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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)

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: David R. Dow - Lessons From Death Row Inmates

What happens before a murder? In looking for ways to reduce death penalty cases, David R. Dow realized that a surprising number of death row inmates have had similar biographies. In this TEDTalk he proposes a bold plan - one that prevents murders in the first place. Death penalty lawyer David R. Dow has defended more than 100 death row inmates in 20 years.

Solitary Confinement [electronic resource]: No Way Out of the Monster Factory

Across the United States, approximately 80,000 inmates are locked down in solitary confinement. The practice has led to Congressional hearings, UN reports, and even prison hunger strikes. Is solitary inhumane-and even a form of torture? In this ABC News program, reporter Dan Harris volunteers to spend 48 hours "in the hole" at Denver County Jail in an effort to find out. Over the course of his brief but intense incarceration, Harris has to cope with a total lack of privacy, lights that stay on 24/7 for security reasons, barely edible food, and a previously unimaginable level of boredom. "The worst part is the screaming," says Harris. "The sounds of my fellow inmates losing their minds was incredibly unsettling.

Prison Rape [electronic resource]: Part of the Punishment?

Kerry Max Cook was raped for 13 years while in prison; that DNA testing eventually proved he was innocent is almost incidental. In this program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel reports on prison rape, a rampant phenomenon in American correctional facilities and a violation of civil rights that much of the public sloughs off as part of criminal justice. Interviews with Mr. Cook and other former prisoners reveal how, with the threat of AIDS, a prison sentence can mean a death sentence. Mr. Koppel discusses the issue with a panel of guests including Donna Brorby, lead counsel in a class action suit filed by Texas inmates, and former prison officials Ted Conover and Michael McLaughlin, both of whom have written books about their experiences.

Turned Out [electronic resource]: Sexual Assault Behind Bars

Narrated by Danny Trejo, Turned Out looks beyond the shock and inhumanity of prison rape to the intricate social hierarchy that keeps it alive. Filmmaker Jonathan Schwartz went deep inside Alabama's infamous Limestone Correctional Facility to uncover the long-term causes and consequences of prison rape. With a startling lack of inhibition, five inmates reveal the workings of an elaborate inner society. In Limestone, sex is the gold standard: men sell their bodies for bags of coffee or chips, and makeshift families are cobbled together out of fear and cautious love. Turned Out is the first documentary to capture prison life with the clarity of high-definition videography-and given the recent and severe prohibitions on filming inside many state prisons, it may well be one of the last.

Follow Me Down [electronic resource]: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians

The old work songs have disappeared from southern prisons, yet a rich musical culture endures. Picking up where folklorist Alan Lomax left off, this documentary visits three Louisiana prisons to explore the role of music in the lives of incarcerated men and women. Filmmaker and ethnomusicologist Ben Harbert captures compelling gospel, rap, and R&B performances in a variety of settings, while his interviews with inmate-musicians-some newcomers, some long-timers, some set for release-provide a glimpse into the psychological aspects of an individual's prison experience. Most of the people Harbert speaks with reveal vulnerability and regret, along with a keen appreciation for the restorative powers of music. "I've been incarcerated for almost fifteen years for armed robbery," says Consue [...]

Visions of Abolition [electronic resource]: From Critical Resistance to a New Way of Life

This two-part documentary presents a critical view of the current prison system from an abolitionist perspective. Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex, the first part, examines the racial and gendered violence of the prison system through the voices of two groups: women caught in the criminal justice system and leading scholars of prison abolition. Abolition: Past, Present, and Future, the second part, documents the recent history of the prison abolition movement through the organizing efforts of Critical Resistance and explores the meaning of abolitionist politics. Interviews with Melissa Burch, Susan Burton, Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Dylan Rodriguez are featured throughout.

Death Row: Part 1 Inside Indiana State Prison [electronic resource]

Trevor McDonald goes inside one of America's most notorious maximum security prisons - Indiana State - where he comes face-to-face with 12 condemned men awaiting execution. In the first of two episodes, Trevor meets Benjamin Ritchie, who faces the death penalty for killing a policeman. Ritchie talks about the moments before his capture and how he felt on hearing the sentence. John Stephenson, who assassinated three people on the orders of a criminal gang, talks about friendships on death row - and survival.

Death Row: Part 2 Inside Indiana State Prison [electronic resource]

Trevor McDonald conducts interviews with prisoners and prison officials in the second of a two-part documentary. He learns about the superintendent's complex relationship with the men on death row over whose executions he will preside. He comes face-to-face with death row inmate Fredrick Baer, convicted of the brutal murders of a mother and her young daughter. In a gripping interview, Baer talks about his life and his crime.

