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tv   Lockup  MSNBC  February 22, 2015 1:00am-2:01am PST

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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." >> jail is hell. jail is hell. >> willie, will you come to the door, sir? >> a lot of the mental state hospitals have closed down, and the only options to the police agencies are bring them to the jails. >> it's dirty. the shower's dirty. the toilet's dirty. the floor's dirty. point-blank, dirty. >> anything can happen, any given time, at any moment, just like that.
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very fast, very quick. >> let's go, let's go, let's go. >> i'm not even looking for shanks. i just happened to stumble upon these. >> you never know what to expect. all we do all day is sit here like a time bomb waiting for something to happen. >> this is as close to a living hell as i think i ever want to come. >> when someone breaks the law, there is a distinct difference between going to prison and jail. prison is for convicted felons, many with long-term sentences. jail is where suspects spend a relatively short time, either while waiting for trial or before being transferred to another facility. it's also where convicts also serve short sentences. but any time behind bars can have a lasting impact. in this hour of "lockup," we'll take you inside the main jail system in miami, officially known as miami-dade corrections. miami's gleaming skyline towers over sun-drenched beaches and waterways, punctuated with luxury cruise ships. it's no wonder that this is a
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popular vacation spot. but miami is also a hotbed of illicit drug activity that generates a constant flow of men and women into what has become the sixth largest jail in america. miami-dade corrections is made up of five separate facilities located throughout the city. housing nearly 7,000 inmates. every year, approximately 100,000 men and women are processed into miami-dade. many of them arrive here at the main jail, also known as the pretrial detention center. >> the main jail is considered the hub because it's right next to the court building. and all of the inmates that go to court are staged at the pretrial detention center where we have a bridge that connects with the courthouse. >> listen, up listen up. >> built in 1959, the detention center is the oldest of the miami-dade facilities and also the busiest. in fact, for the officers' own safety, the jail has asked that
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we only reveal their last names. >> the biggest challenge in intake is we don't know what we're facing until they come through that door. we don't know if the person is very combative, if they are high on drugs, if they are going to come through and fight a bunch of people. >> we had superman come in one day, a guy dressed in a superman suit. he was upset, visibly upset because they took his cape. fortunately we had enough officers here with experience to talk with him and diffuse the situation. >> after being checked for weapons and contraband, inmates wait in a holding cell. many of the inmates come to the jail as a result of using or selling drugs. >> we have a major drug problem. and that's what most of our cases consist of. it's the reason why the jail system is so overcrowded. >> yeah, you can take your -- >> i don't do drugs every day. i don't smoke crack every day. but when i do, i go on a binge. >> 39-year-old alfonso young is being booked on robbery charges. >> you know, i know the procedures.
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back again. i done been here about 20 times. and the majority of the time is because i got hooked on drugs, and by me being hooked on drugs it caused me to do petty crimes. hey, officer, you think you're about ready to fingerprint me? >> yes, that's what you go to next. >> inmates are fingerprinted, then allowed to make one phone call. >> i spent the night with a friend. it's a female though. i have to lie to my mom because i'm so tired of depressing her. because everybody else in my own family is ambitious, got it going on. i'm the only one. so they always watching me, waiting to see what's my next move going to be because they don't want me to always end up back here. >> as part of the booking process, inmates must be seen by
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a nurse for a physical and mental evaluation. >> any drug use? what kind of drugs you use? >> crack cocaine, prozac. that's for depression. >> once the evaluation is completed, the processing department creates i.d.s and classifies the inmates as to where they'll be sent within the jail. because alfonso takes prozac for depression, he'll be housed on the eighth floor, one of the three floors dedicated to psychiatric care. >> then i'll be here until court. >> alfonso young was charged with petty theft and spent one day in jail before being released. this is the maximum security unit at the jail where as many as 24 inmates are packed into a single cell. here, the lights are always on and tensions are high. >> it's hard as hell to sleep in here because you got 24 inmates
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in here, you understand. you have to sleep when you can, not when you want to. >> locked inside for 23 hours a day, the men must sleep, shower, and eat inside their cell. >> it's dirty. it is dirty. point-blank dirty. >> when i first came here, i was free from blemish. now look at my arms. you see all these spots? i'm like a leopard now. and guess what? they can't even tell me what it is. >> this place is unsanitary. this place is filthy. >> convicted of armed robbery, bernard jones has been incarcerated for 3 1/2 years and is currently appealing his case. >> i got to use the bathroom around other brothers. there aren't no separation. ain't no shower curtain. that means, when i'm taking a bath, i got a dude walking by. >> tempers can flare at any moment so officers are required to make hourly security checks. >> everything all right? all right. normally you look for cracks on the bars, check the bars, check
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the locks, make sure everything is secured. you look inside the cells. make sure that the inmate population is not doing anything they're not supposed to. >> since drugs are frequently smuggled into this jail, specially-trained canine units are brought in to find them. corporal perez is the canine handler for miami-dade corrections and frequently conducts cell searches with his dog, sandy. >> we found a pound one day. another day we did, like, three quarters of a pound of marijuana here. so it is coming in. from itty-bitty amounts, one tenth of a gram, up to a pound. >> often the k-9 searches turn up other dangerous contraband. >> this is the type of stuff that i find sometimes doing a narcotics sniff with sandy. i'm walking into the cell, kicking stuff around, looking under mattresses and i happened to pull some of these shanks out. i'm not even looking for shanks. i just happened to stumble on these. >> don't trust any of them.
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none whatsoever. because they're not in here for singing too loud in church. >> you really want to protect your staff. that's what our lifeblood is, is the officers. we can have the latest technology, we can have the newest buildings, we can have the most secure buildings, but it's really the staff that makes the system work. >> you spoke to the floor supervisor? >> yes. >> what did they tell you? >> communication is the key to anything, especially here in this facility, because that way i know what's going on at all times inside the cell. if you're not out there, not talking to them, if you don't know what's going on, anything can happen, anything. up next -- >> willie? >> willie, you want to talk to the doctor? >> the challenges of confining the mentality ill.
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willie? willie? will you come to the door, sir? >> willie, willie, you want to talk to a doctor? [ speaking spanish ] >> the ninth floor of the miami-dade pretrial detention center is a world unto itself. as part of the psychiatric unit, these cells are reserved for inmates with serious mental problems. >> sir, you all right? >> dr. joseph poitier is the jail's chief psychiatrist. he's worked at miami-dade for the past ten years. >> jails have, in effect, become mental institutions. i would say that 20% of those who are incarcerated have a mental illness. a large part suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, severe forms of mental illness.
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>> the mentally ill is a very serious problem within correctional facilities today. unfortunately, there's a growing trend. a lot of the mental state hospitals have closed down and the only options to the police agencies are to bring them to the jails. that's a problem for us because those inmates are a lot more unmanageable than the regular inmate population. >> come on, take your medication. >> while the ultimate goal of the staff here is to provide proper medical care so that the inmates can cooperate with their lawyers and eventually leave the jail, maintaining safe and sanitary conditions is a daily challenge. >> usually our procedures are right now that we wake up the inmates, we go ahead and handcuff them. take a seat, back down, pick up your feet. our trustees will go on in, sweep, mop, clean the toilets, the sink, pull out any garbage that they have inside. they stand back up, we unhandcuff them and they go back to laying down. that's the main procedures that we do every morning, cleaning up the cells.
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everybody has to -- listen. everybody has to get fed. everybody has got to eat first before we see what we have left over, that's all. whatever's left over, you know, they pass out extras. when i first started, this was not the way it is you see now. >> officer urbistondo has been working in the psychiatric unit since 1988. >> basically it was like the forgotten floor. this is 100 times better than it was back in the '80s. we're always communicating with the inmates here. we have to always watch them. we see all different things happening. we're the eyes and ears for the medical staff. basically what we see we report to the doctor and report to the nurses. basically we are the front line dealing with these inmates. >> have a seat right there. >> but there remains an element of danger in this unit. because the inmates here are often unpredictable and violent, staff members must take every precaution to protect themselves. >> these handcuffs are to secure an inmate to be seen by the doctor. these flex cuffs right here, about 150 pounds each. there have been many occasions
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inmates have popped these handcuffs right off of this thing. >> another primary concern for staff is keeping watch over suicidal inmates. >> basically in the cell is the sink, the toilet. everything you see that is graded. so that they can't use any type of material, clothing or any garment to hang themselves from. >> the psych population, they're not allowed to have shoestrings, because shoestrings can be used as a tool for them to hurt themselves. >> this is a safety garment right here. this material, basically you can't rip this material so they can't use it like a sheet or blanket to rip easily. basically it's a poncho, big old poncho that goes on them. that's it. no pillow, no blanket, no sheet, no mattress. it's all about precaution. >> in addition to the mentally ill, there are other at-risk inmates, including the elderly who are housed on a separate floor. >> good afternoon, gentlemen. >> good afternoon. >> any problems in the cells? >> no, ma'am.
