Wait a minute, are you saying that instutionalized gang warfare and racism are deliberate tools used by an overcrowded prison system to prevent the prisoners from unifying against their jailors?
That was part of the reason for its genesis, but I don't think even back then they realized how bad it would get or how quickly they would lose control. They started with control-units (now called SHU's) to try to keep it in check, and when that didn't work they built a prison where the whole thing was a SHU (Pelican Bay). When that didn't work they SHU'd it up too, and then when it hit 200% capacity they built another one just like it (Kern Valley). It filled up twice over as well, and it still didn't work.
In the 60's, it was thought that racial conflict inside prisons was preferable to wholesale uprisings nationwide like Attica; that the price was worth preventing total anarchy systemwide. It was thought that increased racial strife between cons could be effectively managed by increased harshness on the part of the facility. We now know this not to be true, but far too late. It was also thought at the time that the country was much closer to some kind of major upheaval than it really was. Vietnam, civil rights movement, counterculture, all of it- Nixon, not realizing Nam would end not with a bang, etc. felt that some kind of uncontrollable uprising was inevitable. Attica and the violent episodes which happened in the streets as a result of civil rights + Vietnam were seen as mere hints to some future mass revolt, instead of what they wound up being. The drug war is usually credited to Reagan but in fact it was Nixon's last, greatest war- and will be his legacy once future historians look on the matter with more educated eyes.
What the government could not have foreseen was how their initial efforts could so completely backfire. In the 60's, there were things which would be totally unheard of in prison today. There were gangs of big strong gay men who roamed the tiers, protecting all small inmates of any race from rape- and killing prison rapists. This is unthinkable in today's prisons. So it started by sending groups of Hispanics in a juvenile facility into tiers with older black offenders, knowing that they would be victimized and gang up. Knowing that they would take to the adult prisons this allegiance. This was the birth of the Eme's- the Mexican Mafia, one of the most feared and powerful criminal organizations as has ever existed in this country and which will endure for the entire lifetime fo the USA. The administrators could not have foreseen this.
Her: Look, you're just wrong, ok? These people are scum. They deserve to die.
The textbooks on criminology like to advance the idea that prisoners are mentally defective. There is only the merest suggestion that the system itself is at fault. Penologists regard prisons as asylums. Most policy is formulated in a bureau that operates under the heading Department of Corrections. But what can we say about these asylums since none of the inmates are ever cured. Since in every instance they are sent out of the prison more damaged physically and mentally than when they entered. Because that is the reality. Do you continue to investigate the inmate? Where does administrative responsibility begin? Perhaps the administration of the prison cannot be held accountable for every individual act of their charges, but when things fly apart along racial lines, when the breakdown can be traced so clearly to circumstances even beyond the control of the guards and administration, investigation of anything outside the tenets of the fascist system itself is futile.
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