Crime: The Way It’s Done

Whether it's armed robbery or running a brothel, there's a right way and a wrong way.

(BRUCE JACKSON IS A WELL known expert on criminology and folklore. What follows are excerpts from interviews he conducted with inmates of Missouri and Texas prisons for his book In the Life. )

Bob and Ray

BOB: WHEN WE STARTED WITH OUR first robbery, if it hadn’t been successful we would have probably quit. A lot of times people will hit a place and get just $40 or $50. We got $7200 on the first one.

We were broke at the time. If it had been someplace where we got $30 or $50 we might have hung up right there and said, “The bother isn’t worth it.” I don’t know. Have you ever had $7200 in cash in your hand at one time?

RAY: And no bills to pay.

BOB: …no taxes…

RAY: …just money, there in your hands?

BOB: We had $15 to pay for room rent and that was

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...