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>> officer drane is one of the staff members assigned to supervise the older inmates. >> well, basically, what i do when i get up here is i do a perimeter check to make sure all the inmates are awake and alive and breathing, and then do head count. if they need anything pertaining to a policy, like if they need to know when their court date is, i'll look it up for them. >> doing the best i can do. they put me in here because of my age probably. i don't know. back in the day, this was open. they didn't have this up here. so till they changed it. they put the older guys up here. >> serving prison time for second-degree murder, sammy pollard is temporarily at miami-dade until he testifies in another court case. >> i sleep in the top bunk. up there it seem like i have my own heaven up there, my own peace. it's like i block everything out. it's what i do. i get up here. i meditate, i read.
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stay to myself most of the time, you know. >> pollard's greatest hope is that he will one day reunite with the family he lost. >> i've got a daughter. man, i ain't never told her i love her. she's 27 years old. i've got five grandkids. i ain't never told her i love her. i can't do it. i've made a lot of mistakes and lost a lot of my life that i can't get back, but i thank god that i'm still living. next on "lockup," women behind bars. >> women's detention center is the nicest of all the facilities, if you can call any of them nice, but jail is hell. where do you think you're going? mr. mucus: to work, with you. it's taco tuesday. man: you're not coming. i took mucinex to help get rid of my mucusy congestion. mr. mucus: oh, right then i'll swing by in like 4 hours... just set aside a few tacos for me. man: forget the tacos! one pill lasts 12 hours. i'm good all day. mr. mucus (to himself): wait! your loss. i was going to wear a sombrero. [announcer:] only mucinex has a bi-layer tablet that starts fast, and keeps working. not 4, not 6, but 12 full hours. start the relief. ditch the misery. let's end this.
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miami-dade corrections houses the majority of female inmates at the women's detention center less than a mile away from the main jail. >> well, this is my room. this is where i sleep at. this my mother. this my locker. you know, just my little bachelor pad right at the time,
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you know what i'm saying? >> lajean johnson is a former drug user who was arrested for selling crack cocaine. she and her cellmates have formed a close-knit group in which lajean holds the unofficial title of "mom." >> this is linda. bonita. nashelle. everybody here is like family. we all get along. >> especially the people that have been here for any length of time, you know. we form close friendships. >> pretty much quiet, no bickering. >> jean keeps it together. jean keeps us all together. >> they all depend on me. this is what we do twice a day. in the morning, in the afternoon, we keep it clean like this. we have a clean shower. very clean. she do beds. she's the best bed maker in the cells. >> bonita smith was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and is awaiting transfer to a prison. like many of the women at the detention center, she was a drug abuser.
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>> basically you look at the crimes, they vary. the crimes vary. most of them are centered around use of drugs and the use of drugs vary on anything from breaking and entering to armed robbery to murder, attempted murder, child abuse charges. so the one common denominator are that most of them are centered around the use of intoxicants or drugs. >> i came to jail and found out i was pregnant. the good thing about it, i gave birth to a healthy baby boy. six pounds, six ounces. he was drug free and that was a blessing to me. >> bonita won't see her son, john, again until she completes her one-year prison sentence. >> when she goes, she's going to take a parenting class on how to get her child back. she's going to go through the steps and she's going to do what she's supposed to do. >> three times a day, inmates are escorted to the cafeteria where they eat in strictly monitored shifts. >> 24 more days and i'm out of here. this is the only meal that's not
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great. it's bologna every day. hot meals in the morning, hot meal at night. >> this is the best part of the day. lunchtime. >> pretty much we try to eat and don't talk. because if they catch us talking, they're going to tell you to get up, throw your food away and get up. you got to deal with it until 6:30, dinnertime. >> out of control here, you're not allowed to even talk in the dining room. this is an exception. it's amazing we're not getting thrown out. it's because of you guys. but you're not allowed to say a word in here. >> because the dining facility can only accommodate a small percentage of inmates at a time, each table has approximately 15 minutes to eat. >> that's it. >> it's time to go now. we're up and running. >> i'll just take a little water. >> no talking. >> women's detention center is the nicest of all the
