Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Marci McMahon

Second Advisor

Dr. Danika Brown

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew Christensen


This thesis analyzes the way in which Miguel Piñero, through his 1974 play Short Eyes, and Tom Fontana, through his television series Oz, portray the way in which American prisoners are transformed by a racially-defined code of behavior. This code of behavior, defined by Miguel Piñero as “the program” encourages inmates to over-identify themselves in terms of race and leads them to engage in behavior that contributes to their dehumanization. In the first chapter, the introduction, I establish the social, political, and theoretical concepts through which it is possible to analyze the process of prisoner identity transformation in these two works. In chapter two, I describe the process in which a prisoner’s identity is divided through a reading of the both works using social identity theory. In the third chapter, I describe the way in which the program and its emphasis on race shape the creation of prison identities.


Copyright 2013 Gerardo C. Martinez. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American