The Portsmouth Naval Prison, now vacant, sits at the far end of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey Island on the Maine and New Hampshire border. For over a century, "the Castle" or "the Rock," with its deceptively appealing exterior, has kept both visitors and New Hampshire residents in its thrall. Since its opening in 1908 to its decommissioning in 1974 and into the present day, myth and lore have surrounded this iconic building. For the 66 years it functioned, any prisoner who escaped was brought back dead or alive--or so it has been said. Only adding to the prison's mystique is its history of reform; particularly successful were the wartime restoration and rehabilitation programs. Although the prison's fearsome reputation is cemented in Darryl Ponicsan's The Last Detail, Portsmouth was a forerunner in many ways. Routine inside often reflected the latest advancements in the field. Yet, designed or deserved, the prison's legacy remains an intriguing mix of dread and redemption.
Author: Stephen D. Cox
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2009-11-03
""The Big House" is America's idea of the prison - a huge, tough, ostentatiously oppressive pile of rock, bristling with rules and punishments, overwhelming in size and the intent to intimidate. Stephen Cox tells the story of the American prison - its politics, its sex, its violence, its inability to control itself - and its idealization in American popular culture. This book investigates both the popular images of prison and the realities behind them : problems of control and discipline, mainenance and reform, power and sexuality. It conveys an awareness of the limits of human and institutional power, and of the symbolic and iconic qualities the "Big House" has attained in America's understanding of itself"--Jacket.
Author: Alison Griffiths
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2016-08-23
Genre: Performing Arts
A groundbreaking contribution to the study of nontheatrical film exhibition, Carceral Fantasies tells the little-known story of how cinema found a home in the U.S. penitentiary system and how the prison emerged as a setting and narrative trope in modern cinema. Focusing on films shown in prisons before 1935, Alison Griffiths explores the unique experience of viewing cinema while incarcerated and the complex cultural roots of cinematic renderings of prison life. Griffiths considers a diverse mix of cinematic genres, from early actualities and reenactments of notorious executions to reformist exposés of the 1920s. She connects an early fascination with cinematic images of punishment and execution, especially electrocutions, to the attractions of the nineteenth-century carnival electrical wonder show and Phantasmagoria (a ghost show using magic lantern projections and special effects). Griffiths draws upon convict writing, prison annual reports, and the popular press obsession with prison-house cinema to document the integration of film into existing reformist and educational activities and film's psychic extension of flights of fancy undertaken by inmates in their cells. Combining penal history with visual and film studies and theories surrounding media's sensual effects, Carceral Fantasies illuminates how filmic representations of the penal system enacted ideas about modernity, gender, the body, and the public, shaping both the social experience of cinema and the public's understanding of the modern prison.
Author: Rodney Watterson
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Release Date: 2014-03-15
During World War I, the United States Navy conducted at the Portsmouth, NH Naval Prison what many penal scholars consider the most ambitious experiment in the history of progressive prison reform. Cell doors remained opened, prisoners governed themselves and thousands of rehabilitated prisoners were returned to the fleet. This humanitarian experiment at Portsmouth prison stood in stark contrast to the inhumane flogging of prisoners that had dominated naval discipline until 1850. The Navy’s journey between these two extremes in naval discipline included the development of a much needed naval prison system. When congress abolished flogging in 1850, the Navy was left with few punishment options. Flogging had been a harsh, but very effective and efficient discipline tool. Various conditions of confinement appeared to be the most logical substitute for flogging, but the Navy had few cells ashore and confinement onboard a nineteenth century man-of-war sailing vessel was impractical. Onboard space was limited and all hands were needed to sail and fight the ship. Subsequent naval directives that merely suggested punishments for various offenses led to inconsistent interpretation and application of punishments throughout the fleet. At the same time, courts-martial prisoners were sporadically confined in various marine barracks, navy yard jails, naval station guard houses, prison ships and state prisons. The Navy’s discipline system was in disarray. A naval prison system was needed to consolidate and provide for consistent treatment of prisoners. The Navy’s efforts to gain congressional approval for a prison in the 1870s were unsuccessful. In the late 1880s, the Navy took matters into its own hands and established a prison system centered on makeshift prisons at the Boston and Mare Island Navy Yards. An ever-increasing need for cells, primarily driven by high desertion rates, eventually resulted in the construction of the Navy’s first real prison at Portsmouth, which opened in 1908. A consolidation of naval prisons in 1914 left Portsmouth as the dominant centerpiece of the naval prison system. At this point Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose the most celebrated prison reformer of his era, Thomas Mott Osborne, to assume command of the Portsmouth prison. His reforms at Portsmouth went well until Vice Adm. William S. Sims and others became convinced that too many trouble makers were being returned to the fleet. Under mounting pressure from senior naval officers, FDR personally led an on-site investigation of conditions at Portsmouth prison, which included charges of gross mismanagement and rampant homosexual activity. Although exonerated by FDR’s team, Osborne resigned from the Navy shortly after the investigation. Osborne’s reform initiatives were quickly reversed as the Navy returned to a harsher punishment system more inclined toward deterrence than humanitarian considerations and prisoner comforts.
