The Life of George John Beto and the Rise of the Modern Texas Prison System
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of North Texas Press
List of Illustrations
...fore, not inconceivable that two mortals were needed to write his biography. George Nielsen, one of the authors, grew up in Thorn-dale, Texas, a small town about an hour's drive from Austin. His family, typical of many during the Depression and war years, was not poor, but disposable income was scarce and reserved for ...
Chapter 1. The Early Years: Hysham, Montana; New Rockford, North Dakota; and Lena, Illinois (1916–1939
...“I love this country,” proclaimed George Beto in a 1981 speech.“My grandparents came from the ghettos of Prague, from virtual Netherlands. . . . In spite of handicaps—ignorance of the language and culture of this land—they were able to carve out for themselves respectable places on the economic, social, religious, and political...
Chapter 2. Concordia Lutheran College, Austin, Texas (1939–1959)
...Concordia College, Beto’s initial place of employment, had been founded thirteen years earlier in October 1926, and like other preperatory schools of the synod, was modeled after the German Gymnasium. It differed ...
Chapter 3. The Texas Prison System: The First One Hundred Years (1849–1953
In 1849, one hundred years before Beto’s installation as Concordia’s president, the first convict was confined in the partially completed penitentiary at Huntsville. During the hundred years that followed, the administrators of the state of Texas attempted to balance public safety, the humane treatment of prisoners, and fiscal...
Chapter 4. The Texas Prison Board: Beto, Coffield, and Ellis (1953–1959)
Beto’s appointment to the Prison Board was a political act, and politics played a role in the governor’s decision. Even though Beto’s mother was an ardent Republican, Beto, already during his years as a student in Milwaukee, believed that the Republican party lacked a social conscience.”1 When Beto arrived in Texas in 1939 the...
Chapter 5. Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois (1959–1962)
As any schoolboy knows, both Austin and Springfield are capitals of their respective states. But as any Texan will tell you, Austin is the more beautiful and exciting of the two. While Austin is situated on the lovely wooded hills of the Balcones Escarpment along the impressive Colorado River, Springfield is built on a flat, glaciated plain surrounded by some of the most productive farmland ...
Chapter 6. The Texas Department of Corrections (1962–1972)
Huntsville, Texas, home of the famed Walls Unit and the administrative center of the Texas Department of Corrections (now the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice), is the county seat of Walker County, approximately seventy-five miles north of Houston. Founded in 1835 as an Indian trading post, the town is situated in the lush ...
Chapter 7. Sam Houston State University (1972–1991)
August 31, 1972, was Beto’s last day as head of the Texas Department of Corrections; September 1, 1972, was his first day as Distinguished Professor of Corrections at Sam Houston State University’s Institute of Contemporary Corrections and Behavioral Sciences. Beto’s new career was by no means a journey into the unknown. Although his occupational change required a different residence, it did not demand a change ...