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The 1980 New Mexico Prison Riot

Mark Colvin
Social Problems
Vol. 29, No. 5 (Jun., 1982), pp. 449-463
DOI: 10.2307/800395
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800395
Page Count: 15
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The 1980 New Mexico Prison Riot
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Abstract

The 1980 riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico was the most brutal in U. S. penal history, involving extreme violence and fragmentation among inmates. Yet the prison was not always violent and disorderly. The prison in the early 1970s was relatively calm; after 1975 it became increasingly violent and disorderly. The explanation of this change in the level of disorder is important for understanding the predisposing factors of the riot. This case study of the New Mexico prison offers insights into recent changes in inmate relations, insofar as the history of the New Mexico prison from 1970 to 1980 parallels the general shift in U. S. prisons from inmate solidarity in the late 1960s to increasing violence and fragmentation among inmates during the 1970s.

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