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tv   Lockup Raw  MSNBC  November 11, 2012 3:00am-4:00am PST

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due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen. "lockup raw." in prison it's said you can do the time or let the time do you. >> i went ballistic, insane. >> we've got guys here 17, 18, their puberty is just now coming. they have a lost tension, they have a lot of energy and they've been locked up since they were 15. that's frustrating these dudes.
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>> on a good day, too much idle time can invite mischief. >> there is a lot of sex in prison. >> they masturbate, curse you out, call you names. >> idle hands is the devil's playground. >> on a bad day too much time can lead to demand. >> i'm making a weapon right now. i'm melting the plastic down into a shape. >> there was a slashing over in badger section. involved hispanics. >> i got into an altercation with my bunky. i ended up stabbing him. >> i found two razors and these can be melted into a real good slashing instrument. >> it's aggressive. it's dangerous. it's violent. >> from the day i stepped in here, i've been looking for a way out. >> the inmates that are here, they're not here for going to church. at kentucky state penitentiary, some inmates can apprentice in an auto body shop.
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at rikers island jail, a bakery churns out nearly 90,000 loaves of bread per week while teaching inmates how to bake. in many of the prisons profiled on "lockup," inmates have opportunities to learn skills that can help them find work on the outside. but all too many spend their time honing skills more suitable to mayhem and murder. >> i stabbed an inmate 12 times over some dope in front of the chow hall. >> i took a knife and stabbed him with it three or four times until he was dead. and then i butchered him with it. >> you find a piece of metal or something, file it down on the concrete. it ain't got to be sharp, it's just got to have a point. put your handle on it and do what you need to do. >> "lockup" crews are regularly
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exposed to the tools of a deadly trade. >> every prison we film in, there's always a shank museum, a place where the authorities display all of the weapons that are confiscated by staff. homemade weapons the inmates have made from bed springs or melted down plastic. they're truly ingenious but deadly as well. >> at california's san quentin state prison, we saw how sophisticated some inmate weaponry can be. this homemade pistol is known as a zip gun. >> this portion is filled with groundup matchups. the two holes here, the inmate inserts a wick, inmate takes a plunger, pokes shrapnel in the open end. pieces of metal, groundup zippers. when the target walks by the cell, may it be an officer,
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inmate, the inmate lights this. when it goes down, strikes the match heads, basically acts like a firecracker and shoots the shrapnel out. >> the majority of inmate-manufactured weapons or shanks, are designed for slashing and stabbing. the ease and with lethal weapons are made is shocking. this san quentin inmate who goes by the name speedy, agreed to show correctional staff and "lockup" cameras just how simple it can be. he starts by using a roll of toilet paper as a crude forge to melt plastic coffee cup lids. >> i'm making a weapon right now. melting this plastic down into a shape. what i'm doing is i'm trying to get a little wad of it to where i have something to work with, you know what i mean? right now what i'm doing, i'm molding. this is like playing with clay.
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what i'm doing is, is i got to get it all to this way like here and then once i get it like this -- i'll show you. >> i think it amazes me how fast it can be made and sometimes who's it's used for. sometimes for us. sometimes for another inmate. >> got to have air going to the bottom of this thing or else it will start smoking real bad. i'm letting it get in the cold water because it hardens it, it makes it stronger. all right. and that is what you are trying to come out with. what you do here, put a tip on it right here, sharpen it down on concrete to where you'd have a piece that -- it's actually -- >> just a matter of minutes.
