Descent Into Madness : An Inmate 's Experience Of The New Mexico State Prison Riot

2433 Words Oct 1st, 2016 10 Pages
The structure of a society is essential in distinguishing the norms and values that will undergo in that environment. Mike Rolland’s book, “Descent into Madness: An Inmate’s Experience of the New Mexico State Prison Riot,” includes the account of inmates and correctional officers that were involved in the 1980 riot at the New Mexico Penitentiary (PNM) and the events that led to such violence. Mark Colvin, a sociology professor in the Department of Justice Studies at Kent State University, was hired as a part of a team who investigated witnesses about the event.

Prison riots often involve violence taken against the officers and sheriffs; however, the incident of 1980 at the PNM had a significant amount of deaths, all of which were between inmates and not officers. Colvin’s investigated the history and social structure of the riot and how the disruption of it “enabled violence and disorganization to occur” (Rolland, 1997). There is a fallacy regarding the prison riot of 1980: the prisoners are portrayed as ravenous monsters unleashing chaos inside the prison, and yet many individuals fail to recognize the heroic deeds (prisoners saving others from harm) that were also present during the event. As a result, Colvin’s findings suggested that the discord of society challenges both great evils and virtues of an individual. PNM was not always as pugnacious as it is conveyed today.

PNM was a stable environment three to four year prior to the riot. Compared to the 1971 Attica riot,…

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