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L.A. RIOTS As Seen From a Maximum Security Prison

You’d think after 20 years there’d have been a book or movie about watching the L.A. riots from prison, where day-to-day dynamics of race and equality are already challenging. And though it’s likely such a view would have been twisted into the taffy of a Broadway musical by now, we got nuthin’. So let’s put it this way: most prison televisions sit in protective steel enclosures for good reason.

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A newly minted CO who’d been buzzed into our unit was carrying his lunch in a brown paper bag, and as the door rolled closed behind him, he failed pull the sack through quickly enough. His spaghetti got squished and he went berserk, shouting and punching the unit’s bulletin board. Of course we all saw it: whenever anyone entered the unit we got up to look -- what else did we have to do? The spastic rookie even kicked over a stack of board games as he spun and danced and shouted and cursed.

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