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The Devil's Butcher Shop: The New Mexico Prison Uprising
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The Devil's Butcher Shop: The New Mexico Prison Uprising

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  110 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A modern horror story told in graphic detail. Morriss meticulous documentation traces prison corruption . . . proving the tragedy could have been avoided. I recommend this book without reservation.Jack Anderson
Paperback, 268 pages
Published January 1st 1988 by University of New Mexico Press (first published 1983)
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Prison Books
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Dec 03, 2013 Szplug rated it liked it
The saying goes that Truth is stranger than fiction: after reading Roger Morris' horrifying account of the two days of living hell that was the riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe in February, 1980, one might append that to include crueler than fiction, too. Notwithstanding that Morris occasionally leans towards the bromides of sensationalistic journalism, I cannot recall the last time a work of non-fiction proved so viscerally unsettling in its unfolding, so taut with appalling t ...more
Oct 10, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
As I've read this multiple times and as in my old job as a PPO for the state of NM, I can say this book deserves its 5 star rating. Having supervised men who were there for the riot, and having heard stories from before, during and after the riot I can say that the allegations of the causes leading up to the riot, and the conditions found there afterwards are quite sadly true.

The lack of training and education at all levels led to an American nightmare taking place. The corruption, graft and ne
Jan 29, 2008 James rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults only - graphic and disturbing violence
A first-rate account of a tragedy that should never have taken place. The 1980 riot in the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe was the natural consequence of a long history of substandard living conditions, overcrowding, a culture of brutality among both inmates and staff, and lousy security. Reading this at a time when I was working in that same New Mexico prison system as a psychotherapist, it was depressing and disquieting to look around and realize how little the administrators of the sys ...more
Nan Silvernail
Oct 10, 2011 Nan Silvernail rated it liked it
I am disgusted.

Not so much by the horrible atrocities described that were done that awful, cold, full moon night in February, 1980 by the inmates. Those I expected to read about. The fear of uncovering those inhuman acts has kept me from reading this book for over a decade.

But, I found myself much more disgusted by the actions and in-actions of the administration and some guards. Corruption rooted long and deep in the soil of New Mexican politics is brought to light and the vine reaches all the
Jun 01, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults only, criminologists, prison abolitionists
Shelves: prisons, nonfic, crime
This book is pretty messed up. It contains graphic descriptions of murder, mutilation, and sexual assault. But it is one of the most important books I've ever read. Locking people up and throwing away the key, to borrow a phrase from a previous review, is never the answer. See: Attica, Alcatraz, Fremantle, Strangeways, San Quentin, Ciudad Juarez, Apodaca, and most recently in a facility holding illegal immigrants in Mississippi. It will keep happening, as sure as the sun will continue to rise an ...more
Andrew Cox
Jul 26, 2015 Andrew Cox rated it did not like it
This whole story is crazy and entertaining, but the writing is really terrible, there are too many names/players to remember or go back and reference, and I understand that's because there were so many players, but I think that a proper formatting of the book along with better sentence and paragraph structures in general would make the book way better. Because I want to know how it ends, maybe some day I'll actually finish reading the book, but it read extremely slow and boring despite such a fi ...more
Betsy Ross
Oct 08, 2016 Betsy Ross rated it it was amazing
This books reads like a horror story, and the most terrifying part is that the events are true. The New Mexico prison riot in the 1980s was one of the largest massacres in prison history.

Morris describes the tension, anger, and mistrust building up in the months and years before the riot. Prison conditions were poor, cells were overcrowded, the food was making prisoners sick, and illnesses such as mental health problems and addictions were poorly managed. Inmates suffered from dysentery and oth
Josephus FromPlacitas
Feb 14, 2013 Josephus FromPlacitas rated it really liked it
Morris shows off the knife-edge writing style that seems to belong to a long-gone era of long-form magazine writing, back when literary heroics bounced off the pages of great glossy periodicals. That dramatic journalistic sensibility thrills the reader, but there's a certain slide into easy racism of Anglo cultural supremacist mental habit that I wonder if it would have been so in vogue after, say, the mid-1990s. Would Morris still have been so comfortable describing the Hispano history of the s ...more
Monica Contreras
cant figure out how to read it
David Stacks
Nov 06, 2010 David Stacks rated it really liked it
David rated it: The tragedy of this incident is laid out clearly by multi-layered descriptions. From political/family cronyism within the system, poor correctional leadership, non-existant and less than couragous state leadership and funding support to extremely risky correctional practices. The book is certainly graphic and awakening to anyone knowing nothing about prison operations and should be a reminder to those who work in the profession of corrections the likely outcome of short and long ...more
Nick Black
May 24, 2009 Nick Black rated it liked it
Amazon 2009-04-12. Discovered while researching murder via immolation; looks interesting. -=- Pretty interesting up through the halfway point, from whence Mr. Morris restricts himself to a (detailed and well-documented but just... so... boring) analysis of smalltown New Mexico politics and corruption. More depressing than didactic, I look forward to using an idea or two in my Great American Novel one day, but otherwise could have made it without reading this.
Tyler Mccormick
Nov 26, 2012 Tyler Mccormick rated it liked it
The book is a good intro into understanding the reasons behind the worst riot in US history and the lenses sons learned. The guy seems pretty adamant to throw blame at people, and it sometimes gets a little too "hate on these guys" and it takes away from the tragedy. But if you want to learn about these events in NM history, this book is definitely worth the read.
Erin Collins
Mar 23, 2010 Erin Collins rated it liked it
This book was educational and disturbing pertaining to the corruption within the prison system and evil treatment people are capable of toward their fellow inmates and human beings.
Apr 19, 2016 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This was an interesting read but a little too dry. I found the original reports from the investigation more straightforward. An interesting read though, if you enjoy the topic.
Angel R
Aug 26, 2008 Angel R rated it really liked it
This was a good book about the New Mexico State Pen riot in 1980. The beginning is kind of boring and drags a little but keep reading it's worth it! It gets good.
Jason Pastor
Mar 09, 2013 Jason Pastor rated it really liked it
absolutely chilling. Makes for fascinating but appalling reading
Jun 07, 2010 Leslie added it
Loved it
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Roger Morris (American writer), born 1937, is an American public servant, historian, and political writer.

Roger Morris earned his doctorate in government from Harvard University. He entered government service in 1966 as an aide to former United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson. He first joined the National Security Council staff under the administration of Democratic President Lyndon B. John
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