Dark Spaces: Montana’s Historic Penitentiary at Deer Lodge (Nonfiction) Ellen Baumler, Photography by J.M. Cooper, University of New Mexico Press, $24.95, Softcover.

jun09_dark_spaces_250Established in 1870, the penitentiary at Deer Lodge, Montana Territory’s first federal facility, was indeed dark, controversial and legendary.

The overcrowded inmates lived in deplorable squalor, were thrown in a “dungeon” as punishment, received minimal health care and faced mayhem and violence as a norm. This first published history of the stone enclosure tells the stories of a troubled institutionused as a prison until 1970and some of the most hardened men and women who lived, and sometimes died, within its walls. Since 1980, tourists have visited it as the Old Montana Prison Museum.

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