Nuggets of Wisdom

Saturday, March 28, 2015

SF Inmates Forced To Fight Gladiatorial Games

Have you ever seen a prison flick like The Condemned or Death Race where prisoners are made to compete in to-the-death games where the victor is promised his freedom? Well, it seems as though one San Francisco prison was secretly hosting such games, though without all the Hollywood romanticization:
San Francisco’s public defender called on Thursday for an independent investigation into the Sheriff’s Department after accusations that four deputies forced prisoners to engage in “gladiator-style fights” for their own amusement.

Jeff Adachi, the public defender, said at a news conference that the deputies forced the smallest prisoner, Rico Palikiko Garcia, who weighs 150 pounds, to fight the largest prisoner, Stanly Harris, who weighs 350 pounds.

They also “appeared to delight” in taunting Mr. Harris with jokes about his weight, the public defender’s office said in a statement, and forced him to participate in “boot camp-style exercises.”

“It was a sadistic pleasure,” Mr. Adachi said in a telephone interview. “This was like something right out of ‘Game of Thrones.’ ”

The prisoners were told they would be rewarded with a hamburger if they won, but would be sprayed with Mace, severely beaten and transferred to dangerous housing quarters if they refused to fight at all, he said. Both men were injured in the fights but were told they would be beaten if they sought medical attention.
Give movies like Death Race some credit. At least in those scenarios, the prisoners volunteered to participate in those games, and they had the reward of their potential freedom as an incentive. Here, the prisoners were forced to fight each other, and their only incentive was a lousy cheeseburger. (Is prison food really that bad that a hamburger is reward enough for getting bloodied up and beaten to a pulp?)

I wouldn’t be so bothered by this if it weren’t for the fact that America’s incarceration rates have been increasing (along with prison recidivism rates), despite violent crime rates experiencing an opposite decline—in other words, despite less crime being committed, more people are being locked up.

Meanwhile, in Norway, after its crime rate began declining, the country began shutting down its prisons. Their crime rate goes down, and their prisons get shut down. Our crime rate goes down, and our prisons find excuses to continue locking people up. Remind me again why “Murica is #1”?