The fifth season of Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" concludes with the dissolution of a mutiny at the Litchfield Penitentiary, during which prisoners demanded better treatment. With the show's recent return, the protagonists are now forced to face the consequences of their uprising, and are left with few options: Do they rat out their friends for lesser sentences, or do they face life in prison for their transgressions? Which character will take the blame for the deaths of two correctional officers that occurred during the revolt remains unclear for much of the show's new season.
In real life, the leaders of revolts within the prison-industrial complex — if they even survive — often face harsh sentences and drastic repercussions. From Attica to the Strangeways, here are the fates of five individuals whose acts of resistance are linked to prison riots.
1. Elliott James "L.D." Barkley
In 1971, approximately 1,000 prisoners seized control of the Attica Correctional Facility in western New York following the death of George Jackson at San Quentin State Prison. Taking 42 staff members of the prison hostage, the inmates demanded recognition of their human rights amongst outbreaks of extreme violence. Inmate Elliott James "L.D." Barkley, 21, served as a negotiator with law enforcement and offered passionate speeches about the plights of those within the facility.
“We are men,” Barkley proclaimed during the ordeal, according to The New York Times. “We are not beasts, and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such.”
Despite his prominent position in the insurrection — or perhaps because of it — Barkley never made it out of Attica alive. It is unclear, how, exactly the noted orator perished amid police raids on the rebellion. Assemblyman Arthur Eve testified that Barkley was alive following the surrender of the prisoners. However, another inmate testified that officers had specifically sought out Barkley by name and shot him in the back, according to testimony offered in the 2013 investigative documentary "Criminal Injustice: Death and Politics at Attica."
2. Cindy J. Reed, AKA Sid
The brutal beating of Carol Crooks by prison guards in 1974 catalyzed a revolt at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. In an investigative report from the Village Voice, Crooks explains how her mistreatment by guards led to a takeover by prisoners.
Cindy J. Reed, an admirer of Crooks, had demanded to know what exactly happened to Crooks following a violent run-in with correctional officers.
“Because it could be any one of us next,” Reed began organizing women in the prison, asking for explanations from officers. A sympathetic guard handed Reed and the women keys to their cells before fleeing, leading to the release of 200 inmates who peacefully inquired about Crooks' fate. Officers hosed the women and demanded they return to their cells. Reed disputes claims from the Department of Corrections, which told reporters that the prisoners had taken hostages during the riot. Under threat of tear gas, the women surrendered.
Reed and other organizers were given year-long sentences in solitary confinement. Crooks was given two years for her role in the fight that sparked the riot. She ultimately fought the decision in court and was released from solitary in 1975.
Reed was in and out of prison throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s for unrelated charges.
3. Kevin "Rashid" Johnson
Despite the charges, The Florida Department of Corrections insists that "Operation PUSH," the resistance which Johnson had supposedly helped encourage, never happened. This also contradicts statements from prisoner-rights groups.
FDOC spokesperson Michelle Glady maintains that those encouraging a "work stoppage" are subject to disciplinary action.
"The article does nothing but state the conditions that Florida prisons are protesting and confirms how vile those conditions are," Johnson wrote, according to The Miami New Times. "Nowhere is anyone told to do anything. It is only a piece of journalism, which is constitutionally protected exercise of speech and press. Also FDOC prisoners have no internet access, so how is something published online inciting prisoners? This is retaliation plain and simple for publicizing abusive conditions, and why and that FDOC prisoners are planning a protest."
Johnson's fate remains unclear.
4. Domenyk Lattlay-Fottfoy AKA Dominic Noonan
English gangster and sex offender Domenyk Lattlay-Fottfoy’s efforts may have energized the Strangeways Prison in Manchester, England in 1990.
The inmate, also known as Dominic Noonan, led the Prisoners' League Association (PLA), a collective of incarcerated individuals advocating for prisoners' rights. His transfer out of the Strangeways Prison in 1989 may have been an indication of the mounting tensions between guards and those held in the facility. A rash of violence at the facility shortly after Noonan's removal sparked protests in the Strangeways chapel by a handful of prisoners, which then spread throughout the complex. The takeover resulted in a prisoner's death and injuries to 147 officers and 47 inmates, according to the BBC.
Noonan never faced charges in connection to the riot but remains in prison in the United Kingdom. His latest convictions were for indecent assault and attempted rape, according to The Manchester Evening News.
5. Clifton Bloomfield
Serial killer Clifton Bloomfield had been sentenced to 195 years in prison after killing five people in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
On September 23, 2017, a guard chatting with Bloomfield at the Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility inexplicably let the convicted killer out of his cell. Bloomfield rushed the guard and took him hostage with a shank made from a sharpened toothbrush, freeing prisoners from their cells with keys he seized. Security cameras were disabled and fires were started by the escaped convicts.
The ensuing riot lasted only an hour and was suppressed by officers in riot gear, with some prisoners using their fleeting freedom to violently settle scores with other inmates.
New Mexico's Secretary of Corrections David Jablonsk indicated that a series of security snafus led to the riot.
"What happened that evening was unacceptable," said Jablonsk to KRQE, an Albuquerque-based outlet. "There were major security breaches. It wasn't safe."
As a result of his involvement with the riot, Bloomfield was transferred to a maximum security facility in Santa Fe.
[Screenshot via Netflix]
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