Prisons

Educational videos about prisons and jails.

Products

Acres of Skin: Medical Abuse Behind Bars
SKU: 35242
Drawing comparisons to the Tuskegee syphilis atrocities, this program describes experiments performed at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison over a period of decades, during which inmates were subjected to frequently dangerous medical procedures without their informed consent. The video explores connections between major pharmaceutical companies, an indigent and semi-literate prison population, and an ambitious dermatologist named Dr. Albert Kligman who organized and conducted tests involving nerve damage, unnecessary skin grafts, and drug-induced psychoses. The result is a provocative look at disturbing aspects of America's penal system. (43 minutes)

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CCI: Case Study of a Southern Prison
SKU: 7031
This program, filmed at the Central Correctional Institution in South Carolina, examines the failure of current U.S. correctional methods, and the expense of that failure in human terms. Interviews with inmates and staff capture emotions ranging from rage to hopelessness, as they discuss the racism and violence indigenous to prison life. The overall picture is that a growing underclass is disproportionately punished under our current criminal justice system, and has little chance for rehabilitation. (30 minutes)

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From Prison to Home
SKU: 39056
Ex-convicts face formidable odds, and for African-Americans, conditions are usually even more difficult. This documentary traces the experiences of four black ex-inmates over the course of a year, focusing on their challenges with employment, housing, addiction, and reconnecting with family-as well as their participation in the nontraditional African American Program for parolees. Richard, a 36-year-old crack addict, has spent 12 years in and out of the system. Arthur, 45, has been arrested 13 times. Calvin, 49, has served 18 months for drug possession and burglary. And 37-year-old Randy, emerging for the first time after a 16-year murder sentence, is intent on going to college. The parole officers who work with these men are also interviewed. (71 minutes)

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Hard Time: Teens in Maximum Security Prisons
SKU: 10173
Every Wednesday another busload of new inmates arrives at the Western Youth Institution in Morganton, North Carolina, a maximum security prison for juvenile offenders. What trade-offs do the convicts have to make, just to stay alive in this hostile environment? And what will they be like if they eventually make it back into society? In this program, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer reports on prison life through the experiences of four new teenage inmates-one only 13 years old. A follow-up two years later reveals the impact of their incarceration on their minds and bodies, best summed up by the words of one of the four: This is not the place to be." (24 minutes)"

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In the Shadow of Faith: Redemption Behind Bars
SKU: 37265
Angola Penitentiary has its own radio station, its own magazine, and-most notably-its own highly organized evangelical ministry. It is also a working farm, tended in large part by compliant, nonviolent inmates. What forces are at work in the once-notorious Louisiana institution? Have its residents embraced religion sincerely, or is Angola a focal point of sophisticated brainwashing? This program invites viewers to consider those questions. Examining daily life at the complex, it reveals an existence that, while varying from inmate to inmate, finds meaning in work, worship, and little else. Insights into prison realities and their spiritual remedies come from lifers, guards, and warden Burl Cain, the charismatic instigator of Angola's transformation. (57 minutes)

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Inside Folsom
SKU: 39084
You like horror movies?" responds a Folsom State Prison inmate when asked to describe life in the penitentiary. "This is a horror movie." Virtually every inmate who appears in this MSNBC documentary-and perhaps a few of Folsom's guards-seems to share his opinion. Viewers are guided through the prison's antiquated infrastructure, from the general population areas to the dungeon-like Cell Block 5, where the sun literally never shines. Conversations with lifers, corrections officers, and warden Diana Butler shed light on Folsom's violent culture and the procedures and programs developed to improve it. Despite rigid organization and work opportunities, the inmates interviewed tend to use the word "program" only in reference to unsupervised self-rehabilitation. Not available in French-speaking Canada. (43 minutes)"

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Inside North Carolina Women's Prison
SKU: 39086
Proving that female prisoners struggle with the same conditions male convicts face, this MSNBC documentary goes inside a North Carolina facility filled with 1,100 troubled mothers, sisters, aunts, and even grandmothers. Warden Annie Harvey conveys the goals and frustrations of her job, while male officers acknowledge an ongoing challenge to maintain professionalism and objectivity. Although sexual relationships among inmates are discouraged, several openly gay prisoners share what life is like for their small community and their disdain for opportunistic guards. Rampant drug addiction and substance abuse are also addressed, along with the daily drudgery of-and poignant attempts to brighten-life inside an eight-by-eight-foot cell. Not available in French-speaking Canada. (42 minutes)

