Prison State (full documentary) | FRONTLINE



This 2014 documentary takes an intimate look at the cycle of incarceration in America, and one state’s effort to reverse the trend.

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More than two years in the making, “Prison State” focuses on one troubled housing project in Louisville, Ky., where a large number of residents have been incarcerated. The film follows the lives of four individuals rotating between custody and freedom. Using deep access to the Louisville jail, the film focuses on the efforts of Mark Bolton, the city’s director of corrections, as he tries to move inmates back into the community.

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21 Responses

  1. Artemis Darian says:

    BUILD MORE PRISONS!!!

  2. IanMoone says:

    Kentucky is a prison state

  3. Troy Powers says:

    Crystal says she's in juvenile lockup basically for skipping school.I know you're in there for not listening to the court order. She had her chances

  4. Adan Sid says:

    Damn this documentary is scary but it's reality

  5. Silk Oak Ranch Pitchfork Ranch says:

    The truest prison state? Oklahoma

  6. Emina Mirovic says:

    FRONT LINE BPS come to Slovenija Croatia And make here how do whit children and addict…people be suprised

  7. Emina Mirovic says:

    Do it like Slovenija or croatia…. Its better…addicts get methadon all life and u dont go to jail….we have comunity for rehab…werry good sistem…im glade ewery state can take whats good from other….

  8. Chikush Odiz says:

    Duck the us government for exploiting us citizens and lying to our troops and citizens America is the most hated because of what America has done and continue to do

  9. Chikush Odiz says:

    We as a society have failed on the youth in the young on the adults on the older people on veterans on nature on wildlife America is the devil and is not allowing earth to flourish

  10. HotHand069 says:

    I've read all the comments below and I respect each and every one. We're all entitled to our personal opinion here. I've worked as a prison guard for 12 years and I've witnessed the horrors of prison life with my own eyes. It's like I do time with them as as I see them everyday, talk to them and see the conditions in which they live and know of their day to day involvements. People with a more mellow nature will develop a violent nature as that's what prison life does. It can't be avoided. A head strong person usually will get bashed if they don't succumb to the pressures of their peers. The prison codes need to be respected. If the Country wisely spent money for mental health facilities for prisoners, that will solve alot of unnecessary violence and hardships for prisons and individuals. Drug addicts with no prison history are being dumped into prisons just to get them off the streets and out of rehab centres. They need to be in an environment which isn't violent where they are receiving assistance for their addiction. Addiction is a disability and addicts shouldn't be dumped in prison. Prison are for criminals only. Murderers and rapists belong in prison and for people who have done brutal and violent acts upon others. Unfortunately, the Vet who is in for burglary commited a crime and he's punished for it. Although he served the country, he still committed a crime of burglary. People work very hard for their possessions and when someone comes along and steals it, it's a felon – no matter who or what you are. His mental issues have never been dealt with and this is where the nation has failed him. He served the country and has seen violence all around him which affected him mentally and he received no assistance for it. This is very sad. Most criminals have mental issues this is why they end up in prison. Prison is NO ones destiny, even if most family members are locked up. We all have choices in life and no one puts a gun to our head to walk the wrong path. Prison is in NO ones DNA. As we grow – monkey see, monkey do. We are nurtured by the environment and people around us and if we are born and raised in a hostile environment, that is all we know. It's not our fault, this is the way of what our eyes see, what our ears hear and what our brains think. I've known many good and intelligent prisoners and they ended up in prison just because of their hostile environment and upbringing. Four siblings, 3 ended up in prison (what I've experienced). In prison there is a code and prisoners must abide by that code to stay alive. Guards have their codes and prisoners have theirs. In prison there is alot of pressure by peers and if the prisoner does not succumb to that pressure, they will get hurt. Demetria has been mentally raped by the violence of her surroundings since birth. Her mental issues have been addressed and she needs medication for life. Having a mental illness raised in a violent lifestyle/environment will take a toll on her perhaps forever. She needs mental therapy and positive people who she can talk to, listen to and to take advice from. Leaving the ghetto will not cure her, she needs to face her demons and tackle them one by one. A fantastic documentary. Thank you for reading my post. Sorry if I've offended anyone. God bless.

  11. Chikush Odiz says:

    We need to start creating rehabilitation centers not prisons especially private prisons which only goal is to get the most inmates even if it’s a petty crime

  12. Ellybean says:

    When someone commits a truly heinous act, and they are sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, they can sit in solitary for the remainder of their life with no human contact, I don't feel bad. There are some truly evil people. If people are on death row, then put them to death already. But inmates who are, going to serve time and be released, sitting in isolation for years with no human contact, it is creating a monster who does not know how to interact in society they are going to be a repeat offender

  13. illumiNaughty _ says:

    America is not only excellent at locking up people, it also keeping them on probation too.

  14. paul tidwell says:

    it drives me insane too how the ideology of personal responsibility blinds people to reality.

    we have too many inmates for those locked up to find jobs when released from employers who see their experience as valuable.

    those waving their hands dismissively about prisons creating crime I have a question for you

    do you honestly expect people released from inside the system who can no longer provide for themselves via legal avenues to choose death?

    No, they will reach out to support themselves with a life of crime. OF COURSE THEY WILL.

    and blaming them for it's ABSURD because it's HUMAN NATURE to try to survive no matter what. IRONIC THEN That you people say SOCIALISM DOESN'T WORK because it conflicts with human nature and then UNIRONICALLY support the prison system even though it doesn't work precisely because it expects humans to be soemthing we aren't

    see the system would prefer that people who are released who can't scratch by with normal jobs find a ditch to starve to death in, but that's not what humans are, humans will try to survive in even the most dire circumtances, so in those dark moments they will contact their prison buddies and start pushing drugs or sex.

  15. Kal K says:

    What's the deal with the bowl of raw hamburger meat? The mom is sitting there lecturing her daughter while spitting in it as she talks and smokes a cigarette.

  16. Shane Culkin says:

    Yep! No prisons. No consequences. Makes sense. LOL

    Y'all are simply crazy people. Remember, liberals are ALL about criminals right, UNTIL it hits THEIR neighborhood. LOL

  17. Shane Culkin says:

    99.5% of criminals in State Prisons are G.U.I.L.T.Y.

    Maybe they should stop committing crimes, huh?!!? Start THERE!

    How is this never obvious to liberal Democrats??? Honestly

  18. Shane Culkin says:

    So schools should stop having zero tolerance policies..????

    These liberals are nuts, as usual. All of this criminal loving stops once we start talking about THEIR Neighborhoods. LOL. Liberal hypocrites. Typical, really

  19. J Dasko says:

    Some places won’t hire that is fairly true. But most places hire felons because we’re the only ones who wanna work these days. I just got off parole Monday after ten years on.

  20. ETHARNYUS THRONE says:

    MCDUFFY BEST CHARACTER. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH

  21. XVG-VERGE MOON says:

    The first problem…. These adults SHOULD NOT BE HAVING KIDS.
    Now, they e had about 9 kids… I have to pay for their food stamps and healthcare and Obamaphones.
    On top of that, they can’t get through their damn skulls the system works if they don’t break the law.
    My solution…. Stop enabling these clowns.

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