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Three Free Prison Documentaries

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Free Resource (#541) - April 17th, 2008
Today's Resource of the Day

American RadioWorks creates audio documentaries on a number of social and political issues. They've created three documentaries about prisons in America. Here are the three they're offering:

Corrections, Inc.

This documentary explores the prison industrial complex which has become a $50 billion-a-year industry. It examines the tough laws which the corrections industry lobbies for. It also looks at asset forfeiture by cops in the case of drug arrests and how it leads to practices which seek to maximize seized money through increasing drug arrests. And finally it looks at the powerful California's Prison Guards union which lobbies for stiff penalties such as California's Three Strikes laws.

Locked Down: Gangs in the Supermax

This documentary looks at prison gangs and the resilience of gang leaders who seek to conduct gang activity from behind bars. Despite solitary confinement and many other depravations, gang leaders still manage to communicate what should be done in relation to their gangs and are viewed as heroes by many of their gang members.

Hard Time: Life After Prison

This documentary looks at life for the 600,000 inmates that are released from prison each year in America. It follows how life after prison affects the ability to get a job, the toll prison has taken on family life, and many other aspects of life after prison.

These documentaries are available on streaming audio through American RadioWorks site, and are now available on audio download through iTunes U.

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Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town

Early one morning in the summer of 1999 authorities in the tiny west Texas town of Tulia began a roundup of suspected drug dealers. By the time the sweep was done, over forty people had been arrested and one of every five black adults in town was behind bars, all accused of dealing cocaine to the same undercover officer, Tom Coleman. Coleman, the son of a well-known Texas Ranger, was named Officer of the Year in Texas. Not until after the trials--in which Coleman's uncorroborated testimony secured sentences as long as 361 years--did it become apparent that Tom Coleman was not the man he claimed to be. Tulia is the story of this town, the bust, the trials, and the heroic legal battle to reverse the convictions that caught the attention of the nation in the spring of 2003. With a sure sense of history and of place, a great feel for the characters involved, and showdowns inside the courtroom and out. Blakeslee's Tulia is contemporary journalism at its finest, and a thrilling read. The scandal changed the way narcotics enforcement is done in Texas, and has put the national drug war on trial at a time when incarceration rates in this country have never been higher. But the story is much bigger than the tale of just one bust. As Tulia makes clear, these events are the latest chapter in a story with themes as old as the country itself. It is a marvelously well-told tale about injustice, race, poverty, hysteria, desperation, and doing the right thing in America.

Available on MP3 Download.

Listen to a free sample of: Tulia

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