Prison

Weather Underground, The

"I think that part of the Weathermen phenomena that was right was our understanding of what the position of the United States is in the world. It was this knowledge that we just couldn't handle, it was too big, we didn't know what to do. In a way, I still don't know what to do with this knowledge. I don't know what needs to be done now and it's still eating at me just as it did 30 years ago." -Mark Rudd Fueled by outrage over racism and the Vietnam War, the Weather Underground waged a low-level war against the government throughout much of the 1970s—bombing the Capitol building, breaking Timothy Leary ...

War On Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex, The

"It’s self perpetuating in a number of ways and one is, in a real war, it’s the military that is in fact taking the casualties. In this war, the people conducting the war – the police, the prosecutors, the courts – never suffer the consequences. They aren’t taking the casualties, it’s the general public which is taking casualties and the police and the prosecutors are only benefiting in the war in the sense they get better budgets." The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a ...

Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment

"It's important not to think of this as prisoner and guard in a real prison. The important issue is the metaphor prisoner and guard. What does it mean to be a prisoner? What does it mean to be a guard? And the guard is somebody who limits the freedom of someone else, uses the power in their role to control and dominate someone else, and that's what this study is about." In the summer of 1971, Philip Zimbardo, Craig Haney, and Curtis Banks carried out a psychological experiment to test a simple question. What happens when you put good people in an evil place-does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? To explore this question, college student volunteers were pretested ...

Prisoners of Katrina

"We were just left there to die." –Cardell Williams, a prisoner who spent two months in jail without ever being charged. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while thousands fled New Orleans, the city's prisoners were trapped. Fresh eye-witness accounts reveal what really happened to those left behind, and how crucial forensic evidence was simply washed away. In September 2005, long after most people had fled a devastated city, inmates of Orleans Parish Prison - many of them shackled - were still waiting to be rescued from the blazing heat and the stinking floods. "They basically abandoned the prison," says Vincent Norman, a chef arrested for an unpaid fine who found himself locked in a cell for days. Norman should have been ...

Power of the Situation

"Social situations significantly control individual behavior. For Lewin, human behavior is always a function of the individual and the social environment. This means that the best and worst of human nature can be brought out by manipulating some aspects of the social environment." In the early 1970s, Craig Haney, Curt Banks, Carlo Prescott, and Philip Zimbardo conducted a landmark situational study at Stanford University. The experiment tested the fundamental attribution error: our tendency to attribute causes of behavior to personal factors, underestimating the influence of situational conditions. For this study, a small group of college students volunteered to be subjects and were carefully tested for sound psychological and physical health. Half of the students were randomly selected to act as prisoners, the ...

Gitmo: The New Rules of War

"In the wake of the 9/11 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States opened a prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The hundreds of prisoners believed to be detained there are not afforded prisoners of war status according to the Geneva Convention. They are labeled unlawful combatants, held indefinitely with no right to a lawyer or a trial." Gitmo: The new rules of war is a Swedish documentary about the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base by Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh. Features interviews with Janis Karpinski, Mehdi Ghezali and Geoffrey Miller (MG), among others. Gitmo premiered at IDFA in 2005, and reached mainstream theaters in Sweden on February 10, 2006. In 2003, a year after Swedish citizen Mehdi ...

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

"There is no such thing as a little bit of torture." –Alfred W. McCoy The familiar and disturbing pictures of torture at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison raise many troubling questions: How did torture become an accepted practice at Abu Ghraib? Did U.S. government policies make it possible? How much damage has the aftermath of Abu Ghraib had on America's credibility as a defender of freedom and human rights around the world? Acclaimed filmmaker Rory Kennedy (HBO's "Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable") looks beyond the headlines to investigate the psychological and political context in which torture occurred when the powerful documentary GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB. "How could ordinary American soldiers come to engage in such monstrous acts?" Kennedy asks. "What policies were put into ...