Prison Injustice and Reform 1960s-80s

"If we puzzle even a few of you"

Poem written by Wes Graham, an inmate at Jaycees United States Penitentiary.

Beginning in the 1960s and continuing into the 1980s, the desire for prison reform in Texas was at a high. This push for change from both inmates and society as a whole was a direct result of the increased awareness of the issues that occurred within Texas prisons. Too often the voices of the people behind bars are kept from society. This form of silence is a direct result of oppressive institutions and the stereotypical misconceptions of society. A society that has too often devalued an inmate's perspective.

This writing by inmate Wes Graham intends to shed light on the fact that inmates are not one-dimensional and emphasizes that the true fault lies within society who has forgotten their value. In addition, it emphasizes the revolutionary thought that inmates have stories, values, and rights. This thought was the driving force behind the Texas Prison Reform Movement, as well as this exhibit, as the voices of those confined are given a platform and their fight for reform is shared.

As you explore the stories of those behind the scenes of the prison reform movement, we challenge you to read the words of people such as Wes Graham and ask yourself are you as cognizant and informed of society and its members....could you accept this person back into society?

Prison Injustice and Reform 1960s-80s