tv Lockup MSNBC November 7, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. there are 2 million people behind bars in america. we open the gates, "lockup." >> this place is crazy. it's totally insane. more insane than me. >> come on in. come on in. >> i don't really have a whole lot of respect for life in general, my own or anybody's. >> i took a knife and stabbed him with it, until he was dead, and then i butchered him with it. >> there is violence in here unheard of. but it was right up my alley. >> this is no way to spend your
life. >> in medieval times, law breakers were punished in unspeakably cruel ways, so perhaps it was no accident that the architect who designed the kentucky state penitentiary more than a century ago, built a structure that resembles a castle where dungeons might have served as torture chambers. for even the most hardened criminals in kentucky today, the first sight of the prison can be overwhelming. during the next hour, we'll take you inside kentucky's maximum security prison, known as the castle on the cumberland.♪ the cumberland river winds through the western kentucky town of eddyville. looming around a bend is a virtual fortress. the kentucky state penitentiary, also known as the castle on the cumberland.
>> i was really intimidated by this place. it's an intimidating place to walk into. >> this could be the worst place you have ever been in your life. >> the eddyville castle will get you. somebody will take your life from you if you come through here with that old chip on your shoulder, there's going to be somebody to take it off you. >> ksp is kentucky's only maximum security facility. a group of stone masons from italy teamed with inmates from various prisons to construct the castle which opened in 1889. >> when they first built it, they had a sign up over the front door that said, "abandon hope all ye that enter here." they wanted this place to look pretty menacing and it still looks menacing even today. >> i think the penitentiary is unique in many respects, just because of the foreboding appearance that it has. it's a serious place where serious things happen. this is a prison.
>> the castle sits on 90 acres and has seven cell houses for its 900 inmates. nearly 40 inmates are secluded on death row. fewer than a dozen of them live in a minimum-custody facility. more than 200, those considered the most dangerous, are locked in solitary confinement in the segregation unit. >> basically, there are very few inmates that come directly to the kentucky state penitentiary. for the most part, inmates come to the penitentiary via other facilities that those inmates have either committed serious rule infractions, have long-term segregation sentences and/or have failed to adjust at other facilities and that's basically how they wind up here. >> we have some searches to do. >> glenn haverlan became warden of ksp in 2002, after 30 years with the kentucky department of corrections. >> y'all have a good shift. >> yes, sir. >> he says that while the prison
may look old on the outside, many security measures within the facility are state of the art. >> we have approximately 68 closed-circuit cameras throughout the facility. some of the cameras we have, have the ability to pan areas, zoom in on a particular person to the degree that you can literally read what they write on a piece of paper. we also have the ability with this system that there are passwords that i can provide to different staff to where they can actually pull the system up on their pc at their workstation and look at the same thing that you look at when you're here. we have nine wall stands throughout the institution that are manned 24 hours a day. we have an electrified perimeter on the yard side of our main buildings. we have a double razor-wired fence perimeter in part of the newer section of the facility. we have roving patrols,
basically 24 hours a day. >> but even with constant surveillance, inmates still try to escape. in 1988, eight inmates broke out of ksp. >> a couple of them went down to tennessee and murdered a couple down there, and when that happened, of course, it caught a lot of attention, and the legislature appropriated some additional money to enhance the security of the prison. >> this is your basic security checks that you do every single day regardless, no matter what. you are looking at the bottom of the tracks, the way they slide, you're looking to see if there's saw marks on them. we also run a rubber mallet across each individual bar, so they don't try to saw through each individual bar to make their way out. >> 10-4. north secure side. >> 10-4. you've got a green board, fourth floor. >> yet, while security at the prison has improved over the years, certain vestiges of the past remain. the control center in one four-story building requires
officer barbara joernigan to scale a spiral staircase in order to find out which cells to open and close. >> this is an actual lockdown sheet. the officer on the floor will tell me which cells are empty. that should coincide with what i have got on the board. >> officer joernigan is the only armed correctional officer in the building. >> it's strictly for if they try to take over the control center. if the control center was taken over, they could open up every one of the cells and nobody could stop them from it. >> code this property into the property room. >> these inmates have been transferred to the castle due to offenses committed in other state facilities. >> here i am, a medium-security inmate in a maximum-security penitentiary. i'm just a basic criminal, you know, petty thief, drug abuser. i'm supposed to be in a drug treatment center, not no
maximum-security prison. >> the keys and done. >> yeah. >> okay, you all going to -- >> what's your name, man? >> my name's -- >> all right. >> what you need? >> 1x top, 2x bottom. all right. underwear. >> 36. >> james dunn is serving life without parole for murder. >> i want you to squat down and cough twice. all right. i need to see the bottom of your feet. all right. >> prison policy mandates that new arrivals have their heads and faces shaved. >> ain't no point in even cutting your hair for real. >> they at least could cut it right. leave a little strip of hair right there. >> i just think it's to humiliate you, you know what i'm saying? break you down. you know, to belittle you, try to make you feel bad and worse than what you are.
