is the author of the forthcoming book, Texas Tough: The Rise of a Prison Empire
(Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2008). His family hails from the South (Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas), and he grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He became interested in criminal justice as a college student in Colorado, where prisons were springing up faster than Wal-Marts in the 1980s and 1990s. In graduate school at Yale, he decided to focus his research on the history of racism and criminal justice in the South, and he eventually settled on the Lone Star State, where the action is. His book is a history of American punishment from slavery to the present, with an emphasis on Texas, the most incarcerated and politically influential state in the nation. He is currently a professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa
. He was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship
The Incarcerated Society
The Jeff Farias Show
Robert Perkinson lecturing on “American Race Relations in the Age of Obama” at Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, Korea on November 19, 2008.
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Texas Tough: An Interview with Robert Perkinson
March 31, 2010 | by Adam Culbreath
A nation’s journey from slavery to prisons
By Anna Mundow, Globe Correspondent | March 21, 2010
The Prison Dilemma
A review of Anne-Marie Cusac’s new book on religion, culture, and imprisonment and a call for President Obama to support Senator Jim Webb’s prison commission bill.
Published in The Nation
, July 6, 2009 | Download PDF
Guarded Hope: Lessons from the History of the Prison Boom
Published in Boston Review
, July/August 2008 | View online
A look back at LBJ’s 1967 crime commission and its relevance today, as well as a review of recent books on the rise of mass imprisonment in America.
‘Hell Exploded’: Prisoner Music and Memoir and the Fall of Convict Leasing in Texas
Published in Prison Journal
, March 2009 | Download PDF
Examines the role of prisoner music and writing in destabilizing convict leasing, the most ignominious penal regime in American history.
American Race Relations in the Age of Obama
Published in Journal of English and American Studies
, December 2008 | Download PDF
Contrasts the election of Barack Obama as a milestone in the Black freedom struggle against the rise of hyper-incarceration in the United States, which is more racialized today than before the civil rights movement.
Two Angry Men
Published in The Nation
, March 4, 2008| View Online
A reexamination of the Duke Lacrosse case and a critique of prosecutorial power in American criminal justice.
Events & Information
Contact Robert Perkinson
for public speaking events or interviews