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this wouldn't even be detected in the metal detector at all. >> no. >> somebody gets to the yard real quick, real quick, use it flush, get it over with. >> you can throw it into somebody's heart, pop a jugular vein, take an eyeball out, and clear the evidence. >> and then clear the evidence. and your work station's clean. >> there was a slashing over in badger section involved hispanics. the hispanics are now in lockdown, actually they've got the entire badger second on lockdown. >> our crew was at san quentin just hours after an inmate was slashed across the faced with a shank. the attacker was identified and put in administrative segregation for questioning, but now the entire cell block is about to be searched for weapons. >> keep your eyes open. keep your ears open. do your normal cell searches, handle your business and be safe. >> a large team of correctional
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officers will search every square inch of their cells. first, all the inmates are removed. first for weapons, then taken out to the yard. >> step over here. >> all right. all right. >> these surprise raids are usually successful in finding weapons. but present a unique challenge for "lockup" crews. >> it is action. it's real action. and the only thing that you have to be careful of you don't want to piss off the cell block. you kind of run the risk of alienating the very guys you're trying to extract stories and cooperation from. we always hope, if there is going to be a raid, that it's toward the end of our tour at the prison. >> but tv crew concerns are the last thing on the minds of these officers. what they uncover can be the
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difference between life and death. >> it's an old joint. you can hide stuff anywhere, like at the i-beams, i'm going to check these, it's just a beam, you walk under it every day, but somebody's walking to the chow hall and a lot of guys know where it is but they're not going to tell because they don't want to get killed. they don't want to get hurt for ratting. >> a short time later officer hamilton and his partner, officer mcgee, make a hit. >> i found two razors that were removed, the blades removed from the disposable razor and these can be melted into a toothbrush handle, used as slashing instruments because those are solid, very sharp razors right there. and it looks like my partner's found another one. >> inmates who make the weapons often claim they're only for self-defense, but actions usually bear a different reality. >> take this, roll up a bunch of
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newspapers, even thicker than this, you got a good spear. we had a good sergeant killed here about 15 years ago. spear made out of that stuff. with a good, sharp point put on it. >> here's an even better one. you can see, this is only rolled up newspaper and rope tied around and how hard that is. if you wanted to put a bed spring right in there and tie it off, it would make an excellent stabbing instrument. you wouldn't think that a rolled up newspaper or magazine would make that good of a handle, but it does. >> don't show this -- don't show this film to the dumb inmates. we don't want to teach them anything that they don't know. next on "lockup raw" -- >> one prisoner's attempt to deal with sexually frustrated inmates all too willing to cross the line. >> indecent exposure is one of the major disciplinary problems. >> when you walk in here,
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they'll try to deliberately hold you at their cell while the guy across masturbates. so, how do you feel about cash back? i would not say i'm into it, but let's see where this goes. [ buzzer ] do you like to travel?
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for some inmates the difference between staying out of trouble or facing disciplinary action is how well they control their sexual desires. >> you got guys in here, 17, 18, young guys that their puberty is just now coming. they're young. they have a lot of tension. they have a lot of energy. and they've been locked up since they're 15. he ain't seen a woman in two years. he ain't touched a woman in three. you see what i'm saying? when a woman comes down the hall, don't matter whether it's a nurse, she can look like a alley bat, it doesn't matter. the thing on their mind is female. man, let's do this thing.
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>> at the home and correctional facility in alabama, we found that inmates had their own method and slang for releasing pent-up sexual tension. >> the prison term for is gun it. when you masturbate, the guy pulls the wood out and sees a woman that's a mile away and sees the top of her head and he imagines that he's having sexual relations with her and get off on it. >> the female officers are often on the receiving end of this unwanted attention. >> they masturbate. they'll curse you out, call you all types of names or when you walk on the tier, they'll deliberately try to hold you at their cell while the guy across masturbates. me being a female i see it more than male officers probably. >> the problem is so pervasive, the regulation banning it is known prison wide about. >> rule violation number 38, indecent exposure/exhibitionism.
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that's the inmate that's masturbating. it was really, really bad when i got here in 1998. i mean, it was horrible. >> indecent exposure is one of our major disciplinary problems. >> when warden grant culliver arrived at holman in 2002, he instituted zero tolerance policy for violations of rule 38. >> a sign of disrespect. and not only disrespect to those officers because they know the environment they're coming into, but you know it's disrespectful to expose yourself even to the man standing next to you. >> inmate johnson ivan black, 206812, standing behind the old jail door with half his body showing fully exposed masturbating while watching officer bonds. do you understand these charges? >> yes, sir. >> you wish to plead guilty or not guilty? >> not guilty. >> during our shoot at holman,
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inmate ivan johnson faced disciplinary hearing for a rule 38 charge. >> i looked up to the main count, j-3 standing at the door with his body halfway behind it and he was fully exposed and he was masturbating. >> i was not exposed nor masturbating watching officer barnes. i stepped outside the old jail with an associate whom i was horse playing with. i never saw miss barnes because my attention was not focused on the officer. but i wasn't disrespecting miss barnes by exposing myself or masturbating or watching her. >> johnson, however, is no stranger to rule 38. >> he's got 39 disciplinaries total in his file. many of those disciplinaries are for a violation of rule 38, indecent exposure. he has a history of it. >> despite his denial, johnson is quickly found guilty of his charge.