>> yellow jumpsuits identify the housing unit where these men are headed. they are going to seven cell house, one of ksp's administrative segregation units. in here, they will be confined to a stark 8 x 10 foot cell.♪ next on "lockup" -- >> a lot of these guys are not mentally stable. they need some type of psychiatric treatment, you know what i'm saying? >> serving time in the hole. and later --
they just don't want to adapt and be a part of an institution. their behavior just dictates we have no other choice based on their behavior to segregate them from the rest of the facility. >> 200 men are locked up in segregation 23 out of 24 hours every day. for the remaining hour, they are allowed to walk up and down the corridor. >> you know, the walls can come in, close in on you, you don't have any way to release the pent-up energy that works out of -- like working out or anything like that, you know? it can get kind of lonely in here. >> wendell clay has spent 16 months in the hole for assaulting a guard. he has eight months left. >> you got a lot of guys over here that just, you know, been in this hole two, three, four, five years, not good at all. a lot of these guys are not mentally stable, and they need some type of psychiatric treatment instead of this hole time. you know what i'm saying? >> you want to play some chess,
man? >> he's trying to communicate with another inmate to play chess with him. and they'll do it verbally through the vent system. >> all right, hold on. >> we play by calling out the numbers, like 12 to 28, 52 to 36. he has to have the same type of board, set up 1 through 64. >> 12, 28, man. >> i think most inmates don't want to go to segregation. it's not a pleasant place to live. you get a limited amount of material in your cell. whether that's reading materials. you get no radio, no tv, no walkman. you get limited time out of your cell every day. for most people, even in a prison setting, that's not the best place to live. but it's designed not to be the best place to live also. >> now. >> even the daily routine of feeding inmates can pose a potential for danger. >> here, they just give you packs like this right here. you can only have these on this wall. >> in the instance of the toothpaste, you know, what they
will do, they'll take a normal tube of toothpaste and pack it with feces, and then that's one of the ways they'll assault staff with that. sometimes in the institutional setting, you'll have inmates save their feces and throw it as projectiles on officers. >> duane harper's explosive temper is what landed him in this jail within a jail in 2002. >> i fight sometimes. but i argue with the guards that i'm not violent. >> having been incarcerated most of his life, harper admits, he still misses life on the outside. >> i've done a lot of time. i've been doing time on and off since i was 12 years old. the only person that ever cared anything about me is my mother, you know. and i miss just being able to get up in the morning and see her face, her cook breakfast, you know. i miss nature too, because i'm a nature person. you know, i miss, you know, trees, the sky, just being free, being able to walk through the mall and look at people, being able to look at things, the small things, you know.
>> come back out here, now! >> not long after harper's interview, the use of force team had to subdue him. >> he was threatening us with throwing feces, spitting at us through the door. >> you going to talk to me, you hear me? you no good mother [ bleep ]. >> duane harper is a person that sometimes don't think before he reacts. >> i told you now. >> harper's current release date from segregation is in 2009. >> if you talk to a lot of cats that really, really know me, they'll tell you that i overreact. i let my anger and my, you know, things get to me that i shouldn't have, and as a result of that, i'm still here. when we return --
>> i'm not going to live with child molesters. i'm not going to live with punks. i'm not going to live with rats. i'm not going to live with that kind of people, because i have a choice, because i have nothing to lose. >> we meet some of the castle's most notorious and violent inmates. and later -- >> you've got a lot of time to examine yourself, think about the things that you've done, think about the opportunities you had in life and squandered them. >> voices from death row.
