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No Way Out: A Historical Documentary

Description: No Way Out: A Historical Documentary is the written companion to a forty-minute documentary film entitled "No Way Out". The film deals with a 1974 inmate standoff at a prison in Huntsville, Texas known as the Carrasco Incident. The film examines the prison takeover through the eyes of those who lived through it. Composed of five interviews, "No Way Out" is a compilation of various points of view ranging from former hostages, members of the press, and law enforcement. The written companion for this piece discusses the three phases of the production for this film. These chapters are designed to share with the reader the various intricacies of documentary filmmaking. The thesis also explores theoretical issues concerning collective memory, coping behavior, and the ethics of historical documentary filmmaking.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Holder, Elizabeth Suzanne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reported Impact of a Correctional Facility's Presence on Community Solidarity: Huntsville, Texas

Description: The problem examined is community solidarity in a well-established prison town. The primary question addressed in this study is "what is the reported impact of a correctional facility's presence on community solidarity?" This study is concerned with the community's perception about the problems, as well as the benefits involved in the housing of a prison and in particular the solidarity of the community. The relevant literature dates from 1929 to 2004 and examines a wide range of concepts associated with community studies and prison studies. Based on themes found in the review of prison literature; work issues, safety, concern about children, stress, community image, benefits, community identity, and community cohesion, seven research questions were constructed. A semi-structured interview was conducted of 81 residents of Walker County in Huntsville, Texas. Huntsville houses 9 prisons. The prison system is the primary employer in the county. A qualitative data analysis using Altius/tr as a tool for content analysis was used. Throughout the data, community residents consistently indicated solidarity. Emerging from the data were seven themes associated with community solidarity:(a) unqualified community pride, (b) normalization, (c) defensiveness against the media, (d) qualified community pride, (e) denial, (f) community and myths, (g) economics.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Nation, Patricia Ann Campo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Eleven Days in Hell: the 1974 Carrasco Prison Siege in Huntsville, Texas

Description: From one o’clock on the afternoon of July 24, 1974, until shortly before ten o’clock the night of August 3, eleven days later, one of the longest hostage-taking sieges in the history of the United States took place in Texas’s Huntsville State Prison. The ringleader, Federico (Fred) Gomez Carrasco, the former boss of the largest drug-running operation in south Texas, was serving life for assault with intent to commit murder on a police officer. Using his connections to smuggle guns and ammunition into the prison, and employing the aid of two other inmates, he took eleven prison workers and four inmates hostage in the prison library. Demanding bulletproof helmets and vests, he planned to use the hostages as shields for his escape. Negotiations began immediately with prison warden H. H. Husbands and W. J. Estelle, Jr., Director of the Texas Department of Corrections. The Texas Rangers, the Department of Public Safety, and the FBI arrived to assist as the media descended on Huntsville. When one of the hostages suggested a moving structure of chalkboards padded with law books to absorb bullets, Carrasco agreed to the plan. The captors entered their escape pod with four hostages and secured eight others to the moving barricade. While the target was en route to an armored car, Estelle had his team blast it with fire hoses. In a violent end to the standoff, Carrasco committed suicide, one of his two accomplices was killed (the other later executed), and two hostages were killed by their captors.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: August 15, 2004
Creator: Harper, William T.
Partner: UNT Press

Convict Cowboys: The Untold History of the Texas Prison Rodeo

Description: Convict Cowboys is the first book on the nation’s first prison rodeo, which ran from 1931 to 1986. At its apogee the Texas Prison Rodeo drew 30,000 spectators on October Sundays. Mitchel P. Roth portrays the Texas Prison Rodeo against a backdrop of Texas history, covering the history of rodeo, the prison system, and convict leasing, as well as important figures in Texas penology including Marshall Lee Simmons, O.B. Ellis, and George J. Beto, and the changing prison demimonde. Over the years the rodeo arena not only boasted death-defying entertainment that would make professional cowboys think twice, but featured a virtual who’s who of American popular culture. Readers will be treated to stories about numerous American and Texas folk heroes, including Western film stars ranging from Tom Mix to John Wayne, and music legends such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Through extensive archival research Roth introduces readers to the convict cowboys in both the rodeo arena and behind prison walls, giving voice to a legion of previously forgotten inmate cowboys who risked life and limb for a few dollars and the applause of free-world crowds. The contents include: Texas prisons: a pattern of neglect -- A cowboy's a man with guts and a hoss -- The Simmons years (1930-1935) -- The only show of its kind in the United States (1936-1939) -- The war years (1940-1946) -- A sad state of affairs (1947-1949) -- The West as it ought to have been (1950-1953) -- Outlaw vs. outlaw (1954-1959) -- The fund just appeared footloose and fancy free (1954-1960) -- The Texas Prison.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: July 2016
Creator: Roth, Mitchel P.
Partner: UNT Press