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  • Locked Up In America: Solitary Nation

    If you are looking for a balanced approach to the use of solitary confinement by prisons then this program is for you. The strength of this film is that it presents an excellent look at the extremely difficult working conditions correctional officers face in managing inmates in segregation while it also shows why inmates end up in solitary and how inmates react to this segregation.

    Topics discussed include:

    • the flooding of the unit;
    • extraction of a self-abusive inmate who has seriously cut himself;
    • reasons inmates are housed in segregation--judged too dangerous to be around other people, for their own protection, or for disruptive behavior;
    • passing of notes between cells; cleaning/disinfecting a cell of blood;
    • the use of solitary confinement as reform in the 1800s till it was determined it drove the prisoners mad;
    • the reemergence of segregation in the 1980s to stamp out violence in institutions;
    • states are rethinking use of segregation;
    • senior prison staff concerns about releasing some of extremely dangerous inmates into the general population;
    • inmate manipulation;
    • the mental health unit;
    • tough choices on who to release--leave inmates in too long potential to make them more disturbed, yet move out soon they could endanger staff, other prisoners, or themselves;
    • and the step down unit transferring individuals from solitary to general population-beginning with a lot of restrictions that are reduced as good behavior is exhibited.

    This film contains scenes of self-harm and violence.

  • Podcast: How to Fix America's Solitary Problem

    "Critics say it’s expensive, ineffective and even dangerous, but the U.S. puts more people in prolonged isolation than most other countries in the world. Now, some officials at the state and federal level are beginning to review the practice. FRONTLINE brought together some of these officials for a conversation about the use of solitary confinement in the state and federal prison system today. We wanted to understand what’s happening on the ground, what works, what doesn’t, and what the future looks like for America’s prisons." The corrections professionals involved in this roundtable are Jim Austin, Bob Hood, and Bernie Warner. Topics discussed include: how inmates get placed in segregated housing; litigation resulting in legislative changes; special administrative measures (SAMs); length of stay; release back into the general population; gang influence; and the future.