i was an alcoholic. and i've just been, you know, a criminal all my life. >> alex bennett is serving time for kidnapping, murder, and armed robbery. he's been behind bars 33 of his 54 years. bennett got transferred to ksp from another prison after killing his cellmate. >> i took a knife, and i stabbed him with it three or four times, until he was dead. and then i butchered him. honest to god. i cut him up into little pieces, because i was trying to make a point, you know. >> alex bennett is -- is a very intense inmate, and we know that all of our inmates could be capable of committing an act like that. >> i want to live in a cell, and i want to live in a cell by myself, and if i have to do that in segregation, i don't have a problem with that, but i'm not
going to live with child molesters. i'm not going to live with punks. i'm not going to live with rats. i'm not going to live with that kind of people, because i don't have to. i have a choice, because i have nothing to lose. >> chose to fight. i stabbed him. piped him. knocked him out. this is known all over kentucky. this is what i did. in 1977, february the 18th, i was sent here to this prison because the other prison system couldn't control me. >> another inmate with a notorious past is fleece johnson. released after 31 years at ksp, he returned in 2003 on parole violations. >> they had a lot of gangs in here. there was random stabbings and killings, and there was violence in here unheard of.
but that was right up my alley, you know. >> fleece johnson held probably the reputation of being the most violent inmate in the state. he has been known to tear sinks off the wall, toilets from the floor. you name it, he's probably torn it up. >> the prison locks up inmates like fleece johnson in solitary confinement, known as the segregation cell or the hole. >> i stayed in segregation, solitary confinement, for 12 years. and a lot of the officers that i fought, some of them quit. i assaulted one of the officers one day. i put him in the hospital for 30 days in serious condition. almost killed him. they gave me 15 years for it. >> he has since calmed down tremendously. with age, the inmates tend to slow down with their poor
behavior. they learn that arguing with authority figures is not the way to go. >> here's my rap sheet. like you can see, armed robbery, '74. these is all the charges, wanton endangerment in the first degree, assault, first degree. assault in the third degree, assault in the third degree, another assault in the third degree. another assault in third degree. them is all the charges i picked up in the prison system. so now things are different. see, i done growed up. >> while fleece johnson's violent acts are in his past -- >> open number 20. >> -- there is one inmate at ksp who is considered the most menacing. victor hiatt is serving a life sentence for murder. he has the reputation of being the most violent inmate in the state and had to wear restraints for this interview. >> i've accepted my own death so i don't worry about dying. so i don't really have a whole
lot of respect for life in general, my own or anybody's. >> victor hiatt has clearly made it known to staff and inmates that he would like to kill a staff member. >> in 2003, hiatt threw books and spit at officers. a use-of-force team was called in to extract him from his cell. >> he's got some, appears to be water or urine in his hands. >> solitude can make you climb the walls, especially long term like i do. i have until 2017 on that walk. it messes with my head. i'll be honest about that. that's probably why i'm so violent. i take it out in anger. >> come on in! i'll show you what a redneck can do. come on in!
i've learned a lot of tricks to get past a lot of their defenses. there's only so many tricks you can use, though. they're going to overwhelm you. if they tell you to back up to the door and if you back up, you're a bitch. i've never backed up yet. >> take him down! take him down! >> all right. >> back out a little. give him some time. keep him down. keep him down. keep him down. >> it's not too late. let's get some cuffs on him. get some cuffs on him. >> knocked four of my teeth out.
>> this incident cost hiatt an additional 305 days of disciplinary segregation. but even this extra time doesn't deter him from assaulting staff. in 2004, the convicted murderer stabbed correctional officer milton madden. >> we were on the walk feeding the inmates, and we went back later to retrieve the food trays, and as he handed me the tray, i went to reach for it, he jerked it back, and tried to stab me with a piece of fence wire that had been gotten off the yard. and when he pulled the food tray back, well, i jumped back, but he still was able to stab me a little bit. >> don't ever take their eyes off me. that was my mistake. they'll probably kill me the next time. >> i think he still has great potential to do some serious damage to a staff or inmate here at penitentiary.
>> you don't know what to expect from any of them. you've got to be careful around all of them. next on "lockup" -- >> being gay in prison is really hard. the fact that everybody knows that you are gay, there's constant pressure for sex. >> surviving inside the castle. and later -- >> we get to cook our own food. and it's just a little bit of home in prison. >> good behavior earns a lucky few valuable privileges. you do a lot of things great.
you're either too far from the curb. or too close to other cars... it's just a matter of time until you rip some guy's bumper off. so, here are your choices: take the bus. or get liberty mutual insurance. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. see car insurance in a whole new light. call liberty mutual insurance.
now back to "lockup." nearly 900 men are serving time behind the walls of the kentucky state penitentiary. since many of these men are spending the rest of their lives there, the challenge isn't always watching your back but simply surviving day to day. >> the majority of the time the inmates spend behind the razor wire of the kentucky state penitentiary is in an 8 x 10 foot cell.
