Folsom Prison, California (Images of America Series) by Jim Brown, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Folsom Prison, California (Images of America Series)
  • Alternative view 1 of Folsom Prison, California (Images of America Series)
  • Alternative view 2 of Folsom Prison, California (Images of America Series)

Folsom Prison, California (Images of America Series)

by Jim Brown
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


Folsom Prison is California's second-oldest prison, dating back to 1880. In the decades following the Gold Rush, it housed some of the state's most notorious prisoners in stone, dungeon-like cells behind solid-metal doors; was the first prison with electric power; and for many years provided labor for various state projects, including construction, fabrication,

Overview


Folsom Prison is California's second-oldest prison, dating back to 1880. In the decades following the Gold Rush, it housed some of the state's most notorious prisoners in stone, dungeon-like cells behind solid-metal doors; was the first prison with electric power; and for many years provided labor for various state projects, including construction, fabrication, and printing of license plates. Thrust into the public consciousness in the 1960s by high-profile performances from country music's Johnny Cash, the prison remains a notorious and legendary institution. The variety of offenders housed at Folsom are incarcerated for a large gamut of criminal behavior, and the California Department of Corrections has been dedicated to rehabilitation efforts throughout the facility's long history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: It's a Cash bash

Author: Roger Phelps

Publisher: The Folsom Telegraph

Date: 2/4/09

A birthday celebration for Johnny Cash will feature an author who has chronicled the institution that Cash made iconic -- Folsom State Prison.

"Folsom Prison," by local resident and retired corrections lieutenant Jim Brown, is doing well in stores after its release in September by Arcadia Publishing, Brown said.

The Friends of Folsom Library will host Brown and Cash impersonator Johnny Reno at the library, 411 Stafford St., on Saturday, Feb. 28. Cash's birthday is officially Feb. 26. Brown will speak and will autograph copies of "Folsom Prison" while Reno will perform Cash tunes.

The cover of Brown's book shows a boxing match in the prison's ring. Brown, now 62, heard Cash perform his last of three Folsom Prison concerts, in 1971, at that same ring.

"They set up the boxing ring in front of the old R&R building," Brown said. "Inmates came out the day prior to the concert, taking string and laying out their corners on the grass. For that many people, everybody got along -- no problems on the yard that day. It was a short time to be away from the prison. Guys who wouldn't sit near one another in the dining room, the only thing separating them was a little piece of string."

Brown will appear Saturday at 1 p.m., with Johnny Reno up at 2:30 p.m., said Julie Rinaldi, adult-services librarian.

"We will bust out a large birthday cake," Rinaldi said.

Brown heads his chapters with the titles, "Breakin' Rocks in the Hot Sun," "Prison Life" and "Modern Times." He chronicles desperate escape attempts, shootings of inmates, the 15-pound "Oregon Boot" ankle shackle that some men wore instead of the 25-pound chain and cannonball shackle and other grim details of Folsom's penal history. The book also records light trivia, such as the visit to the prison in 1939 of World's Tallest Man Robert Wadlow, who was just under nine feet tall.

These days Brown is working on "The Legend Begins," which takes the history of the local prison area, the quasi-town called Represa, from an early time -- "from the very beginning," he said.

"The Spaniards built the first dam in about the place we built our dam," Brown said. "Look it up -- in Spanish, 'Represa' is 'dam.'"

Brown's work as a corrections officer gave him access to historic records.

"I've got records on inmates from 1873 to 1946 in the original ledgers," he said.

Brown took writing courses in college, but it wasn't easy to move from law-enforcement "report" style to prose, he said.

"My English 1A prof at Sac City College looks at me and says, "You're a cop,' right there in class in front of everybody," Brown said. "I said, 'I just put down the facts (but) I'm not a police officer.' He gave me an A-plus, and I said, 'Is this recorded -- you can't change it?' He said yes. I said, 'Listen (expletive), I'm a prison guard.'"

Brown said he credits the historical novels of James Michener with giving him a feel for the importance of chronicling the past.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738559216
Publisher:
Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
09/24/2008
Series:
Images of America Series
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
534,180
Product dimensions:
9.24(w) x 6.44(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet the Author


Author Jim Brown spent decades on the inside of the prison as a correctional officer and presents here historic images from the Folsom Prison museum to illustrate the incredible story of this place of stone, iron, and humanity--redeemed and incorrigible. In these pages, Brown draws upon his experience and knowledge to tell the stories of the prison's construction, early years, officers, inmates, events such as the famed prison concerts, and distinctive stories of Folsom Prison's unique character.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >