Prisons are the worst things ever Pt2: The Quickening

So last time I covered Rape and touched on Gangs very slightly. Today I'm going to cover gangs in more detail, false imprisonment and some more general inhuman cruelties. I will also touch on how and where it can be much, much better.

Gangs in prisons are almost identical to gangs in the outside. They control illegal services and substances (sex, drugs, weapons) and grant a degree of protection to those under their wing. They have the same allure as in the real world, a chance at some kind of family, friends, even a shot at becoming someone. All of the last draws are obviously executed tenfold inside, where you have nothing and no one to help you. Loved ones stop coming, the rapes and beatings keep coming and you have nothing. This is also the reason for the huge number of born again's coming from prisons. It’s nice to know someone will always forgive you and be there for you when your entire world is now a never ending suffering.

As I mentioned before, Prison gangs were started on purpose. It started way back in the 60s. Shit was bad for government in the 60s; you had 'nam, massive social upheaval and all that danged rock music. This made things tense, Nixon and allot of other government officials predicted a mighty rising of the people and were preparing for it. Then in 1971 the Attica prison riot shook the world.

For those who don't know, Attica was a typical prison with typically horrific regard for basic humanity. The inmates were given one shower a week and one roll of toilet paper a month. As you can possibly envision, things in Attica were kinda tense for the prisoners. On the morning of the 21st of august a man named George Jackson was murdered by Corrections officers at Attica. A couple of days later, on the 9th of September, the inmates responded. 1000 of them took the prison by force and took many of the staff hostage. They released demands which included:

       •    Amnesty from the taking of the prison
       •    the rebuilding of Attica by prisoners or prisoner supervision
       •    Amplify minimum wage laws to new York prisons (meaning inmates would no longer be slaves)
       •    Educate the officers on the needs of inmates
       •    Proper medical treatment
       •    Proper dietary treatment.

Full list here

Following 4 days of negotiations the authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoners’ demands. Then the National Guard stormed the prison and caused, directly or indirectly, the deaths of 39 people.

So what does this have to do with Gangs? Well, in response to Attica prisons were changed radically. Young Mexican offenders were placed with older black inmates, with the foreknowledge that they would be abused and segregated. This is how the notorious Mexican Eme's were born. Before long the government had managed to force almost the entire prison system to segregate and war against themselves. This is not conspiracy shit; this is the cause of the widespread prison gang problem. Very quickly prisoners turned from protecting each other (stories tell of large gay men beating and killing prison rapists back in the day) to trying to kill each other daily.

So prison gangs were formed (or, if you want to be nitpicky, heavily encouraged) to help keep order in prisons. They are now a vital part of prison security, helping to keep understaffed, 200% capacity prisons controlled through violence. Combined with the massive increase in popularity of DART teams (SWAT and the like) any uprising or riot is quickly struck down.

Put all this together with the incredible media control prison wardens have (see the quite frankly evil Joe Aprico for an example of this. He is portrayed as a hero while kicking pregnant women and cooking his inmates in the sun.) and you have what is basically an unbreakable hold on prisoners. Attica simply cannot happen again.

So how are the gang's kept riled up? Well that much is simple. Beatings, cruel punishments, boots and batons. You could say a prison guard’s job these days isn’t to protect the inmates from each other but rather to force them on each other, create an atmosphere where violence, suffering and anguish are the norm. Force people into gangs; force them against each other so that they won't stand against the Machine.

On that, I swerve violently toward my next topic. One that should scare the piss out of you. False imprisonment and even false executions happen. They happen relatively allot. I apologize that I cannot give you hard numbers and facts for this, as I mentioned earlier the prisons maintain a press choke hold and any attempt to catalog the justice systems incredible failings are met with unhealthfulness at best, outright threats and Boots at the worst. Allow me instead to link to several stories that convey my point and with luck, convince you that even one wrongly state murdered human being is far, far too many.

I make this point so I can stress, the Machine will get you if it wants you. Regardless of how rich, white, connected, young or old you are. If it gets a sniff of you it will have you and it will never let go if it doesn't want to. I also make the point to quite obviously say the death penalty is a hopelessly evil punishment and anyone advocating it is...well they are a misinformed and poorly educated person that needs enlightening. Remember what I said last time, even the worst human beings are still humans. Yes even Joe Aprico. Love them. All of them.

Now earlier I said I was going to tell you all how and where it’s better. Well as it happens the US army already runs a perfectly good system. Inside there is very little fighting and very little animosity between guards and inmates, the gang problem is nearly none existent and the rape issue is also practically a non-issue. So why does the Army run one so well? Well essentially the Army took how the main prison system is run and did the opposite. Rotating guards to avoid burn out, the guards are just other soldiers doing a term, prisoners are well looked after and given adequate healthcare and help. In such an environment violence is not needed to keep the peace, and without the need for gangs to get what you need, they cannot grow.

Of course the more astute of you will note that to run all prisons like Army prisons would require a complete change in the system and an overhaul of the job of a Guard. This will never happen. The prison unions are far too strong and deeply set to achieve that. You may as well wish for the upheaval of capitalism or something.

Norway also runs incredible prisons, the closest I have found to my preferred ideal of a prison being more of a hospital than a cage. I found a very good article on the subject by a man who visited one. I found it rather balanced and the man does a good job of stating the facts. Have a read.

Well that’s everything I can think of on the subject. If you want me to go over anything leave a comment and I'll see what I can do. As I constantly say I realize no one reads this blog but I am hoping that perhaps one person reads this series and learns something. Education is the tool that we can use to fight the Machine.
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