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>> officer barnes has no reason to lie about this. i'll give you 45 days disciplinary segregation. >> solitary confinement is only the first half of the prison's disciplinary action for rule 38 violators. >> they have to go through the class, make the guys think about the behavior. it's a deviant behavior. we trying to help guys change their deviant behavior. the regular meeting of sexual love addiction anonymous. the only qualification is desire to stop living, love addiction. >> the inmates attending the 12-step meeting opened up to our crew. >> i'm just a man, right? you know what i'm saying. >> you might see a female and she might come by you smelling good so you get that urge and desire that she wants you. >> i've been here 12 years. without touching a woman. being around a woman. it gets to you sometimes.
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feel like you want to blow and go off but that ain't going to help. >> after the meeting inmate lamar flynn tried to explain the behavior to our female producer who had been subjected to rule 38 violations by other inmates numerous times herself during the holman shoot. >> what do you do when there's a woman walking by? what do you actually do, tell me that. >> i look at her and try to undress her with my eyes and imagine what she has on and stuff like that. and she's pretty or sexy or appear to me and stuff like that. but i never got in front of a woman and exposed myself something like that. like, we sitting here talking face -- >> but i'm surrounded by my camera crew doing an interview. what do you think it's like for a woman to be in that position? >> seeing you here a couple times. when i see you, i know guys trying to masturbate off you. when i look, i say it's over with. it's over with.
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>> i realize this is where you guys live for now, this is your home, but it's not a comfortable place to be for a woman. >> yeah, you right. i wouldn't want -- i wouldn't -- i wouldn't want -- i wouldn't want somebody doing me like that because i have a mother and a sister. and i think that's very not appropriate. i never had this problem before until i got here. i'll admit it you. i will admit it. >> what are you going to admit to? >> i'll admit, i masturbate. like i said i'll go to the commode, stuff like that, but i never ain't going to get in front of a female like that and you and come up and do that. no, that's not me. >> for the officers who watch over these inmates every day, rule 38 violations are just one more thing to take in stride. >> whether male or female they try see how far they can push your button. they'll gun you down. it's get me so out of whack i have to take prozac or something. i don't play that. if i catch them, i'm going write
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them up and i just don't play that. next on "lockup raw" -- >> seeing jonathan richardson for the first time was kind of shocking. >> an inmate's startling appearance is overshadowed only by his actions behind bars. >> i tried to light myself on fire one time, caused a lot of burns. i made a bonfire, lit my entire cell on fire with me in it. ♪
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the specter of facing decades behind bars affects prisoners in different ways. it leads some to reflection. for others, it's the start of an even deeper downward spiral. that appeared to be the case with an articulate young inmate we met at wabash correctional facility in indiana. but before our crew could really get to know 23-year-old jonathan richardson, they had to get past his appearance. >> seeing jonathan richardson for the first time was kind of shocking.
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you had to wonder what was going through that guy's head to do that to himself. he stood out. >> when i first saw jonathan walking down the corridor it was like, whoa, i've seen some -- some odd-looking dudes in prison, but i think he was one of the oddest. >> richardson is serving a 55-year sentence for a murder he committed at the age of 19. when we met him, he was assigned to the secured housing unit or shu for the violence he committed behind bars. in this never before seen interview, he explains what happened. >> i got into an altercation with my bunky, i ended up stabbing him. he had wanted certain sexual favors. i wasn't that way.
