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Starless Dreams

"A stark testimonial of the previously unseen and unheard, Starless Dreams plunges into the lives of young teenage girls sharing temporary quarters at a rehabilitation and correction center on the outskirts of Tehran"--Container.
Clemons (Stacks)

Exploring Alternatives to Prison and Probation

When judges pass sentence on convicted criminals, they generally have only two available options: put the offender into prison or put him back on the street with a term of probation. And while, in some cases, these options are sufficient, problems like prison overcrowding, "revolving door" justice, and the high incidence of repeat offenses have caused many people to feel that prison and probation just aren t sufficient tools to do the job. The question is: what would be? This film attempts to answer that question by looking at a range of innovative solutions being tried around the country. We visit five alternative sentencing programs including one in which offenders must perform community service, one which has criminals paying restitution to their victims, and a house arrest progra [...]

Life Behind Bars [electronic resource]

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.
2006; 1999

Kids Behind Bars [electronic resource]

Too young to drive, but old enough to kill. What happens to children convicted of felonies? How and where are they incarcerated? Can they be helped? And does their punishment really fit their crimes? In this program, judges, legal counsel, law enforcement officers, academic experts from Emory and Rutgers Universities, the Director of the Institute for Minority Health Research, and others examine the trend in the U.S. toward trying children as adults and discuss efforts being made to understand their violent behavior.
2006; 1999

Hard Time [electronic resource]: Teens in Maximum Security Prisons

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.
2006; 1999

Prison Gangs and Racism Behind Bars [electronic resource]

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.
2007; 1998

Rethinking the Death Penalty [electronic resource]

Some mistakes are fixable. Wrongful conviction and subsequent execution is not. In this program, ABC News correspondent John Donvan traces the history of the death penalty in the U.S. since 1935 while capturing the views of George W. Bush and Illinois governor George Ryan. Then, Gerald Kogan, former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, and Dudley Sharp, director of Justice for All, join anchor Chris Wallace to discuss the use of DNA evidence to overturn death penalty convictions and to debate whether America's criminal justice system is functioning or failing.
2007; 2000

Supermax, a Prison Within a Prison [electronic resource]

Totally isolated from the outer world and deprived of virtually all forms of meaningful activity and social contact, inmates idle away their years in a limbo of concrete, steel, fluorescent light, and little else. In part one of this program, convicts speak out as ABC News anchor Ted Koppel explores solitary confinement in today's super-maximum security prisons, the quarters of men too violent or uncooperative for incarceration anywhere else. In part two, prison staff reveal their experiences with this harsh system as Mr. Koppel investigates the skyrocketing demand for correctional officers that has led to abbreviated training regimens and a decline in proficiency standards.
2007; 1998

Missouri's Different Approach to Juvenile Justice [electronic resource]

In Missouri, a different method of juvenile detention has seen surprisingly successful results, trading in orange jumpsuits and cell blocks for therapists and dorm rooms. This edition of Primetime spends a year with the hard-core offenders at Waverly Regional Youth Center and Rosa Parks Center to see how a combination of nurturing and discipline are transforming inmates into potentially productive members of society-and for half the average national cost of juvenile incarceration. Provided with a strict and stable environment for perhaps the first time in their lives, these damaged young convicts are coming to terms with their past so they can pursue a better future.
2010; 2009

Death Row Kids [electronic resource]

They think we're beasts. So says a condemned murderer, succinctly expressing the view of many Americans. But this killer committed his crime when he was 17, and asks for compassion on those grounds. Filmed prior to the March 1, 2005, U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution for underage offenses, Death Row Kids tells the stories of confused and frightened young people awaiting the ultimate penalty. The program also alludes to medical findings that a 17-year-old's brain lacks fully developed decision-making capabilities. The result is a provocative inquiry into complex issues of personal responsibility and the likelihood of criminal rehabilitation.

The Worst Offenders [electronic resource]: Can They Change?