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facilities, if you can call any of them is nice. but jail is hell. >> vitamins. i have low blood. i need 500 milligrams -- prescribed by my private doctor. >> it's head count time. >> this is the third floor of the women's detention center, which houses inmates who need to be separated from the general population. many of these women suffer from psychological problems and supervising them can be particularly challenging for staff. >> i've been attacked once. i guess it was during head count and one inmate hadn't been taking her medication, just started to act out and then she just took it on herself just to leap up over my two officers in front of me to try to strike at me. and so we had to take her down and subdue her. >> corrections personnel who are usually great, especially the ones on the mental health unit, can't force medication. so if a woman refuses it and she's grossly psychotic and starting to fight with officers, kicking and screaming, they can't give her medicine so they
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have to tie her down. so it's working under adverse conditions with extremely ill people. >> dr. mary sue haber is a forensic psychologist and has worked in corrections for 35 years. >> there are less places for women to be treated after they leave here. and even if they are released, and go to a hospital, in a short-time treatment program, they come back. they sometimes commit crimes, deliberately, to get arrested because they don't have a place to sleep, they have not a meal to eat. and surviving on the streets is really tough. >> when we built the women's detention center, it was well under capacity. once we opened it up, we never could get back to capacity. there's just -- there was a lot of need for housing female inmates. >> in an attempt to decrease recidivism, miami-dade corrections offers counseling services, life classes and vocational programs. >> at the women's detention
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center, i believe the most effective vocational program we have here is our cosmetology because they have the opportunity to receive a certification and it does not print they received this in jail so then they can present that to a possible employer when they get out. >> hold your ridge, hold your ridge. start to clean out. swing it. that's it. see it closes up the openings? you got it? >> elizabeth valenza is the head instructor for the cosmetology program. >> i'm here for them and that's very important to them. i mean, that they would tell you straight out. they would tell anybody. that's good. to them, it's just very important that they have this class because otherwise they're upstairs for five hours in their cell doing nothing, except perhaps getting in trouble. take the comb out. clean it out. clean it out. and swing it back. >> to me, personally, it makes me feel good especially with miss liz because she teaches us a lot not only about cosmetology but also psychology and how to deal with people and different opinions and do positive things
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sometimes instead of just acting out. she talks to us about that a lot. >> okay. a little bit of movement here. for me it's magnificent. i don't mind coming in the double-locked doors when i come in. i don't mind not being able to hear the outside world. i don't mind working with the inmates. i don't mind working with the officers. i don't mind having to carry around a radio to call for help if i need help. i mean, all of it, for me, works. next on "lockup," the difficulties of being locked up with a stranger. >> you got to smell him, got to smell when he blows his nose and his toes stink. >> read a book, man. >> you read a book.
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miami-dade corrections, the sixth largest jail system in the united states, is like a small overpopulated city, one that never shuts down. the task of officially running these facilities can be daunting, meals, medications, rec time, visitations.
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it's a never ending trouble to properly care for a population of thousands. with most of their time spent locked behind bars, inmates at miami-dade corrections welcome the three hours a week they're allowed outside for exercise. >> we come out to the yard, try to do some stretching. that way we don't have to worry about the officers with us when we're in there and everything. this is one of our privileges right here. basically everybody looks forward to coming to the yard. >> we come out here for a stretch then run, run a little bit, do a little jumping jacks, do a little pushups, you know, do a little shadow boxing. try to get the lungs open. very important because we need that fresh air, you know what i'm saying, to open up our pores to sweat because we're confined 24 hours a day. >> but while inmates enjoy their
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time spent in the yard, they value weekly visits with family and friends even more. >> hold your arms. >> today angela abrons is visiting her boyfriend, inmate bernard jones. >> i met him here and i've been dating him for four months now. my brother is locked up here, too. and he put him on the phone one day thinking we wasn't going to click but we did. >> for angela, it's an emotional time. after four months of visiting with bernard through a glass window, today they will finally be allowed to make physical contact. >> that's my first time being able to touch him. >> hey. >> hey, babe. >> crazy.
