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Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison     cover image

Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison 2016


Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Kristi Jacobson
Directed by Kristi Jacobson
DVD, color, 89 min.

College - General Adult
Criminal Justice, Mental Health, Social Work, Sociology

Date Entered: 12/19/2018

Reviewed by Rodney Birch, Research Services Librarian, Northwest Nazarene University

Solitary is a rare look at life inside a supermax prison. Inmates sent to Red Onion State Prison are segregated because of violent behavior in lower level security facilities. They spend 23 hours a day in an 8’x10’ cell. The film captures the haunting sounds of the prison, and gives the viewer a look at the daily life of the prisoners as well as those who work with them. Inmate interviews provide perspective on what segregated life is like. For some, that means for life. The men talk candidly about the reasons they are there, the loneliness of housed in isolation, and the individual coping necessary to survive. Prison officers share their experiences of working in the prison, always being on guard, yet knowing the importance of getting to know the inmates and the trigger points for behavior. Additionally, Solitary highlights a program being implemented at the prison focusing on prisoners re-entering society. Yet, even though some inmates participate in the program, they will never be integrated into the general population since they are considered to be too violent. It is a long film, with a heavy subject matter, but it is worth viewing. The film should be part of library collections supporting criminal justice, mental health, social work, and sociology programs.