During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners-of-war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of North Vietnamese guards and interrogators who ruthlessly plied them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their Code of Conduct, the POWs developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, their captors singled out its eleven leaders, Vietnam's own "dirty dozen," and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. None would leave its solitary cells and interrogation rooms unscathed; one would never return. As these eleven men suffered in Hanoi, their wives at home launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the nationwide POW/MIA movement. The members of these military families banded together and showed the courage to not only endure years of doubt about the fate of their husbands and fathers, but to bravely fight for their safe return. When the survivors of Alcatraz finally came home, one would go on to receive the Medal of Honor, another would become a U.S. Senator, and a third still serves in the U.S. Congress. A powerful story of survival and triumph, Alvin Townley's Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.
Author: Ray Jones
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing
Release Date: 1997
One of the most compelling and delightful popular culture anthologies published in decades, this volume tells the story of Ivory Soap and the Model-T Ford, probes the intricate glories of Navajo rugs and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and celebrates the genius of Benny Goodman and Humphrey Bogart. Uniquely organized, it romps in a whimsical stream-of-consciousness manner through more than 250 of our country's finest products, richest traditions, and most inspiring people. Line drawings throughout.
Author: J. Dennis Robinson
Publisher: Peter Randall Pub
Release Date: 2004
When the Wentworth-by-the-Sea Hotel was built in 1873, it joined dozens of other resorts dotting the northern New England landscape. Now 130 years later it remains the one of the few grand hotels in this region. In between 1873 and 2003, the hotel has undergone early success, bankruptcy, resurgence under the guidance of a gilded age tycoon, one month as the social center of a major international peace conference, decades as a prominent family resort and convention center, then near total demolition, and, finally, resurrection as major upscale hotel and spa. The dominant architectural feature in seacoast New Hampshire, the Wentworth was and is more than a building. Author J. Dennis Robinson tells the stories of its of-times flamboyant owners, its loyal employees, and the thousands of guests all of whom have made the Wentworth a New England institution. In this heavily illustrated volume we learn of the Campbell family who built the hotel, of Frank Jones, the Portsmouth multi-millionaire who expanded the facility into the major resort, and of James and Margaret Smith who held the aging building together during parts of five decades while hosting governors, presidents, industrialists and dozens of conventions ranging from visiting firemen to librarians. Then for two decades, until the turn of the twentieth century, the hotel was closed and nearly demolished, until nearly at the last minute, it was saved due to public outcry and renovated as the Marriott Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa.
Author: Sheldon Samuel Cohen
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Release Date: 1995
"Yankee Sailors in British Gaols offers the first comprehensive account of American servicemen detained within the confines of Mill and Forton prisons, the principal land-based detention centers in Britain during the American Revolution. Forton and Mill during the course of the War of Independence held approximately 3,000 American prisoners, almost all of them naval personnel. In a few cases, these American prisoners were incarcerated for more than four years, a longer recorded period of incarceration in overseas prisons than in any United States war prior to Vietnam. Professor Cohen's examination of wide-ranging and widely scattered primary and secondary sources provides an extraordinarily detailed picture of life within the closed society of each prison, as well as insight into the various ways in which Britons and Americans outside the prisons provided legal and extralegal help to the rebel detainees."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved