I had the opportunity to experience an exhibit at the Alkek library over the death penalty in Texas. The event had articles, items, and many more depicting the pros and cons of life in prison.
At 5:00 p.m. on November 14th, the Alkek library held Justin Ball’s exhibit Catching The Chain: Life and Death in Texas Prisons. These promotional cards for the exhibition were laid out on the tables.
This poster is protesting the death penalty in Texas on one side of the exhibit, showing the contradicting views on the topic.
This is an authentic Texas prison outfit from years ago.
The noose created from rope was collected from a real prison in Texas and displayed at the exhibition.
Onlookers read about the tragedy prisoners face in Texas prison conditions from the mid 1900’s.
Justin Ball, the creator of the exhibit, explained that, “To most of us, going to prison is an abstract idea. Prison is one of those things that happens to other people; it’s a place for bad people. Them, not us. What most of us fail to realize is that each and every one of us is one or two bad decisions away from ending up in prison ourselves. Convicts are people and many of them are victims of an unjust system that targets them because of their race or socioeconomic standing. If anything in this exhibit shocks or disgusts you, that’s a good thing. It’s up to us to make people aware of these problems so that we can prove the system and insure that the injustices of the pasts are not repeated upon future generations.”
A newspaper article depicting the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
As the card reads, “Handcuffs and leg irons. Late 19th- early 20th Century. On loan from the US Marshals Service.”
An authentic prisoner uniform from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Student Johnathan Flores said, “My favorite thing I’ve seen so far is the prison shanks, and really all the items people have used in prison. It’s crazy to see what it’s really like.”
A close look at real prison shanks.
A handmade wooden dummy pistol used by inmates during an escape attempt, a sugar cane machete, and cotton bales from Eastham Farm Company on display.
This is a corn-husk mule collar that was used in Texas prison farms.
Authentic keys and locks from prisons used in older times.
A look into the prison industry in Texas dating back to the late 1800’s.
A woman intensely reads the article at the exhibit.
A forward look at the noose, some syringes, shoes, and knives all from Texas prisons.
There were many people at the event including students, faculty, and friends of the exhibit creator, Justin Ball.
Many students were intrigued or interested by what they saw, taking pictures of the excerpts inside the glass.
Student Haley Tucker explained, “So far, the most interesting thing I’ve seen is the difference between the hanging, the electric chair, the lethal injection, all of the statistics around it, and the pros and cons of everything.”
This poster described the property that prisoners are allowed to have in current Texas prison conditions.
The KTSW radio station held a box open for book donations to be given to people in prison.
On the far right, there are pins from different officers and people in charge from prison camps.
An eye level shot of the plates and cups used in Texas prisons.