Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ross on Prison Museums

“Dark tourism” indeed!  Jeffrey Ian Ross, University of Baltimore Law School, has posted Touring Imprisonment: A Descriptive Statistical Analysis of Prison Museums, which previously appeared in Tourism Management Perspectives 4 (2012): 113-118.  Here is the abstract:    
Credit: Texas Prison Museum
This paper briefly reviews the scholarly literature about jail and prison museums. Then it presents the rationale and methods for developing a database on these worldwide museums (n=95). Data on 13 variables were collected. The study reviews the results of the data collected on 10 of the variables that were coded, and discusses the implications of the data. The results indicate that the majority of prison museums are located in advanced industrialized countries, with the United States having the largest number. Most of the prison museums in the United States are in California, Colorado, and Texas. Although one of the museums covered by the database was opened as a correctional facility in 1860, the majority of museums worldwide operated as jails and prisons over the past 150 years and were converted into prison museums after the 1960s. The fact that the United States has the greatest number of prisons reinforces both the reality and the perception of this country as one of the most punitive countries in the world.