matthew campbell is 23, gay, and serving time for armed robbery. >> being gay in prison is really hard. i mean, it's hard enough to do time in here, but the fact that everybody knows that you are gay, it's constant pressure for, you know, sex. i've learned a lot about myself being in here, you know, it's who i am, who i want to be, who i was. it's been an educational experience for me. it really has. i'm ready to get out and live my life. >> with good conduct, campbell can be released in less than two years, but it's a challenge surviving the boredom of confinement. >> in order to not go crazy and stir crazy, get yourself into a routine. i try to go out every time the door is open. don't bore yourself with your cell. you know, go out, meet people, have fun. >> come on, shorty! >> i'm done. >> no, come on and play. are you scared?
you wasn't scared when you came in. come on. >> for matthew campbell and other inmates not confined to the segregation unit or death row, the yard at ksp is one place to momentarily escape the tedium of prison life. >> it's kind of the central park of the kentucky state penitentiary. >> there's somebody at the horseshoe pits about all the time, and all the basketball courts are off the hill on the backside. there's a lot of them that will play that all day long. >> the prison population at ksp informally divides itself into two groups who don't see eye to eye. there's the old school of hardened criminals like fleece johnson, known as convicts, versus the newcomers to the prison system known simply as inmates. >> we are getting inmates that are transferring into this facility that are very young, and are inexperienced in the correctional world.
the older inmates don't have much respect for the younger inmates. the younger inmates tend to complain more about frivolous matters. they are normally more troublemakers. >> if a convict keeps his nose in his own business and don't disrespect people. >> an inmate files every grievance he can do, you know, everything he can complain about, bitch about, the administration going on, he doesn't measure up to a stand-up person. stand on your own two feet. responsibility. be a man. you're in here, man, you've got to deal with it. >> the guards are well aware of the two groups and the tensions that can erupt between them. >> convicts, they're the old type inmates. they're going to play their games, they're going to make their money, they're going to run their part of the yard, and these little young guys that they call inmates, just mostly vocal and verbal and they don't care, you know. they got no respect for authority. >> i hang out right here. this is my spot. i used to stay over there, but the child killers took it over,
and they can have it. i don't argue with nobody about spots. i feel like the whole joint belongs to me since i killed to get here to get it. >> tempers haven't been flaring, everything's going good. i mean, it hasn't heated up yet. >> when you have that many inmates circulating in a confined area, it's certainly one of the areas where you have the potential for problems. >> now here comes one. this is a monster right here. >> one thing the inmates can agree on is the fact that they enjoy the dozens of wild cats who also live at ksp. >> you've got these guys here, these cats is their kids. and you mess with one of the cats, it's just like messing with my kids at home. i mean, these cats is their family. it's all they've got. >> these cats are some healthy, happy cats in here. to be born in prison and knowing they are going to probably die
in prison, they just are as happy as they can be. i wish we had some other animals. >> while the cats at ksp offer therapeutic benefits, voluntary programs and work opportunities help rehabilitate the men. >> i have a kidnap charge and a theft charge, and i have a total of 25 years. i've been locked up 16 years. i have about two more years left. >> rodney duff works in the prison's auto shop, repairing cars for the public, as well as staff vehicles. >> since i was a kid, i liked cars, and i've seen what i can produce. i can see how they come in, how they leave, and it's my place in life. it's what i plan to do when i get out. >> each inmate in the program is given a car to work on, and the men earn $1.30 a day. >> well, this shop here has pretty much everything a shop on the street has, and you won't let nothing go out unless the job is done. this car here is finished. it's basically flawless. i mean, we always do our best. because we're learning. it's how we learn, to do our
best with it. it's important. i mean, you prepare yourself for when you get out and it breaks monotony, keeps you out of trouble, back there working and just exercising your mind. >> another job the men can have is working in the prison industries' garment plant. for over 50 years, inmates at ksp have sewn prison uniforms for all of the correctional facilities in the state. >> i've done everything from towels, washcloths, sheets, pillow cases, boxer underwear, scrub suits, jump suits, about most everything they've got back here. >> chris walls is serving a life sentence for murder, robbery and kidnapping. >> for me, i am making 95 cents an hour. that's the most you can make back here. i work 7 1/2 hours a day, approximately 37 to 40 hours a week. >> the plant outputs an average of 250 pants and 250 shirts a day. >> i think the thing i like best about working back here is it
breaks up the monotony from being up on the yard and being back here. it's a way to occupy your mind and keeps you out of trouble. the best advice i can give you is stay out there, get a job that pays good so you can live out there and don't have to come in here and learn it for a little bit of nothing. just think about the people in prison that don't get paid for anything and they have to work, and be grateful for what you've got. >> inmates with good behavior can have access to the music room. jesse stanford was sentenced in 1985 for robbery, kidnapping, and murder. >> okay. the band room is a privilege. i love coming to the band room to actually play music. because when we are in this band room playing music, we feel like we're way away from prison.♪
it's that closeness that you're not going to have out in the yard. i believe music is very therapeutic. i'm not very sports oriented. but music takes me to the point where i don't have to get out on the yard and run the risk of getting stabbed or in the hole, because there is no hate in music. so i don't have to deal with that. >> i've never been in a relationship with somebody who didn't have a drinking problem or a drug problem. >> tex fetzer was convicted of murder and robbery. he's been incarcerated for the past 17 years and credits ksp's moral recognition therapy class for turning his outlook around. >> if you knew me just six years ago, you wouldn't recognize me. i figured this is where i was going to live for the rest of my life. so i did whatever the hell i wanted, you know.