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so i ended up stabbing him, basically to defend myself. >> the inmate survived but richardson has not only directed violence towards others, he has turned it toward himself, as well. >> i have tried to light myself on fire one time. caused a lot of burns. i lost two fingers as well to the right arm. so -- >> may i see? >> sure, if you want. >> how did you try to light yourself on fire? >> i had been thinking about wanting to die and i was off medications so i could go the medication route. no razors are allowed to be bought during a lockdown so i had no razor and i figured the best way to go would be to die by smoke inhalation and burn up myself and i made a bonfire and lit my cell on fire with me in it. i suffered burns to a few other places on my body but my arms were the worst part of it.
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>> and you didn't die. >> no, i survived. >> why do you want to kill yourself? >> i guess sometimes it really seems hopeless being in prison. i mean, i think about the life that i would have liked to have led and a lot of times i realized that a lot of those options are gone to me now. especially when i get out of prison. i mean, it makes you wonder if you want to go on living. i'm accused of murder for my crime. i've always maintained i was innocent for it, but no one's going to view me with innocence when i get out. they'll say okay he was found guilty by a jury of his peers, he's guilty. >> finally the obvious question arose. >> tell me about your makeup and your -- your 'do. >> my hairstyle. >> yes. >> well, i was gothic on the outs. i enjoyed wearing black,
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renaissance clothing and i always painted my face and so forth. and i've always enjoyed that lifestyle because it truly expresses the person i am. i see this as being yin and yang. my dark side, my light side. but i don't view either as being evil. i just view them as different aspects of myself. when i come to prison, one thing i can still do that i'm not letting the system take away from me, it helps remind me that i'm not just an animal behind bars. i'm not just you know locked away for the rest of my life. i can still experience and do a few of the things that make me feel who i am. coming up on "lockup raw" the devil's workshop. >> allegedly involved in a situation in the chapel where he was involved in sexual activity with another inmate. >> when it comes to sex behind bars, not even the chapel is sacred. >> this isn't the first time
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with. here's what's happening. days after election day msnbc saturday officially declared president obama as the winner of florida president it puts 332 for the president, 206 for mitt romney. officials say emails between cia director david petraeus and his biographer were indicative of an extramarital affair. now back to "lockup." due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. most prisons offer religious services but for some inmates, not even the chapel is sacred.
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>> i was down in the chapel, i was down there with another person and i knew that the situation was the wrong place to be. an officer walked by and seen something that looked very inappropriate. >> when we met joseph gilchrist, the openly gay inmate was locked up in administrative segregation at iowa state penitentiary awaiting judgment for his latest transgression. >> what's the charge? >> sexual misconduct. >> inmate gilchrist allegedly involved in a situation in the chapel involved in sexual activity with another inmate. he has a history of this. it's not a great surprise. >> there is a lot of sex in prison. the officers try to deter it as much as possible because of the fact that, it is iowa, it's not the most openly gay state. >> any type of sexual activity between inmates is against our rules. >> it's here. it goes on.
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>> but sex has been a source of trouble for gilchrist. only 20 years old when we met him, he was serving a 40-year sentence on four counts of sexual abuse. >> it was just a mistake i made when i was a kid and i was only 16. but, you know, stuff happened. >> navigating the gay scene behind bars has been another challenge for gilchrist. >> if we hang out together, it's easier for us because we all have that big major thing in common, even though a lot of time it draws more heat to us because when they see gay people running around together, they automatically assume we're having an orgy in the library, you know. >> since the incident in the chapel, gilchrist has been confined to administrative segregation and has lost his work detail. >> i did so good, too. >> sex is a powerful drive. >> it is, especially when you're young.
