There have been Hollywood movies since time immemorial showing how prisons work. Needless to say, these are usually not very pretty. However, all of these were thought to be fiction as there was no hard evidence backing it up till now.
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Video footage has appeared online which points to how close to reality those movies really were. The video in question is from New Zealand’s Mount Eden prison and it is quite grisly, to say the least. From the looks of it, the fights seem to be organized and take place within the prison cells and even the exercise yards and usually are held between members from rival gangs.
These videos were allegedly captured using phone smuggled into the fighting arena and the prisoners can be seen to be engaged in close quarters physical combat. In fact, all six of these videos bring to light how brutal and ruthless these fights often get. Not only are the attacks vicious, it can be seen that there are visitors at these makeshift arenas where the inmates are continuously encouraged to continue with the slugfest even it is quite clear that they do not want to continue any longer. The videos were uploaded after a convicted murderer, Nikki Roper had to be hospitalized following very serious injuries resulting from one of these matches.
However, despite all the savagery, it seems that the fights are conducted according to a few unwritten rules. These include the fact that fighters who get down and are not able to defend are given space to get back up. Not only that, in case a fighter gets into the spectator arena, the fight is suspended and all the combatants are given time to get back into the so-called ‘ring’. Fights are also called off in case someone is unable to continue. However, it seemed that the definition of “unable to continue” varies widely from the professionally controlled rings.
While most of the fights are amateur, the videos clearly show a few well-seasoned pros in them. In fact, one of the videos even shows a trained striker, who wins with a rear-naked choke to his opponent. Needless to say, the public went into an uproar after the footage became public. Serco, the British management firm which looks after Mt Eden prison was put under the spotlight by the New Zealand government as well.
However, Serco seems to be a repeat offended (pun intended) in these cases. Back in 2012, Serco released 3 inmates who should not have been released, let one other escape and detained 3 who should not have been held back from the private prison. In retaliation of the most recent reviews, the New Zealand government took over the running of the Mt Eden prison and forced Serco to pay $8 million as compensation for their wrong doings.
While these fights might look exciting in movies, it is not how inmates who are scheduled for reform should be handled. We hope that this kind of deplorable practices are stemmed in the future.