Tuesday, February 14, 2017
February 2nd marked the 37th anniversary of the Penitentiary of New Mexico prison riot. 37 years. Almost four decades ago on February 2, 1980 inmates who were fed up with overcrowding and lack of programming took over the Penitentiary of New Mexico.
It started with offenders overpowering four officers. From there it took 22 minutes for inmates to take control of the whole prison. In total they took hostage of 14 correctional officers. Inmates obtained power tools from a cellblock under construction, and used them to maim and torture other inmates. A total of 33 inmates were murdered during the riot. Although none of the hostages were murdered many of them were tortured, beaten, and stabbed.
The riot would go on for 36 hours. In these hours many received wounds that they would carry with them for the rest of their lives. For the families of the 33 murdered inmates and the 24 hostages the riot would never be over. Not all emotional and physical pain can heal.
This is why we remember what happened; to honor the officers and murdered inmates, because we never want it to happen again and because by not forgetting we can make the future better than our past.