Prisoners in California have been subjected to a new and disturbing round of gladiator fights – conflicts between prisoners instigated by guards for their own amusement or to break down solidarity between different groups on the inside.

This week, we will begin sharing a powerful conversation with three women whose husbands have suffered from this shocking practice. In addition to supporting their loved ones, these women are also bravely organizing to stop the practice and reverse the punishments hypocritically meted out in the aftermath of these state-imposed battles.

They are also joined in the conversation by a solidarity organizer from Oakland’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Together, they describe a complex and dangerous situation, in which prisoners from different racial and territorial groups try to avoid accepting the provocations of the prison system, with the possible exception of the Bulldogs, a particularly violent prisoner set that acts with the protection of the system.