California Department of Corrections once allowed gang colors
By Alex Alonso
Streetgangs.com Staff Writer
September 21, 2012 | 8:01 p.m.
During the 1980s, the California Department of Corrections allowed African-American gang members to wear their gang colors. Salinas Valley State Prison, also known as Soledad Prison, during the late 1980s was known as a Blood friendly prison allowing them to wear red. Many Bloods that were validated by prison officials were transferred to Soledad after being processed.
Although this may sound counter-productive, allowing gang members to represent their gang, during the height of prison violence was done so to reduce conflict and prison violence, mostly in the form of stabbings.
This photo was taken in 1988 and the Bounty Hunters, Rollin 20s, Neighborhood Pirus and Black P Stones, are represented in the photo. All these gangs were on friendly terms and were incarcerated on a yard isolated from rival inmates. Since rivalries did not exist among these gangs, the prison allowed them to fly their colors because it would not create conflict on a segregated yard.
Alex Alonso is an author, film maker and founder of Streetgangs.com. He is the contributing author in the 2010 book entitled “Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities” (New York University Press). He can be reached via email, at 800-249-1324, or on Twitter.