VISIT THE “OLD MAIN” NEW MEXICO PRISON – Scene of 1980 Prison Riot

As an update from the original October 11, 2017 posting,  you can read all about the prison riot of 40 years ago in the Albuquerque Journal. The report in the January 26, 2020 edition is the first in a 3 part series on the riot. As of today, no tours are being offered. Second part published on January 27, 2020. Third part published on January 28, 2020.
In 1980 there was a prison riot in Santa Fe, New Mexico that resulted in the deaths of 33 inmates and the destruction of the New Mexico State Penitentiary. Since then a new prison has been built next to the remains of “Old Main.”
The New Mexico Department of Corrections conducts tours of Old Main at the New Mexico Prison in Santa Fe. I took the tour in 2012. The tour took about two hours.
“Old Main” was virtually destroyed and 33 inmates were murdered.
Tours are conducted for part of the year. The goal is to raise money for a museum; however, nothing seems to have happened in the last five years.
If you want tickets for the  Tour, click here; however, as of the date of posting this post, no tours are being offered. They may be offered again in 2019.
August 23, 2019 – I just checked and it seems a few tours are available this summer, but may be sold out. Click here.
If you still want to visit a prison, try Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia; or read about it in the New York Times.
If you want to read about the 1980 prison riot in New Mexico, click here.
This is out of my comfort zone; but something we should be aware of.

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Prison may be an alternative to life on the street for old people.

A photo of where the geezer might spend his last years. Better than the street???

The geezer asks for admission to the Federal Prison system.

The geezer seeks bank support for admission to the Federal Prison system.













In the US there are 26,200 prisoners over 65 in state and federal prisons and 124,400 over the age of 55.

The geezer, who is 75, and an “opportunist” is thinking outside the box; or perhaps ‘inside the box.” If I have no money, little social security, no home, no assets, no family; and  have to line up at the soup kitchen for meals and the free street clinic for medical care, maybe there is another way.

At 75, what do I need? My sex life is a thing of the past; there is no one to take care of me, I am frequently wet and cold; I am regularly exposed to every type of riffraff; and, can no longer fight off street predators.  How can I  live out my days in some comfort, be warm, eat regularly, and have  adequate medical and dental care?

The answer is to rob a bank.

The sentence seems to be 10 years plus an extra 5 years if you have a gun. I need to check to see if the gun has to be loaded; wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. The 15 years takes me to 90 which is about my  life expectancy  on a good day and I don’t have to0 many of  them. If I got in a fight or two,  I can avoid good time.

The big problem is that I might get probation since I don’t have a record; so, I might have to rob the same bank twice; or, even three times.

Given the economic and social future of the elderly, prison doesn’t sound too bad; and, it can’t be worse than a nursing home; even if I qualified. If you can’t pay, Medicaid is the only answer. Assisted living is out of the question without money or long-term care insurance.

There is probably a downside, but I am having trouble seeing it.

The food can’t be worse than most senior institutions. If I have a room(cell)mate, he would probably be about my age. I would probably be in some sort of minimum security facility, but, given the gun I might be in a maximum security facility.  The friends I would make would probably be better than the ones on the street.

Would I be safe? Probably. I am sure that most Federal Prisons take care of old people; albeit, reluctantly. There are work programs in most institutions and perhaps I could care for other old people if I couldn’t get assigned to the library. Win-win.

The New York Times has an article on California state prisons that have caregivers called ” gold coats.” These are inmates, usually murderers, who in exchange for a “gold coat,” and other privileges, look after the elderly; especially those with dementia. They protect them from the other prisoners, get them food, make sure they don’t fall; and, in general act as highly trained caregivers. They sound better than some in nursing homes I have visited.

Do I want to go this route? I suppose it depends on how cold and hungry I get; and, if I am competent to rob a bank when the time comes.

Or, maybe it would just be cheaper and better to move all of us old prisoners and “Gold Coats” to the “abandoned” military bases where they are keeping illegal immigrants.




Are abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools, and foreclosed homes in my future at age 76?!

My blog on Christiania got me to thinking. Could old people, who need a place to live, social contacts and help, follow the example of the squatters in Copenhagen and take over (or, buy cheaply) abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools and homes to use in their declining years.

Could they take an abandoned prison used only for tours and convert it into living space for seniors using grants obtained under the Older Americans’ Act?

Now that I think about it, maybe the answer is closer than I thought. New Mexico has “Old Main” which has been abandoned and  is being used for tours.

Solitary cell at “Old Main,” Santa Fe, New Mexco.


Or perhaps, old people could become ex-pats and get an abandoned United States facility in the Panama Canal Zone, even though title is now in Panama:

Abandoned US Building in the Panama Canal Zone turned over to Panama in March 2017.

I think that most people my age (76) remember the 60’s and whether or not they participated, were influenced by the 60’s. Now that we are old, maybe it is time we applied a few hippie tricks; such as living in abandoned properties. Old people are heading toward homelessness in a big way; but, some of us still have a few tricks up our sleeves.

In Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan, there are whole blocks of abandoned houses, owned by FHA, et al. Across the country you can find prisons, schools,  military facilities, and government buildings, sitting empty because they have outlived their usefulness.  To me they are an opportunity. If Detroit or Buffalo doesn’t appeal, try abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools and government buildings  in any state. Take a look at: Abandoned Schools for Sale.

I am not advocating squatting, although it may come to that. I am advocating approaching the government and   offering to take over these facilities for the benefit of old people. A block of empty homes in Detroit might be taken over for a $1 a house; redone with grants pursuant to the Older Americans’ Act, helped along by AmeriCorps – Vista, and funded by seniors’  Social Security Payments.

A block of abandoned houses could have a police satellite station on  one corner, a Senior Clinic, meals-on- wheels, and a senior center on the other corners. In addition, there could be  a central courtyard; safe, and social. Since old people are naturally snoopy they would watch the street all the time.

Be sure that some of the old people are young enough and competent enough to organize this.

Maybe we need the Gray Panthers!