you know, if you got in my way, i'd hurt you, and i didn't care. >> as a result of learning anger-management skills, fetzer says he felt remorse for his crime for the first time. >> i took a man's life. you know? i know his name. i'll remember it till the day i die. i think about him every day. i've been in the gutter most of my life. i feel i'm out of it now. up next -- inside kentucky's death row. >> i'm ready, if you want to kill me, let's go. i'm ready to go.
this is the electric chair, which is maintained by the kentucky state penitentiary, in order to complete executions by electrocution. it was originally built somewhere in the 1900s. >> over the past century, kentucky's most notorious criminals have spent their final days at the castle. 163 have died by electrocution here. the most recent execution in the chair occurred in 1997. >> on one date in 1929, there
were seven inmates executed in one night, utilizing this chair and facility. >> kentucky state penitentiary has the only death-row facility in the state. today, there are nearly 40 men whose cells are a stone's throw from the execution chamber. one of them is randy haight. >> this is no way to spend your life. one thing about being in prison and being on death row, especially, because there's so much idle time, is you've got a lot of time to examine yourself, think about the things that you've done, think about the opportunities you had in life and squandered them. >> haight ended up here after he escaped from another jail and robbed and killed two people. >> the jury found me guilty of a double murder and robbery and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and that's what i'm on death row for. i know that what i done was wrong.
i deserve to be where i'm at, whether they execute me or i spend the rest of my life in prison. i've accepted that. >> the men who share the death row facility rarely break the rules of the castle. >> their basic behavior is directly related to them being able to say in their clemency plea that we were good guys while we were there. we didn't -- we didn't create havoc. we weren't violent, we weren't all of these things and try to obviously portray the good things that they've done while they've been incarcerated. >> i have a hope one day i can be out of prison, you know. even though that hope might be small. >> haight volunteers as a legal aide doing what he can to help his fellow death row inmates with their cases. >> the whole thing on the institutional life is being able to keep your mind occupied. i'm reading -- always reading something that pertains to law or reading my bible. when i get up and i pray, drink a cup of coffee maybe.
it's pretty boring really. i'm extremely sad for what i've done. and i'm not saying that to get out of an execution because like i said, i'm ready. if you want to kill me, let's go. i'm ready to go. >> i was 28 years old when i came to death row. you know, there's days i wake up in here and i'm not too sure if i would want to live out my days, the rest of my days in -- of my life in prison. >> leif halvorsen is 51 now. >> well, i was convicted in fayette county, kentucky, 1983 of a triple homicide. i was convicted with mitchell willoughby who is also on death row with me. it grew out of an argument. there were drugs involved. we were both very high on several different mind-altering substances. >> like randy haight, halvorsen says he regrets what he did to his victims and the impact his
crime had on his family. >> the hardest thing i ever remember working through is my mother coming to the jail to see me the first time after i was arrested. and her whole soul was turned inside out. and, i mean, she sat there and just cried and cried. >> halvorsen lectures to groups of troubled teens brought to ksp as a way to deter them from lives of crime. >> and i tell these kids, you know, because a lot of children have this mentality that they're hero worshiping guys that are bad. and i'm not a bad guy. i'm a stupid, ignorant person for getting into the trouble that i did, but, you know, you can't do these kinds of things and ever feel good about it. >> until their sentences are overturned, death row inmates stay in confinement until they are put to death or die of natural causes.
