important power relations between inmates and staff and created disorder. The author's experiences as a corrections counselor and planner in New Mexico corrections and his later role as principal researcher for the official investigation of the riot give him a unique perspective for understanding the riot and the prison's organization and history.