America's Hardest Prisons is a TV Series screening on the National Geographic
Channel. It bases its series around the "hardest prisons" in America including
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana.
Reality television at its rawest and most confronting. Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana, USA, is a maximum security prison where the worst criminal offenders are kept. The series shadows the prisoners, guards, medical staff and visitors to the facility, capturing violent outbursts, intimate moments, tense situations and the constant struggle for order. Nurse Marla Gadberry cops verbal abuse, sexual taunts and human waste as she does her rounds. Tension is high as the deadline for an inmate's threat to kill himself draws close. The stabbing of a child killer in the yard by prisoners close to a white supremacy group is investigated and the cameras confront one of the attackers involved in this chilling incident. There's also the high octane machismo and grunt of the annual weight lifting competition as inmates battle to achieve the title of the prison's strongest man. This night of nights is disrupted when an inmate is overpowered by guards outside the gym when he refused to return to his cell. Life in America's Hardest Prisons is anything but dull.
The violent reality of life in prison is an ever present companion to guards and prisoners alike at Wabash Valley. The prison's top cop, Internal Affairs boss Don Tyler, takes viewers on a confronting journey as he reveals the brutal reality of life in the inside. A nurse is smashed in the face by a manacled prisoner in a shocking attack that reveals just how dangerous this prison is. One of the guards has also been attacked by three knife-wielding inmates and narrowly escaped with his life. The prison's Intelligence Chief meanwhile, is investigating a fight fuelled by racial tensions between an Aryan Brotherhood member and an African American prisoner. There are death threats in the air as the inmates involved tell of the harsh realities of surviving in this environment. Inmate Charles Burton on the other hand is trying to get thousands of dollars in a settlement with the prison's lawyer for the confiscation of his prized religious icon a painted bug.
A massive shakedown is caught on camera. Prisoners are shown being marched from their cells in their underwear as a complete shut down of the prison's Secured Housing Unit - the SHU - is imposed when a kitchen utensil goes missing. A disturbed prisoner needs to be forcibly sedated after opening a stomach wound and another prisoner is extracted from his cell under duress after blocking his toilet and flooding the cell range. Life at Wabash Valley is never dull with a marriage behind bars and a rehabilitation program where drug addicts are encouraged to shake off their demons. A prisoner is also busted on camera for possessing tobacco which is banned in the facility. It soon becomes clear that tobacco smuggling on the inside is more lucrative than drug trafficking.
A female visitor is busted on camera for trying to smuggle drugs into the prison. Tensions are on edge as state troopers arrive at the prison to help lay the trap for the drug sting and the drama mounts as the officers move in for the bust. Investigate life in the prison's psychiatric unit as a schizophrenic double murderer breaks down on camera over his troubled love life. The institution's attempts to stabilise the lives of its most mentally disturbed inmates is explored in this dramatic episode with compelling moments. Meet Joseph Garner who cut his father's throat and ate his brains in a revenge killing for the sexual abuse he endured as a child. The harrowing message of these tales is off-set by the cheeky confidence of former car salesman turned cocaine trafficker, Randy Collins, who managed to get himself released from prison 20 years before his time was up. We also meet the former State Prosecutor jailed for 30 years amongst the very people he helped put away in this confronting look at life in a maximum security prison.
Lockdown: Inside Maximum Security
Minnesota's Oak Park Heights is part of a new breed of prison called Supermax. This state-of-the-art fortress houses criminals other prisons can't handle. Built partially underground, the Supermax combines innovative architecture, cutting-edge technology and an expertly-trained staff to control some of the most violent prisoners in the system. But the system's most dangerous inmates are always looking for ways to fight back, and their criminal ingenuity puts the Supermax to the test.
Predators Behind bars
Gang leader Diedreikus Albert has been in the US prison system for more than a decade and is now doing time in Lebanon, Ohio. With no respect for the law and no remorse for the cold-hearted killing that landed him in the big house, Albert is doing time his way. Enter the mind of a career criminal and leader of the prison's most powerful gang, to see how convicts fuel the cycle of violence and alleviate boredom by smuggling drugs and weapons behind prison walls.
When other Californian prisons can't handle their most violent gang members, they send them to Pelican Bay State Prison. 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 - from running drug businesses to ordering hits and assassinations of gang rivals, even prosecutors.
Formally know as the Justice Prisoner Alien Transportation System or JPATS - prisoners and guards alike call it Con Air. With a US$75 million budget and nearly a dozen planes, this secretive Federal System run by the US Marshals is just like a private airline, with flight crews, hangars and hubs in Kansas and Oklahoma. Con Air takes a ride with prisoners doing time in the sky. Buckle in for a ride in a flying penitentiary carrying over 130 dangerous prisoners at 30 thousand feet. Find out why some prisoners like Terri Nichols, Timothy McVeigh and John Gotti get their own, very tense, private flights - complete with head-to-toe restraints and a mask to prevent them from biting guards. Unlike the action movie of the same name, Con Air works like a normal flight. But, burly guards have replaced the flight attendants, the passengers are all in chains, and there is definitely no movie on this flight.