Mother Jones Reporter Goes Undercover in Private CCA Prison

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard

Mother Jones (2016)

Film Review

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard is a troubling documentary about a Mother Jones senior reporter who goes undercover to work as a prison guard in a private Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) prison in Winnfield Louisiana. The film mostly consists of Shane Bauer’s video diary and interviews with other prison staff and former inmates. Cameraman James West, who attempted to film outside the prison, was arrested by sheriff’s officers for criminal trespass.

Filmmakers mainly focus on the extremely demoralizing working conditions. Entry level guards earn $9 an hour – even in Winn this is insufficient to live on. Working conditions are incredibly dangerous. To save money (and increase profits), CCA keeps staff numbers low, which means there are rarely sufficient security personnel to cope with inmate violence. In fact, guards at Winn Correctional Center are trained not to intervene in shank fights, which are a routine occurrence.

The failure to provide adequate food or medical or mental health care for inmates is even more shocking. Bauer highlights the case of a diabetic inmate who had to have several fingers and both legs amputated for gangrene because prison authorities refused to get medical attention for him.

Parts 2-6 start automatically when Part 1 ends.

Read accompanying article at My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard