Guy in desert prison fights to stay alive

I saw this movie in the late 90’s. It is not extremely popular or I would have found it again. I think it was made in the mid 90’s but not sure.

I really remember the first scene of the movie for some weird reason. Guy is drunk and is using a large pipe cutter to cut down parking meters. He get arrest and sentenced to prison for civil disobedience ( they used codes for all the crimes in the movie).

After that the guy is sent to desert like prison where other prisoners are afraid of him because the code (crime) he committed is usually for killers. Older bad dude is trying to rule prison area and at first tries to be friendly then its a fight between them. At the end i remember his saying that “your the same as me” because the old dude thought he was a killer but he reveals truth that he was just a protester.

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