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The film Brubaker is based upon the book Accomplices to the Crime by Tom Murton and Joy Hyams 1969 The book is out of print but I would wholeheartedly advocate checking ones library as Accomplices provides valuable background to the film Tom Murton served as superintendent in the Arkansas Prison System from February 1967 to March 1968 and he was the technical advisor for the film Another valuable source is the three audiotapes titled Tom Murton--Reform Warden which are available from Greenhaven Press 577 Shoreview Park Road St Paul MN 55112 The audiotapes series entail Tom Murton speaking about his experiences with the Arkansas Prison System Either one of these two sources provides the sociology instruction with an excellent basis for evaluating the empirical validity of the film as a document about prison life Brubaker can be viewed as a case study of one prison system at one point in time from the vantage point of a participant observer concerned with strategic intervention and with what he terms genuine or real reform The film begins with runner being put on a prison bus after he had been badly beaten by inmate guards armed with guns The Arkansas Prison system did make use of inmate guards armed with guns Students might be asked to consider what difference the use of free world guards as depicted in the film The fictional character in the film--Henry Brubaker--experiences the prison as an inmate before he informs everyone that he is the new warden This reminds me of the approach taken by Washington Post reporter Ben Bagdikian who spent six days in maximum security prison to gain an insiders perspective on prison life see The Shame of the Prisons New York Pocket Books 1972 a Washington Post national report Students can be asked to think about how the meaning of the prison experience depends upon ones vantage point Can an outsider understand the prison experience as
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