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it's because that's really the only thing that drives you, especially in here, because i mean, what other kind of pleasure do they get? they take all the drugs out. they take all the fun out of everything. so, you know, sex is the only thing you have. half the time it's not even worth having anyway. it's that 30 seconds, get in, get out. what fun is that anymore? >> a few days before his disciplinary hearing for the chapel incident, gilchrist tries out his line of defense in a progress meeting with officer lawson. >> yesterday you indicated to me you were being discriminated against? >> yes. >> what's that all about? >> every time i'm alone with somebody, i have to go through this, and it's not -- this isn't the first time that it's happened. they just -- they watch me and it just gets annoying. >> checking your reports, i noticed you got a report of the same exact thing almost a year ago to the day. >> yeah. >> in the same place with the
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lights turned down low? >> yes. >> so you're telling us it's just a coincidence? >> it's not. every report i've ever gotten for sexual misconduct has always been the last five days of march. once a year, every year, for three years, it's like, my god. it's terrible. oh, well. i guess they take another blue footed boobie mates in march, so maybe i'm one of those. i'm a hybrid. >> we caught up with gilchrist a few days later, moments before his disciplinary hearing. >> i'm going to see the administrative law judge today. he's probably going to bang me with 90 days. i don't know. he doesn't really like me very much. i've seen him too many times. >> gilchrist was still determined to put on his best face. >> we have to use our tvs as mirrors because they take them from us. they don't like us to look at ourselves in lockup. that's probably the worst part
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about it. you can't see very well in these things either. it sucks. your hair gets messed up and you don't know about it. >> okay. disciplinary report, approximately 9:00 a.m. inmate gilchrist came to the chapel for buddhist services at which time they observed gilchrist and inmate [ bleep ] go to the tv video cabinet to watch religious tapes. i observed gilchrist on his knee and face and hands when [ bleep ] in the crotch area hands rubbing the area and the head was moving back and forth. any comments? >> i am just going to say not guilty. it didn't look like what it was. the video cabinets, he was standing there watching a movie, rewinding it, and i was in the
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bottom half of the cabinet looking at videos we haven't seen and the officer came walking by. and i knew it looked bad. i said there was nothing sexual going on. >> there was nothing sexual going on? >> no. >> you were putting movies away? >> in the bottom half of the cabinet. >> the officer said he saw your head moving back and forth and your hands were in -- >> my hands weren't in his crotch, but we were talking, yeah. i move a lot when i talk. >> all right. any other comments on this? >> no. just that i ask be to somewhat lenient or something because i have been good. >> certainly seems like that there's sufficient evidence that there was something sexual going on so i'm going to find you guilty of violation number 15, sexual misconduct, class b, which can be up to 90 days. i'm going to go with 60, just like you had on the last one, 60
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days disciplinary detention, 60 days earned time. you wish to appeal this decision? >> no. >> no appeal? okay. >> during his 60-day detention, gilchrist will be confined to his cell for 23 hours a day without a television, magazines or other possessions to distract him. >> it kind of pushes the limits on, you know, keeping yourself sane, really. but given what i am, i'll probably do a lot of time in lockup. i'm not going to go back in the closet and say, oh, i'm straight just to stay out of trouble. i came out. i'm gay. it's who i am. they just have to accept me. i'm just going to be who i am and keep going. coming up on "lockup raw: the devil's workshop" -- >> ever since i stepped in there i've been looking for a way out.
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nothing impacts a prison more than an escape. correctional officers take great pride in keeping a facility secure. so when an inmate escapes they take it very personally. and over the years we featured some amazing prison escape stories. >> we found the site of one of america's most infamous prison breaks hidden deep in the mountains of eastern tennessee. ironically the brushy mountain correctional complex is considered one of america's most isolated and escape-proof prisons. >> when you came up the road, you probably noticed how it sits back in the hollow, you know? you got the bluff on one side and it's surrounded by mountains the last stop because the road ends at brushy mountain. and there's -- there's nowhere
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else to go. >> but that didn't stop the prison's most notorious inmate from attempting to escape. in 1977, nine years after he killed civil rights leader martin luther king jr., james earl ray went over the wall. during our shoot at brushy mountain, we met an inmate who was not only there, but tried to talk ray out of it. >> i told him, i said, james, you've got no pickup, no car, i said as soon as your foot touches down they know it's you, there will be a million cops in the valley and no one's going to get away. it's just a futile effort and i don't believe in wasting energy. so i sat and watched it happen. >> james slagle, brushy mountain's longest-serving inmate, told us how ray led inmates over a wall using a makeshift ladder crafted from chains. they made their escape while a tower officer took an afternoon nap. that's your corner where james and doug and spider monkey and
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the others went over. of course the fence was not here at that time, it was just a mountain serving as the fourth wall of the penitentiary. >> after ray climbed over, six more inmates followed before an officer and another tower finally saw them, and shot, striking the last escapee in the shoulder. >> the way it used to work here, when you hear the whistle blow you get a shotgun and your dog and you go to the woods, because inmates back then, there was a $25 bounty on the inmates. james earl ray, he was in the woods for three or four days, and they did use the dogs. that's basically the only way you would find them in these mountains with one of these dogs, you know, because it's so thick and everything. there's nowhere to go. >> ray was captured 52 hours later, less than two miles from the prison.
