In Maryland, zero tolerance is the new normal. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who is also warden of Frederick prison, prides himself on a his tough reputation. Here, inmates are dressed in stripped prison uniforms and every aspect of their life is strictly controlled. The Sheriff has invested half a million dollars on this state-of-the-art system, which allows guards to monitor the slightest movements of the prisoners in real time.
But despite the tight regulations, gang leader Blake has found a way around the surveillance. “The Sheriff thinks that they’re in control but they really have no idea”. He claims that some of the guards work for them. A few years ago, in a different jail, his gang was able to set up an alcohol, drug and cell phone trafficking ring with the help of some wardens.
At Jessup, the local women’s prison, mother and daughter Natasha and Chamal are hoping to qualify for early release. They received 20 and 28 year sentences after being involved in a fight that broke a man’s legs. Chamal was just 16 at the time. But in deeply conservative Maryland, clemency is not a vote winner. What chance do they stand?
In Effingham Prison, Georgia, white supremacist gangs rule. Here 80% of the detainees are white - an anomaly in the American prison landscape.More info
70,000 minors are currently in American prisons. How can it be that so many children end up behind bars?More info
One American prison grants us exceptional, 24/7 access. Here, 3/4 of the prisoners have been convicted of violent crimes. How is the prison managed?More info