Today I had an opportunity to tour the “old main” prison outside of Santa Fe today. If you are unfamiliar with this prison it historic in New Mexico. In 1980 for 36 hours there was one of the bloodiest prison riots. During the riot 33 immates and 14 corrections officers were killed. Many of those who died were killed in brutal manners. The prison is now closed and it has been used for numerous films and tv shows. The state is not working to make it into a museum so that the past is not forgotten.
Now there is more to my experience with this location. When I was in high school as part of a civics class I was taking I and my classmaates took a tour of the prison. It was an experience that to this day I remember. They told us both the boys and the girls to not wear anything tight or revealing. We were also told not to seperate from the group. As we were walking in the hallways the slamming of the bars was chllling. The comments coming from the cell blocks was uncomfortable. We were of course told that this would probably happen.
Today as i was walking the halls all of the memories from back then came back. Now they did not come back as a negative or scary memories. It came back as saddened about what happen during the riots. In some areas there are still marks in the concrete where people were killed. One cell block was never repaired after it had been torched and everything destoryed. It is hard to believe how violent people can be to each other. The idea that one person can end the life of another person with no cause and no conscious.
What I took away today is that we need to realize while inmates are in these facilities for good reason. It’s how we treat we treat them while they are there that makes a difference. There are a number who are able to change and make a positive difference in the world and others will live their lives in the facilities. It is the my hope that we never had to deal with something this brutal in the future.
I have included a few pictures here there are two places we were not allowed to take pictures. One was the Catholic Chapel which was not touched in the riot. A body was found there but that person was not killed in the chapel. The others was the cell block with the protective custody. In this cell block 16 of the 33 inmates who died were housed. The brutality of the kills was unimaginable. Some were burned alive or decapitated. It was out of respect for those who lost their lives that we were asked not to photograph.