For our next stop (and possibly our final, depending on how this post does for viewership), we once again will travel to a prison. And this prison was the gruesome scene of one of the worst riots ever recorded, where prisons are concerned.
New Mexico State Penitentiary sits about 15 miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The prison opened in 1956, and closed it’s doors for good in 1998. But not before a severely violent riot had occurred in 1980.
The riot had taken place between February 2 and February 3 of that year. Now mind you, this is a maximum security prison. So extreme force and security measures are used daily. During the two-day riot, thirty-three prisoners had died. And more than two-hundred inmates had to be treated for injuries. None of the security staff were killed during the ordeal, but seven of them had to be treated for their injuries and for rapes.
NMSP was overcrowded, to say the least. The treatment from guards were not always “kind”. The night that the riots started, there were 1,136 inmates placed on a cell block made to house only 900. Also they were not separated properly, as to help with any possible violent possibilities.
Another cause, they say for what transpired to be the worst riot in prison history, was the fact that programs such as educational, recreational and other rehabilitative programs were cut off, that had been started in 1970, but ended in 1975. In those five years, violence and mayhem was at a minimum.
There was also a severe shortage of Security Staff. So, those that were “fortunate” to work there, made a game with some of the prisoners called “The Snitch Game”. This is where the inmates that were chosen would go and tell the guards of fellow inmates that were “uncooperative”.
Those named would receive abusive treatment. And the abusive treatment came in the form of being from their fellow inmates. In the end though, this “game” was an epic fail, seeing as most of the information passed along was pretty inaccurate and minimal at best.
On the morning of February 2nd, it started. Hostages began to be taken by those that felt that enough was enough. Two prisoners in the South-side Dormitory E-2 had grabbed an officer who had been caught by them drinking a homemade liquor. Minutes later, four more officers were taken hostage.
Not too long after E-2 Block was under the control and leadership of the prisoners. And things were soon to become much, MUCH worse.
Before noon, the violence started to escalate to extreme proportions. And the “snitches” were beginning to be gathered up, along with the prison security staff members.
Within twenty-four hours after the riot began, Negotiators were starting to try and get demands of the prisoners and talk them down from their so-called power trip. At one point, eleven demands were made clear. Including, but not limited to inmate discipline, educational services and improving food. They also demanded to be able to speak with the media.
After the inmates were able to speak with the reporters, the officers that were taken as hostages were let go. Not all of them got out unscathed unfortunately. Some were severely beaten. Others had been raped. Seven of the guards had suffered severe injuries, but did live to tell of their ordeal.
There were also eighty prison inmates that had fled, seeing as they wanted no part in the riot, or wanted no further part in it. They had ran to the baseball fields to get away. Sunday morning, even more came out and fled the prison.
During the ordeal, thirty-three prisoners perished. Some were raped and beaten. And in all honesty, that was the EASIEST of the deaths that had occurred during the stand off. Some had their genitals burned off wit blowtorches. Some had their eyes gouged out, or even scooped out. While they were still very well alive, mind you. Also, some of the prisoners that had died were found to have overdosed on drugs as well.
Within thirty-six hours, on Sunday, February 3rd, things were finally calming down and coming to a stand-still. State Police officers and National Guard servicemen entered the charred remains of the prison.
Even after order was restored within the prison walls, gang fights, racial tensions, and fights had continued. But of a much smaller scale.
As I had earlier stated, the prison was formally closed in 1998. But since then, it has been opened as a Tourist Attraction, as well as used in the making of the 2005 remake of “Longest Yard” (featuring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and the original film’s Burt Reynolds).
Former employees of the prison and cast/crews from film have themselves reported to have heard disembodied voices, cell doors opening and/or closing of their own volition, sightings of apparitions.
If there was ever a haunted prison in the United States, New Mexico State Penitentiary has wonderful potential to be a hotbed of supernatural activity for obvious reasons. Violence, violent deaths, anger, resentment, unfinished stories of the inmates killed, seeking of justice and of justification.
Ghost Tour of Old Albuquerque
New Mexico State Penitentiary
History of the Riot that took place
The next video that I had wanted to show you was disabled to embed, so please CLICK HERE to view PART 1, and then click on the following parts to view the entire episode.