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read my card. today is the first time that we have to touch each other. i just want you to know this day will never be forgotten. i love you and i always will. >> man, i love you. >> i love you too. >> why you can't sit close to me? >> ya'll can't sit like that. ya'll can't sit like that. >> it's not easy being with someone in jail. it's really not. no, i'm happy being with him, but it's not easy. but we doing a good job working out our problems. we will make it work. >> i try to get a visit five days a week. i try, but it's not allowed. >> steve nicolas and tarius grissom are cell mates at the turner gilford knight center,
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one of the newer miami-dade facilities. both men are fighting charges of lewd and lascivious conduct. while awaiting the outcome of their cases, they struggle to adapt to their close quarters. >> why are you listening to my radio? >> chill out. read a book, man. >> you read a book. >> i think this place is a little bit too close for a grown man to be in for a long period of time. >> yeah. come in here with him, got to hear him all day. battery going dead, he don't want to give me a battery because he want to talk. i'm tired of being in this room. i want to be out there. i can't use the phone because my people don't got collect. >> since we talking, then you got to be in the room with him. you got to smell him. you got to smell when he blow his nose. his toes stink. >> although the turner gilford night center is considered cleaner and safer than the main jail, both say they would rather
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serve their time at the older facility. >> the county, know it got rats and everything else, still better. there's no officers to micromanage us or to tell me to shut up or what to do. here, we've got to go behind the door because the officers say so. we get loud, we have to go behind the door because the officer say so. officers, officers, officers, officers. they have lockdown here so much it's pathetic. it's too micromanaged over here for me. >> where's your supervisor? okay. >> i think the biggest danger we face inside a jail setting is not being prepared, not being prepared to tackle whatever comes about and whatever we may need to do at any given time. >> with limited staff overseeing thousands of inmates, officers rely heavily on electronic surveillance. >> cameras are placed in every unit so they know that they are being watched. we tour each unit to see what is going on because sometimes we catch situations before the officer even have an opportunity to call. it's constant. it's constant. it's always movement. and there's always something happening. >> if central control spots a disturbance taking place in the jail, help is immediately
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dispatched. >> we call out for assistance on the radio that will be echoed and repeated through the central control system throughout the entire building and then everyone will respond to that troubled area. >> is your body alarm activated? you see a lot. you see it all. you never know what to expect. all we do all day is we sit here like a time bomb waiting for something to happen. >> at the metro west detention center, the largest of miami-dade's facilities, inmates are housed in dormitory-like settings with a correctional officer in the unit at all times. >> what's unique about having a facility of all men is that to me it's sort of easier to control at times. we can relate to a man on a one-on-one basis and you can calm the situation. >> man, you got to get off that bar. that's it for that. no more of that workout stuff. >> let's do it.
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chow. come on, guys. chow. >> depending on the nature of their crime, some inmates are kept in a maximum security unit away from the general population. >> i am a three-time loser. this makes my third time. once you're in the system, you will be back. >> eric johns was originally convicted of sexual assault. he completed his sentence but now he's back in jail for violating his parole. >> there's nothing in here that fascinates me or that makes me happy. this is as close to a living hell as i think i ever want to come. >> the hardest thing, from my point of view, is just the consistent isolation. >> 39-year-old darrell robinson was convicted of sexually assaulting a young girl and is currently appealing his case. >> my family hired a private attorney. he strongly suggested that i take a plea. telling me that if that little girl cries on the stand, you
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know, it could be over for you and you could go away for the rest of your life. and that was life in prison without any parole. and i was ignorant to the system. never even had a parking ticket. so i took a plea and that began the worstest nightmare of my life. i just lay in my bunk and i just read. that's all. i read and i look out. and i think about one day not being in here. i think about one day this will all be over with. ♪ america america ♪ ♪ god shed his grace on thee ♪ ♪ and crown thy good with brotherhood ♪
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♪ from sea to shining sea ♪ up next on "lockup," patrolling inmates on the job. >> the inmates have to be monitored at all times. we work with different types of tools, implements here, and inmates have to searched on a daily basis.
