For decades, the United States has been fixated on incarceration, building prisons and locking up more and more people. But at what cost, and has it really made a difference? FRONTLINE goes to the epicenter of the raging debate about incarceration in America, focusing on the controversial practice of solitary confinement and on new efforts to reduce the prison population, as officials are rethinking what to do with criminals. Award-winning director and producer Dan Edge gives viewers these raw and unforgettable firsthand accounts from prisoners, prison staff, and people whose lives are forever altered by this troubled system.Solitary Nation presents a visceral portrait of life in a solitary-confinement unit in Maine’s maximum-security prison, told through the inmates living in isolation, the officers watching over them, and the new warden who is desperately trying to reform the system.

Prison State takes an intimate look at the cycle of mass incarceration in America and a statewide effort to reverse the trend, following four residents of a housing project in Louisville, Ky., as they cycle in and out of the state’s jails and prisons.


“Locked Up in America” is a look at America’s addiction to incarceration. Building prisons has become a profitable business for putting away poor people who just kept getting in the way. Frontline examines what allows this crap to happen and what it means for the national prison population. If you ever wanted to see what the SHU is like in reality, you get to see it here.

“Prison State” got a little close to home, as the documentary spotlighted a housing project that I used to have to pass when I worked downtown. Most of these people are just staying there until their next prison hitch. Frontline tries to get to what makes the pattern keep happening. I could do an entire essay about it, but I don’t have the time or patience.

The DVD comes with no special features. But, the A/V Quality holds up for both parts. The standard definition transfer works pretty well. The same for the Dolby track. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 07/08/2014

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