Showing posts tagged Compassion

What “life” in prison really means…

The Washington Post has a front page (at least on their iPad version) review of a new documentary called “Serving Life” that airs tonight on the Oprah Winfrey Network. From the trailer, it looks really good. It’s such a tough, but important issue. I filmed a similar story last year (above) called “Dying Inside” with producer, Jeremy Young, and cinematographer, Snorre Wik. We gained access to eight prisons in three states: Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and New York. We interviewed one prisoner who was 100 years old (he has since passed away); gained exclusive access to an entire wing dedicated to inmates with Alzheimers; and witnessed sincere and surprising acts of compassion. Here are a few photos from the journey:

Inmate staring out of his cell at the Dick Conner Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.

Inmate staring out of his cell at the Dick Conner Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.

Convicted child molester at James Crabtree Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.

Elderly Inmates are often victimized by younger, stronger prisoners. Inmates inside Dick Conner Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.

Inmates at Dick Conner Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.

Mary Rowe: convicted murderer, one-time prison escapee, grandmother and published poet. Mabel Bassett Correctional Facility, Oklahoma. 

Inmate, Joseph Harp Correctional Facility.

Stroke victim and inmate, Bobby Moore. Dick Conner Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.

Inmate with Alzheimer’s in Fishkill Correctional Facility, New York. Often when I take a photo of someone I will show them their image on the screen on the back of my camera. The first inmate I did that with in the Alzheimer’s wing got very upset because he didn’t recognize himself. I believe it was partially because of the disease, but also because there are no mirrors allowed in the facility, so he hadn’t seen his reflection in nearly thirty years and didn’t realize how the decades had effected his appearance. 

Willie Prenell. Convicted of first degree murder in 1977. He’s spent most of his life in prison for killing his friend Kieth Thompson in Oklahoma City.

Inmate watching the sunset from the yard at James Crabtree Correctional Facility, Oklahoma.