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Mar 2, 19

Kite Line: Gladiator Fights in the California Prison System

Kite Line reports on the situation in Central California prisons, where guards continue to stage “dog fights” between different sets of prisoners, often for the purpose of breaking prisoner resistance.

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In the past months, the California prison system, or CDRC, has been convulsed by hunger strikes and a series of so-called “gladiator” or “dog fights,” in which guards pit prisoners against each other. Brooke, an organizer with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in Oakland, spoke with us to provide vital context for understanding this volatile situation- as well as recent updates on the movement inside Corcoran, one of the more infamous of these maximum security prisons.

Brook explains in detail the history of these fights, and also how gang culture thrives inside prisons- often as a way to give prisoners an identity and protection in facilities where the purpose is to remove these from its prisoners. As Brooke puts it, having your crew allows you to have such things as communication, identity, protection, sunlight- all things that the state explicitly tries to take from you.

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Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.

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