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since then, razor wire fences and motion sensors have been installed, adding another layer of security. today, inmates considered escape risks are transferred from other prisons to brushy mountain. one of those inmates is michael king, a veteran of the 1990 gulf war, he returned home to find his life shattered. >> i was in the army and stationed in iraq and my wife and daughter were murdered while i was over there. i came back and i tracked down the guy that killed them, and i interrogated and found out he was the one that killed them, and killed him. i had just come from a war zone and my head was pretty screwed up, my whole world had just crashed in before me. i was over there, i was thinking maybe i would die, and to have
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her and my daughter die was just it totally screwed me up. and i guess i went a little bit ballistic, you know? a little bit insane. >> we first met michael king when he was in yard doing exercise, and by yard, i mean he was in a confined cage. he was doing a kind of a strange thing for an inmate. he was doing yoga. you see all of these other guys lifting weights, trying to build themselves up and he was doing a deliberate exercise, yoga. we found out his yoga played an incredible role in his story he told us later. >> i escaped from a secure compound in northeast correctional. i packed myself up in some boxes and shipped myself out. i was part of the warehouse crew. yeah. i was taking yoga for several years and i just squeezed myself in there.
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in a very cramped position, brought some water with me. about an hour and a half before they shipped me out they put me in back -- in the back of the truck and took me to north carolina and they caught me while i was trying to get out of the truck. >> king has been told he will most likely serve the rest of his life sentence in brushy mountain's maximum security unit. >> i guess they believe that i'm an extreme escape risk because of my military background and because of my escape attempt. >> now, the exercise cage where king practices yoga provides his only glimpse of the outside world. >> sometimes, in my rare moments i think i probably want to go again, and sometimes not. if i thought i had a chance to get back into court, maybe i -- maybe i'd stop thinking about it. every man wants his freedom. >> king only got beyond the wall for a few hours an inmate we met at iowa state penitentiary came
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close to making a clean break. >> from the day i stepped in there i had been looking for a way out. >> martin moon is serving a life sentence for killing a man in a dispute over drugs but he insists he's not guilty. >> me being an innocent person, i've been compelled more than, say, the person that knows they're guilty and then found guilty, i feel they tend more to lay down and do their time and accept the punishment. that's where i'm not willing to lay down and accept the punishment. >> moon saw his chance to make a break when the 150-year-old prison began modernizing its security system. >> the prison came up with a plan to cut back on expenses so they was going to put in new electronic fencing and cameras and they started pulling out guard towers and that's when my plan developed. >> moon and a partner fashioned a rope out of upholstery from the workshop and attached to a grappling hook, which they used to scale the wall. >> me and my partner, before we
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took off, we actually said a prayer because i was the first one to cross the line, there's always that chance you get shot, especially being the first one across, but that's the risk you got to take. but once i was away from here, it felt pretty good, i'm not going to lie. >> moon escaped with minimal provisions. >> i was dressed in my regular prison blue jeans and sweatshirt. i lost my jacket on a set of razor wires so i didn't have my jacket. i had taken a bunch of power bars with me for food. i had a supply for five days with me. i had two water bottles with me. i covered close to 30 miles the first night, traveled out until i hit a small town and i scoped it out, before it turned daylight i noticed a car business, mechanics business and i know from prior experience, mechanics ask the customer to leave the key in the ignition. i tried a few cars and found one that ran and took that one.