but for other inmates at this maximum security prison, good conduct can be the one-way ticket out.♪ these men are being transferred today to other prisons to finish serving out their time. kent hill has been looking forward to this day for a long time. >> it's taken me almost two years to get away from here. a lot of us have been waiting that long. so, this is a good day for us. >> our primary goal with them is when we have an inmate that we receive that is a behavior problem, it's to get that individual back on a positive behavior track and ultimately move him into a lesser security facility. >> it's a matter of degree of danger because anytime you take an inmate out of the facility, there's always the possibility of an escape. whether they escape from their cell themselves or having help from the outside. >> i'm glad to be leaving here. this is the worst prison in the
state. the places that we're going to, all of us today, are much better. and it takes a lot of clear conduct to get there so, you know, you have to earn it. coming up -- >> trust is what i lost to society. to trust me in society. so this is a start. and it's a great start. >> at home, but still in prison. and later, saying good-bye to the castle on the cumberland. a lapse of judgment.
a lapse of judgment. a crime is committed. it can result in years behind bars, and regaining freedom can seem impossible. >> we have a lot of freedom out here, you know. we have everything that a person would have at home. >> golden barnett, and nine fellow inmates share creature comforts that don't exist inside the castle. they've become minimum-security inmates who live in a house on the prison grounds. >> trust is what i lost to society. to trust me in society. so this is a start, and it's a great start. >> for eight years, barnett has been a model inmate. now he works as a custodian as he completes his sentence. >> you know, clean offices, you know, empty trash cans, garbage cans. whatever they need done, you know. and i -- i don't mind doing it. basically, i get up.
fix my breakfast. go to work. come back, work out, walk along the lake, you know. shower, lay back, read, study, you know, can use the phone any time of night that i need to. and that's a privilege. and it's lockdown at 6:00. >> it just lightens the burden. it really helps. we get to cook our own food, and nothing is better than fresh vegetables. it's just a little bit of home in prison. >> barnett is taking the ged to better support his family. his children were in middle school when he went to prison, now they're adults. >> that's the prom night there. timothy on the left with his date, tiffany on the right with her date. and a picture of my son, 55 on the football field. and my daughter, she plays basketball. getting out of prison is going to mean the world to me.
it's going to open up a lot of doors that i shut myself. i have no one to blame but myself. i shut every door and locked it. they say you can't make up for time that you lost, but you can. >> 30-year-old chris sowder is just hours away from freedom. >> wherever i go, it will definitely be better than here. >> everything is a game in here, you know, everybody is a yard full of snakes, you know what i mean, in every way. the devious [ muted ] that these people do in here. >> after a year at the castle, sowder is ready to head home to louisville. >> mr. sowder. >> hello. >> getting ready to leave, aren't you? >> yes, ma'am. >> here's your final notice of discharge. it's this and your i.d.s. you can take it to the social security administration and get your social security card. and it's off to the clerk's
office. and get your driver's license. >> i was wondering how we were going to take care of that. thank you, ma'am. >> good luck. and don't come back. >> no, ma'am, i won't. i'll try not to. it's different from when i walked in. when i walked in, i ain't going to lie, i was intimidated as hell, you know what i mean? this place is intimidating. walk up those front steps. >> out. >> clear. >> all right. >> the worst that kentucky's got right here. felt like this day was never going to come. it's all sinking in right now, you know what i mean? i don't know what to say. >> i'm going to miss nothing in this place whatsoever. i'm excited, ready to get out in the world. >> while chris sowder is lucky
enough to be released from ksp, there are many who may never leave the prison alive. >> i'm realistic. by the time i see the parole board, i'll probably be dead. right now as it is, i'm facing probably 60 to 80 years if they stack on maximum sentences on every one of my new charges so that's pretty much double life what i'm doing. >> i never think about the outside world anymore, never, ever. i'm 100% prison. i'm 100%. this is my life. prison's my life. and this is all i got, and that's all i think about. >> by design, kentucky state penitentiary is a place to serve hard time. while many newer facilities have the distinction of being tougher prisons, kentucky's most violent inmates are still sent to the
castle on the cumberland. that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. there are 2 million people behind bars in america. we open the gates, "lockup." >> i report out front and i seen that 35-foot brick wall, and it's like a reality check, you know. >> this place is full of snitches running around thinking they're cool. >> monday, i was totally discharged. and i got tickets to see the minnesota twins play the kansas city royals thursday. >> i shot three people. he cut up two. >> and i made two knives. >> you know, they trusted me with their daughter. i ended up killing her.