Selected Stories From Past Issues of The San Quentin News
JUNE 1981 – The prison bake shop has immediate openings for experienced bakers. Pay ranges from $14 to $21.
JUNE 1981 – At Deuel Vocational Institute a race riot between black and white inmates broke out at lunch in the chow hall, injuring six convicts and one guard. Meanwhile a fight broke out in a second chow hall between white, black and Chicano inmates and took an hour and nine tear gas shells to quell. Guards found seven prison–made weapons and a number of sharpened utensils. The prison is known as “the Gladiator School” for its young, violent inmates and heavy gang influence.
JUNE 1981 – A West Block prisoner was attacked and killed in his cell resulting in the prison being put on total lockdown status. Scott Spaulding, 34, was beaten with a claw hammer and stabbed numerous times. Two suspects have been placed in Ad. Seg. pending investigation. A seven–inch prison made knife and a claw hammer were found at the scene.
JUNE 1981 – A freak cell fire May 30 in the Badger Section housing unit claimed the lives of two Mexican–American inmates. The fire had been started as a protest by the convicts themselves and had gotten out of control. The intense heat swelled the door to their cell, causing it to become stuck.
JULY 1981 – A former San Quentin Prison guard is suing the prison for breach of contract. Gibbs resigned from the prison voluntarily in March 1980 after being accused of smuggling drugs to inmates. Gibbs claims that he had an agreement with Warden George Sumner that no negative information would be given out. The suit claims that Sumner then released information to Gibbs’ new employers at the Federal Correctional Institution that resulted in his firing.
JULY 1981 – Several Bay Area bands combined with some San Quentin “house” bands to provide rocking entertainment for the annual July 4th holiday show held in the north dining hall. A good time was certainly had by all!
JULY 1981 – For the week of June 27 to July 3, the Phantom Diner says “the hamburgers look a little scary, being burned black on one side… half our issue is sticking to the trays when we get ‘em… Friday’s lasagna was ‘screaming’… only one spoonful of sugar, no use sniveling.”
JULY 1981 – A proposal to sell San Quentin drew strong opposition from Bay Area legislator’s (imagine that!). Officials say a shortage of maximum security cells throughout the state prison system insures that San Quentin will have to stay for now.
JULY 1981 – A check of the canteen price list shows a 7 oz. can of Bugler selling at $2.35, cigarettes are $6 a carton, 12 oz. sodas are 30 cents, and a bar of Irish Spring soap is still a bargain at 40 cents.