America’s Brutal Prisons on

A documentary from 2005 and runs a trim 49 minutes. America’s Brutal Prisons, directed by Nick London, goes a long way towards proving the argument that little rehabilitation goes on inside prison. They are a place in which brutality and inhumane treatment are de rigeur.

While the Abu Ghraib prison torture reveal did shock many, what they really should concentrate on or realize is that the same or similar stuff is happening in prisons across the United States.

The often violent lives that those in prison faced in the outside world follows them into prison. Some of it is prisoner on prisoner, but a shocking amount is guard on prisoner. Abusive behaviour and even torture faces some prisoners.

Here we look at prisons in Texas, Florida and California. The more we learn the more we realize that the abuse is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on forever, so much so that it has become an ingrained part of prisons all over the country.

Rehabilitation is what is supposed to happen while prisoners are serving out their sentences. Prescious little of that happens. What does happen is punishment. Guards physically abuse prisoners. So instead of learning that violence is not the way it is literally beaten into prisoners that it is a part of life.

We get interviews and video from prison surveillance cameras and the guards themselves which shows guards using stun guns, tasers, dangerous restraining devices, dogs trained to attack, chemical sprays, and just plain old beatings on prisoners. Hard to watch. Much of it comes as a result of small infractions or for no damn reason.

These prison guards have turned over the video footage as they can no longer take it. No longer stand by as inmates are beaten for no reason. No longer tolerate that this kind of treatment is tolerated. Now all of us who have seen America’s Brutal Prisons (and don’t think this is not happening in Canada and around the world) cannot sit back and demand change or we are also part of the problem.

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