Directed by Nick London • Documentary • 2005 • 48 minutes
The recent Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal shocked the American public. But they might be even more stunned to discover that strikingly similar violence occurs inside prisons throughout the United States, where prisoners are routinely abused, even tortured, by prison guards.
TORTURE: AMERICA'S BRUTAL PRISONS visits correctional institutions in Texas, Florida and California, uncovering penal systems with deeply ingrained cultures of punishment, rather than rehabilitation.
The film features actual videos recorded by prison surveillance cameras and correction officers themselves, which reveal incidents in which inmates are brutalized, often for minor infractions, with stun guns, tasers, dangerous restraining devices, attack dogs, chemical sprays, and beatings by guards. These disturbing scenes are supplemented by interviews with former prisoners, a warden, a prison doctor, inmates' relatives, attorneys, and footage from a California Senate inquiry and a murder trial of four guards.
Although many prisons denied permission to film inside their facilities, a rare glimpse behind the walls is offered by interviews with former correctional officers who have broken the 'green wall' code of silence and become whistleblowers. They testify about the regular practice of cover-ups of corruption and violence, as well as the brutality and vindictiveness of fellow guards.
This rare look inside our correctional system is a reminder that most of us are not only unaware of what occurs inside America's prisons, but, if truth be told, we are also largely unconcerned with what goes on there. This documentary will hopefully help to awaken the American public conscience about this scandalous and shameful situation.
"Riveting! Disturbing yet fascinating." —Contemporary Justice Review