Well, if something doesn’t change soon, one of two things will happen:
1) Some inmates will die of starvation; or
2) The California Department of Corrections will begin force-feeding the weakest ones, which is, you know, like torture.
So the prison system of the largest state in the United States is on the brink of becoming not just a network of prisons, but a gulag of torture and/or death.
This is what it has come to.
One wonders whether there will be a news story or two, other than in “The Nation”, when a prisoner either dies or is fitted with a sharp needle contraption through his nose to pump “nutrition” into his stomach. We’ve come a long way in our capacity for denial. Forty years ago a lot of inmates lost their lives in the re-taking of the Attica Correctional Facility, just up the road from here. Would the news media even report it now? If not, is that because they don’t care or because we don’t?
Civilization begins its collapse on the margins. Rome civilized the barbarians, then made the barbarians soldiers and commanders, then those soldiers and commanders de-civilized the Romans.* The collapse began on the fringes of the empire and moved in. It is probably always that way, varying considerably in how fast it occurs.
I’m not prepared right now to say, definitively, that the inmates are engaged in a righteous cause. But the willingness to die often means that as nothing else will. What is terribly disconcerting, though, is that there is no discussion about it because it is effectively not being reported. The failure of journalism at work here is staggering.
* Painting with a broad brush. Artistic license. Not to be taken too literally.