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>> despite a nationwide manhunt, moon went four days and almost 400 miles before he attracted the attention of police in southern illinois. >> i had to pull over because i ran out of gas. i picked a bad spot to pull over. it was a gravel road, which the cops rolled up on me. it was a bad deal. it was over then. >> how would you redo your escape? >> i wouldn't fall asleep in a vehicle on the side of the road. that's for one. >> moon's prison break partner was caught in missouri a short time later. since his return to iowa, moon has been housed in this maximum security unit. the prison has restaffed its security towers, added a new one and stepped up inspections for escape attempts. despite the restrictions now placed on his movements, he still feels the attempt was worth it.
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>> aside from getting caught, i don't regret it one bit. i'd do it again tomorrow, if i could. next on "lockup raw" -- >> these are the worst of the worst. >> it's aggressive, dangerous, violent, you know. >> in one prison's most notorious cell block, a gray haired man provides an alternative to violence. >> i'm a pretty harmless guy. it's been a pretty friendly kind of relationship. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] some day, your life will flash before your eyes. ♪ make it worth watching. ♪ the new 2013 lexus ls. an entirely new pursuit.
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the most violent inmates are housed in solitary cells in the administrative segregation unit. a literal prison within a prison.
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>> these offenders are the worst of the worst for indiana. conduct's what's put them over there. they did assaults, brought drugs into the institution. they're troublemakers, the ones that go around extorting people, blackmailing people, they're the ones that end up over here in the administration segregation unit. >> inmates are confined to their cells for 23 hours per day, with only one hour allotted for exercise. built up tensions can sometimes explode. >> it's aggressive, it's dangerous, it's violent. you can come out on the range and he may have had bad news from home, from his mother and he tries to take it out on you. this is the jungle of indiana state prison. >> in this noisy, hostile environment, our producer spotted an older, white haired man serenely walking the tier showing no fear for his safety. >> what are you doing? are you doing all right? >> good.
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>> i'm from south bend, indiana, notre dame and just sort of talking to the men. i mean, if they want to talk to me. some are catholic, some are not. i'm retired and delighted to do it. >> even though 79-year-old father thomas mcnally is required by the prison to wear a stab-resistant vest, the thought of being attacked doesn't cross his mind. >> i've never felt any kind of fear or any kind of tension with the men. >> when i was a little kid, i'd be riding my bicycle and i'd go by in fear and say i love you erika, i love you erica. >> i'm a pretty harmless guy. it's been a friendly type of relationship. the stories told about your families you get the biggest kick out of them. they're really incredible. >> they are good, they're funny. >> they're good.
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i'll be back in a couple weeks. >> i'll be here, i promise. >> okay. we'll see you later. >> take it easy, father tom. >> i will. >> the thing with the chaplin, it's an outside person coming in the unit. we want the outside people to come in here and talk to them. it helps keep the violence down. >> serving 26 years for robbery, ernie johnson landed in ad seg for assaulting an officer. >> have you taken a look at that book yet? i don't want it back unless you're finished with it. >> i've read about half way. >> is it okay? >> yeah. i've been in a couple fights. generally insolent person and i don't get along well with others. they don't like my religion. they discriminate against me because of that. >> johnson practices an obscure religion called asatru.
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>> it's a european -- before we were christians, we were asatru. basically a medieval religion. classical. >> prison officials maintain religions like asatru are really covers for white supremacist gangs. >> it's a problem. because you can't violate their religion freedom. >> take it easy, huh? >> for father mcnally, the choice or legitimacy of an inmate's religion is a secondary concern. >> heal in vain first. deal with them as they are. as i would in a hospital or any other setting. i read a little bit about it and found it fascinating. when you're done i'll pick it up. >> i never really understood the jesuits of that time period. it's nice to have somebody only in and just spend some time with
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me, and, you know, talk about the things i want to talk about. he don't try to force christianity down my throat. >> i feel very sad for them, that this has to be where they are, of course, knowing as they know, they've done something pretty darn bad to get in here. >> i need all the help i can get. you know? >> god bless you. i'm just going to get out of here and i won't bother you anymore. >> but at the end of the day, life in the devil's workshop can take a toll on anyone. >> when i leave, i'm tired. when i go home, i'll sleep for 45 minutes because it is a little -- the noise and everything, a little nerve-racking. see you later, ernie. it's well worth it. i feel very grateful.


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