Those who prey upon children for sex have committed crimes so abhorrent that most of us would like to lock them away for life. But in some cases, an offender can be rehabilitated-and, in the process, provide insight into the predator's mind. This program goes inside a pedophile's distorted thought patterns while showing how expert psychological treatment, combined with blunt feedback from fellow offenders, can help bring such criminals out of denial and curb their deviant behavior. Following a professional actor who, using real criminal profiles, takes on the psyche of a child sex offender, the film examines Rolleston Prison's groundbreaking Kia Marama rehabilitation unit in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Making a Comeback? [electronic resource]: The Fight Against Recidivism

Marshall Allen is just one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who leave state or federal prisons and return to their home communities each year. He is typical of the majority of convicts in the U.S. in that he served time on a drug charge-in his case, possession of crack cocaine. He is also not unusual in the failure of his first attempt to make it on the outside. But a second term behind bars has hardened his resolve to succeed. This ABC News program illustrates the hurdles and hardships facing paroled felons through the story of one man, a nonviolent offender who, like so many others, is trying to salvage what remains of his life.
2011; 2002

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Supermax, the Baddest of the Bad

Minnesota's Oak Park Heights represents a new breed of prison called Supermax, reserved for only the most dangerous, incorrigible offenders-many of whom are kept on semi-permanent lockdown. As a means of reducing tension, Oak Park Heights has developed a plan that allows many of these deadly criminals to leave their cells during the day-if they behave. This program shows how the facility's resident murderers, rapists, and arsonists respond to the narrowest sliver of freedom.
2010; 2006

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Gang Wars-Inside Pelican Bay State Prison

When other California prisons can't handle their most violent gang members, they send them to Pelican Bay State Prison. This program takes viewers inside the notorious facility. From here, leaders of gangs such as Nuestra Familia, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Guerillas, and the Nazi Low Riders smuggle orders to lieutenants on the streets. These operatives, in turn, handle everything from drug-distribution businesses to assassinations-including hits taken out on gang rivals or even prosecutors.
2010; 2006

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Predators Behind Bars

As leader of the Crips, the most powerful gang in Ohio's Lebanon Correctional Institution, Diedreikus Albert has mastered the prison system, turning it to his own advantage. This program follows the inmate through his daily life at the facility. With no respect for the law and little remorse for the senseless killing that landed him behind bars, Albert is doing time his way. He allows viewers inside the mind of a career criminal, showing how convicts get away with, among other things, smuggling drugs and weapons inside prison walls.
2010; 2006

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Wyoming State Penitentiary

Facing severe understaffing and overcrowding, Wyoming State Penitentiary has gone to extreme measures, enlisting prospective officers from economically depressed areas across the United States. Unfortunately, these raw recruits tend to have one thing in common: a complete lack of law-enforcement experience. This program follows three new hires into the crucible where they face the challenges of officer training, inmate hostility, and the psychological stress that inevitably results from working in a potentially lethal environment.
2010; 2007

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Tent City

A few years after he became sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joseph Arpaio reinstituted the use of convict chain gangs. He also found a way around the problem of prison overcrowding-with military-surplus tents and security fences. This program goes inside Arpaio's pride and joy, known as Tent City, where summer temperatures top 130 degrees and drop well below freezing on some winter nights. The scenes that take place here and on Arpaio's chain gang epitomize a detention industry in which cost-saving, primitive conditions are gaining favor.
2010; 2007

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Ironwood State Prison

Located in the California desert, Ironwood Correctional Facility is a series of extremes. This program explores the overcrowded, understaffed prison, which is subject to brutally hot summers and powder-keg tensions. But a group of inmates among the population of 4,800 are dedicated to self-improvement, attending classes in the face of menacing opposition from gang members. When riots erupt in the withering 112-degree heat, many of the prison's 81 student inmates must make critical decisions that will affect their lives both inside and outside the prison walls.
2010; 2007

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Fort Dodge

In the state of Iowa, offenders aged 18 to 26 are kept separate from the hardened adult prison population. This program profiles Fort Dodge, a correctional center supposedly free of the worst criminal influences. But even in medium-security conditions, 1,100 cohabitating convicts veer toward everything from foolishness to gang violence. With the look of a high school, Fort Dodge juggles a mix of juveniles, racially aligned gangs, and lower functioning inmates-all on the same yard. Getting transferred to the state's maximum-security prison is all too easy.
2010; 2007

Lockdown [electronic resource]: Multnomah County Detention Center

Every day the Portland Police dragnet pulls in more thieves, drug dealers, and addicts from the most populated county in the state of Oregon. This program goes inside the Portland jail, which isn't just running out of room-it ran out a long time ago. With approximately 3,500 new bookings per month, or more than 100 bookings per day, the 700-capacity center lacks the space, the staff, and the resources to accommodate all of its prisoners. Each day, those with minor infractions are released to make room for the serious offenders.
2010; 2007