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While a portion of the prison was closed down after the riots, most of Old Main would remain open for another 18 years, a dark stain on the state's prison system.In the years since its final closure in 1998, the prison has come to occupy a near-celebrity status in New Mexico, engendering its own folklore, ghost stories and becoming a popular set for the burgeoning New Mexico TV and film industry.In the riot's aftermath, the corrections department would adopt a philosophy of "never again".
It led prison administrators to "increasingly relying on solitary confinement as a prison management tool"."I was locked up all day and all night [for] 23 hours," says Samuel Chavez, who arrived at Old Main in 1988 - eight years after the riot - on charges of second-degree murder.
He spent the better part of a decade unjustifiably isolated at both Old Main and another supermax, known simply as "North"."The only contact you had was with guards handcuffing you, putting you on dog leashes, beating you," says Chavez, explaining the conditions he faced living in a cell the size of a parking space."You are subject to their [the prison guard's] whims, their anger, their frustration - whatever [problems] they had at home was brought out on you," says Chavez, whose experiences reflect the devolution of what was once a short-term punishment into an institutionalised prison tool.
The abuse, however, Chavez says, began years before.
Upon arrival at Old Main in 1988, he began working on filing for an appeal.
His 2007 civil rights complaint alleges that he endured "total mind-numbing sensory deprivation, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, except for brief and meaningless escorts to the humiliating bare outdoor quasi-dog cages, where he would pace back and forth, and quickly breathe fresh air"."I remember I would 'run' in the cell, seven-and-a-half paces towards the door, then I would turn around and head back.
I would try to keep my body occupied so I didn't go insane," Chavez said, adding that he'd have absolutely no contact with other prisoners during this time.
"And the prison administration hates them for the same reason." At Old Main, Chavez began to experience abuse and threats at the hands of correctional officers, including arbitrary placement in solitary confinement for months and then years - three separate terms that lasted more than two years each - at a time.
Between 19, he was left in isolation at North for a 32-month stretch.
They gained access to the control centre, the pharmacy and the utility closet, acquiring huge quantities of drugs, as well as the acetylene torches that would allow them to break into the E-4 dormitory, where the most grotesque violence would take place."The prison underwent a brutal transformation as the sun rose," wrote Nelson in an unpublished manuscript, which was shared with Al Jazeera, about his time in prison.
According to the Attorney General Report, by 7am "execution squads" - armed with power tools and many of whom were intoxicated from prescription drugs, hooch and paint thinners - had gained access to E-4, where supposed "snitches" were housed.
He soon became a self-taught legal advocate for other inmates - a so-called "jailhouse lawyer", as well as an inmate representative under the Duran Decree working with outside lawyers to monitor prison conditions during the nearly two-decade period of federal oversight.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating