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The "Trusty System" of Running Prisons - Abolished in 1971 by Gates v. Collier


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It is unbelievable that during my lifetime the "Trusty System" (*not* "Trustee System) of prison administration was legal in the United States, but not much about this country's institutions surprises me anymore.

It wasn't until "Gates v. Collier" was decided in 1971 that the Trusty System was abolished. Essentially, the inmates were running the asylum - for real (read the Wikipedia entry above, and your jaw will drop).

I'm rewatching "Brubaker," and that's the only reason I've even heard about this crazy method of prison administration. I feel so sorry for prisoners in the South, and the further back in time you go, the worse-and-worse it must have been for them. God only knows how many human beings were violated for illegal, personal gain.

Anyway, I was completely unfamiliar with the term "Trusty System" (where the appointed inmates were called "Trusties," not "Trustees.") - and I didn't pick up on it when I first watched Brubaker, long ago. Chalk one up for the internet - the greatest educational tool ever invented.

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