Tuesday, August 11, 2009
WAKE UP CALL
Posted on: Mon, Aug 10 2009
A new generation of gangs and mislead youth is shaking things up throughout Cali’s streets with more crime and gun violence. With a heavy increase of crime in LA throughout the nineties, its no wonder the California Jail System is over-crowded. From his own experiences, Los Angeles raised “O.G. Lepke” chronicles the life inside LA County’s “Super Max” prison in Wayside, CA, and reveals that what lies inside those walls is no joke.
Spellbound through a maze of turns, the LA County Jail bus rolls past a kaleidoscope of visions and curves as it makes its way to its final destination- A concrete fortress known as “Wayside Pitchess Detention Center” a.k.a. Super Max, one of California’s biggest and most notorious holding facilities in the nation. This massive structure is home to thousands of men fighting all crimes ranging from drinking in public to first-degree murder. I notice in the pitch-dark blue of the night how beautifully the stars and the moon are lit-up against the blackness of the clear sky- kind of like having a clear and open mind on my situation that is about to take a turn for the negative.
The next step into this world within a world is something only few are familiar with: the sound of LA’s worst! Yelling at the top of their lungs, “No one’s talking when I’m talking so shut the fuck up, asshole!”
It strikes me for a split second to not even make eye contact with this command, knowing that some of my downest comrades in the gangster game have been struck out for far less. Then a challenge between convict and officer, inmate and deputy, as the first phase of my process unfolds (spread, open, cough three times), thoughts of how something like letting another man, an officer of the law, flash a light in my backside is done as easily as opening the door. They seek an issue of contraband that’s never been found in the 30- some-odd years I’ve been subjecting myself to the revolving door of this California system.
Further down the process scale we stroll down a corridor so long its outright impossible to see the end of it. Not knowing our housing location (six massive blocks, each block has 8 dorms on a bottom floor and the same on the second floor), we approach the crowded dorms. Each block is a whole section of one building housing over 1,000 men. It sometimes reaches 70 men to a single dorm that’s made to hold 36. Tensions flare because of space; the smallest infraction is disrespect to either the black or brown race who rarely see eye-to-eye. Latinos claim various spaces as well as blacks. It could quickly turn real shitty over a piece of toilet paper or a loud comment. Even the wrong look could blow up a dorm so out of proportion that the psychological strain of an event like that could leave a very chilling effect on a person for the rest of their life.
In a world where individuals tend to be followers and not leaders, watered-down loyalty and honor comes out frequently. It causes one to hide behind a purpose that originated from the hoods...a West Coast gangster can no longer see his dedication to a bona fide code of respect, values and ethics —“ a level of quality that will always be found somewhere in the hearts of most men.
True original Sureno gangsters, loc’d-out Crips and G’d up Bloods are slowly but surley waking up every day to the fact that the winner in this is not us and the Wake-Up Call is long overdue. Prison is a state of mind and so is a generation that’s been asleep far too long.
By OG Lepke