Her Majesty's Prison Part 1 [electronic resource]: Aylesbury

Observational documentary series filmed over five months in the UK's most notorious young offenders institution. HMP Aylesbury houses some of the most dangerous criminals in Britain, including murderers, rapists, violent gang members and pedophiles.

Her Majesty's Prison Part 2 [electronic resource]: Aylesbury

This is the second part of a two-part observational documentary filmed over five months in the UK's most notorious young offenders institution. HMP Aylesbury houses some of the most dangerous criminals in Britain, including murderers, rapists, violent gang members and pedophiles.

Women Behind Bars: Part 1 Life and Death in Indiana [electronic resource]

More women are in prison in America than anywhere else in the world. Follow Trevor McDonald in this first part of a two-part documentary as he ventures inside two jails that hold some of America's most notorious women criminals, Indiana Women's Prison and the state's Rockville Correctional Facility. Trevor witnesses a world of seduction and manipulation as inmates prey on each other and those who guard them.

Women Behind Bars: Part 2 Life and Death in Indiana [electronic resource]

In the second of a two-part documentary, Trevor McDonald ventures inside two jails that hold some of Americas most notorious female criminals - Indiana Women's Prison and Rockville Correctional Facility. McDonald meets a woman who killed her own baby; a woman who escaped and stayed on the run for 35 years, and another who will never be released.

Solitary Confinement [electronic resource]

Inside the walls of the supermax prisons, America's fortresses of punishment, a growing number of inmates are spending 23 hours a day, seven days a week, locked alone inside cells that measure a mere 80 square feet. This edition of Investigative Reports examines the use of solitary confinement in supermax prisons by going inside the grim walls of Arizona State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison. The question that emerges is clear: does confinement in these circumstances constitute cruel and unusual punishment? Even with the help of psychologists, prison instructors, activists, and mental health experts, the answer remains elusive.

Parole Problems [electronic resource]: Crime and Punishment

In 1994, voters sent a clear message to Congress: focus on punishment through harsher and longer sentences. But since even a life sentence does not necessarily translate into a life behind bars, society is expected to assimilate paroled ex-convicts who have had little or no rehabilitation. In this program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel examines the case of James Pope III-sentenced on two counts of murder and armed robbery, but eligible for parole in the future. To understand the vital importance of work programs and recreational facilities to the mental stability of inmates, Mr. Koppel also investigates rehab efforts at Central Prison in Raleigh, a maximum security lockup.

Witness to Execution [electronic resource]: Capital Punishment

In an era when no other industrialized Western nation enforces a death penalty, America has executed an average of 39 convicts per year over the past decade. Is it a just punishment? Is it even a deterrent? In this Emmy Award-winning program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel seeks to understand the paradoxical nature of the death penalty-not in theory, but in practice, as he follows Mario Marquez from Death Row to his execution, along with Marquez' attorney and the prison chaplain. "As we left the death house on the way back to our own lives, there was absolute silence. If I had been expecting a moment of revelation, it did not come," said Mr. Koppel.

Judgment at Midnight [electronic resource]

This program enters a world rarely seen: the world of an inmate waiting to die and of a prison preparing to execute him. The program, reported by ABC News correspondent Cynthia McFadden, takes viewers from the cellblock, to the execution chamber, to preparation of the lethal injection, and into the mind of inmate Antonio James as he prepares to pay the ultimate price for his crimes. The program offers a real-life portrait, putting a human face on the controversial issue of capital punishment, as it chronicles both the angry voices of the victims' families and the touching moments in which the condemned man sees his family for the last time. The program also explores the unusual relationship between the inmate and the warden, who struggles with personal feelings that conflict with his [...]

Death Row U.S.A. [electronic resource]

Huntsville, Texas, a friendly, bucolic university town, is also known as "The Execution Capital of the World." This sobering program takes a close look at both sides of Huntsville, as it profiles deceased inmates Bettie Lou Beets, Billy George Hughes, and Timothy Gribble. Interviews with Huntsville's mayor, prison officials, legal counsel, victims' family members, former inmates, death penalty advocates and opponents, and, only days before his execution, convict Gribble himself offer a broad perspective on the American penal system and prison industry. The program also goes inside the Death House, traveling the same route that inmates follow on their last walk.

Executing the Mentally Ill [electronic resource]

How sane must a convict be to face execution? And is justice served if medicine is forcibly administered so that a convict is sane enough to face the death penalty? The cases of Death Row inmates Horace Kelly and Charles Singleton have severely tried the practical and moral boundaries of capital punishment. In this program, ABC News anchor Forrest Sawyer; Richard Mazer, defense counsel for Kelly; Dr. Paul Applebaum, director of the law and psychiatry program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; and law professor Christopher Slobogin analyze the Kelly and Singleton cases, discussing the legal and ethical implications of the pivotal terms "awareness" and "competence." (22 minutes)