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Inside Wabash
SKU: 39085
Situated in America's heartland among acres of Indiana cornfields, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility houses not just the state's most violent offenders but also a large population of the mentally ill. This MSNBC documentary looks at the challenges of confining thousands of hardened criminals in addition to those with deep-seated psychiatric needs. Wabash psychiatrist Dr. Mary Ruth Sims describes her work with a group of self-mutilating prisoners, while superintendent Craig Hanks and his staff outline their day-to-day challenges and the operation of the prison's SHU or secure housing unit. Viewer discretion advised: additional interviews feature severely deranged inmates who give accounts of their horrific crimes. Not available in French-speaking Canada. (46 minutes)

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Let the Doors Be Made of Iron: 19th-Century Prison Reform
SKU: 6867
This Academy Award-nominated program uses dramatic reenactments, old lithographs, and photographs to trace the fascinating history of the world's first full-scale penitentiary-Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia. Conceived as a humane alternative to the overcrowding and debauchery of smaller jails, the prison's fortress-like design and policy of separate confinement and meaningful labor became the correctional model for prisons worldwide. Important events in the prison's history are detailed, including the arrival of its first prisoner in 1829, and a visit by its only detractor-Charles Dickens. This is an interesting historical window on an early experiment in the humane treatment and rehabilitation of criminals. (23 minutes)

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Life Behind Bars
SKU: 10167
Are prisons supposed to rehabilitate convicts, punish them, or simply keep them off the streets? The answer depends on who is being asked. This program explores the current state of prisons in America and examines their conflicting mandates. The Directors of the National Prison Project of the ACLU and the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, the Governor of South Dakota, an Arizona sheriff, adult and juvenile inmates, and others consider issues such as the societal impact of mandatory sentencing and the prison-building boom. (29 minutes)

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Lock-up: Inside America's Prisons
SKU: 39083
With more resources than ever invested in the nation's prison system, a growing number of Americans question whether or not that system is really working. Searching for answers, this six-part series of MSNBC documentaries looks at the world of the incarcerated-from the inside out. With extraordinary access to the inner workings of several correctional facilities, the series records the hopes, fears, regrets, and occasional rehabilitation of jailed convicts, while presenting commentary from wardens, corrections officers, and medical personnel. The result is a comprehensive, hard-hitting examination of life behind bars in America. Not available in French-speaking Canada. 6-part series, 42-46 minutes each.

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Parole: Getting Out and Staying Out
SKU: 36259
Prison life is hard-but for most ex-convicts, life on the outside is tough, too. This video follows paroled prisoners as they re-enter civilian life and face challenges both large and small. Upon release from jail, the lives of these young men are suddenly filled with critical decisions. Some are dreaded, such as the split-second choice of whether or not to engage in violence-the wrong choice will put them back behind bars. Other dilemmas are unexpected, like having to decide what to wear every morning. The program provides an eye-opening look at the typical parolee's struggle to find work, stay away from drugs and former friends, and maintain a positive attitude about the future. (16 minutes)

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Prison Gangs and Racism Behind Bars
SKU: 9073
Prisons have become incubators for hate, where ethnic and white supremacist enclaves vie for control through violence and coercion directed along color lines. In part one of this program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel talks with prisoners doomed to solitary confinement due to their gang affiliations. They discuss the dangers that drove them to join-and that keep them looking over their shoulders even in the so-called protective environment of a supermax prison. In part two, Mr. Koppel spends a night in solitary confinement to observe firsthand the effects of supermax on inmates-and to document the type of ex-convict that will one day be returned to society: racially intolerant, unrehabilitated, and psychologically and emotionally broken. (40 minutes)

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Prisoners of Age
SKU: 35274
Raising complex and timely questions about the warehousing of America's prison population, this program accompanies photographer Ron Levine on his mission to depict the physical, emotional, and psychological conditions of aging inmates-including those nearing death. Levine focuses his work on Alabama's Hamilton Institute for the Aged and Infirm, the first prison created specifically for elderly convicts. Through Levine's documentation and interviews, the humanity of those incarcerated emerges in poignant detail, leading viewers to assess their own beliefs about rehabilitation, victims' rights, and how far society's punishment should go. (50 minutes)

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Prisons: Questioning the System
SKU: 10166
From mandatory sentencing to capital punishment, America has developed a strong stance on dealing with crime. But are these measures improving society or undermining it? In this topical two-part series, representatives from the legal system, academia, and community service organizations speak out about the system that many approve of as practical and timely-and others condemn as misguided and a failure of humanity. 2-part series, 29 minutes each.

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