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cc like many inmates at miami-dade corrections, lazaro angarcia has had trouble
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adjusting to life behind bars. >> we have to wash our clothes. i can't go outside. i got to be stuck in here all day. can't do nothing. can't play no cards. can't do nothing. this [ muted ] is for nobody. this is for the birds, man. food, real nasty. but you gotta eat it. >> but while inmates complain about the food, the kitchen staff works around the clock to make sure no one goes hungry. >> go ahead, start it up, start it up. >> this is a 24/7 operation. we have three shifts. everyone works. and if we don't put a meal out, believe me, it's -- it will be trouble. >> every year, over 8 million meals are served. the kitchen at the turner gilford knight center alone is responsible for preparing 15,600 meals a day. >> it's decent food and it's
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certified by a nutritionist. so on the average, the food, the quality is pretty good. it's not that bad. we also serve medical diets for different people who are diabetics, people who have heart conditions, we prepare special meals for them as well. move this cart over here close to this cart. >> sergeant golis has worked in corrections for 15 years. he supervises the inmates who work in this kitchen. >> the biggest challenge for me personally as the sergeant here is to maintain the safety, security and integrity of the kitchen here at turner gilford knight center. take these two carts, move them back that way. we employ about 124 sentenced inmates. the inmates have to be monitored at all times. we work with different types of tools and implements here and inmates have to be searched on a daily basis. all of our utensils, knives,
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spoons, they're all accounted for on an hourly basis here. everything is secured to the tables via a cable. if for some reason we happen to lose a tool or something happens, we would search the kitchen, search the inmates. but we've never had a situation like that. most of the inmates are very cooperative. they understand they have a short amount of time left and basically we rarely have any problems here. >> i get along good with all of the officers, sergeant, corporals. you know, we're inmates and of course, they're the people in charge of us. i get along great with them. i don't answer back, you know? you just do what you're told. >> while most inmates working here can make up to $15 a week, the main incentive is to earn game time, an exchange in which they receive time off their sentences for days worked. >> you get one day for every six days you work. so more or less you have about five days a month. that's the maximum you could get a month is five days of game time. and you can get about 30 days total within 6 months. >> eric is serving time for burglary and grand theft. >> i got about two more months
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left and i'm out of here. i get to go home. when i get out, i look to get back with my family and i have a lot of making up to do. the longer you stay, the more you learn a lesson. so i definitely have been here a while. so i definitely learned my lesson. >> nobody really gets locked up forever. i mean, there's a small percentage of inmates who actually commit a crime, get locked up and stay locked up until they die. it doesn't really happen that way. >> graham? >> the vast majority of the inmates actually re-enter the community. so it behooves a correctional system to try to prepare those inmates for reintegration into the community. >> to accomplish this, miami-dade has implemented a life skills course. >> all right. let's begin our class. as always, we start the class off with prayer. i see a will to change. they want to change, but they need to be given some tools to change. if i saw you on the street, how could i determine whether you were a felon or not? >> edgar wright has been an instructor at miami-dade for 2 1/2 years. >> you'll be surprised of the
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intelligence behind these walls. if people had of taken the time to give that time and energy to something productive, they wouldn't be sitting here today. but you're still working with yourself. let's get a point from here. >> one thing i have learned is this place involves a lot of patience. i think ultimately what it boils down to is the same thing it's boiled down to since the beginning of time. choice. >> cedrick brown is awaiting trial on burglary charges. >> we all had a split second to make a choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing and most of us here, we picked the wrong thing. it's as simple as that. >> in my neighborhood -- >> right. >> -- money's basically nil. you've got so much unemployment, and we are not acquiring the funds to meet the demand. so how do we find patience? >> okay. patience right here then, we discuss here every week that you just can't jump out and say you're going to get a job. >> absolutely. >> you have to have the tools in
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place. >> absolutely. >> this is the opportunity for you to build up some discipline knowing that you're going to do certain things every day. so you're building a foundation that's going to allow you to make the right decisions when you get out of here. >> me personally, i think the program's helped. every time i've come here, the program has helped me. i have seen brothers graduate and get geds here. i've seen brothers go to task programs and work release programs and stay out of trouble. it works. it works. it may not work for everybody, but it does work and my belief is that if it helps 1 or 2 out of 100, then that's still helping society. because that one or two gonna help somebody else that's gonna help somebody else. next on "lockup" -- >> fix it in the tray. >> rehabilitation through shock incarceration. >> ready, ready, ready? eat. nnouncer ] you wouldn't leave your car unprotected. but a lot of us leave our identities unprotected. nearly half a million cars were stolen in 2012, but for every car stolen
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every year, over 100,000 people are arrested in miami-dade. a large majority are repeat offenders. >> that's where you're going now. you understand that? march. ahead. ahead. ahead. >> in an effort to help reform inmates and reduce the recidivism rate, miami-dade has implemented an intensive and rigorous military-type program called boot camp.
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>> why don't you leave me alone? >> why don't you leave me alone? >> why don't you let me go home? >> why don't you let me go home? >> started in 1995, boot camp only accepts 38 inmates every 2 months, many of whom have committed nonviolent crimes. ultimately, a judge decides if an inmate is eligible for the program. >> they have boot camp in lieu of sentencing. and they have to complete our program or they will be sentenced to whatever it is for the crime, whether it be 5, 10, 15 years, or sometimes even life. >> i would be facing 15 to 30 years on armed robbery and kidnapping. so i decided to come to boot camp instead of facing 15 to 30 years. >> there is a criteria to come here and not all of them may meet that criteria. there's the physical aspect of it and psychological aspect and they must pass these tests in order to qualify to come here. >> age is also a criteria for acceptance into the program.
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all inmates must be between 14 and 28 years old. >> when you get somebody that's new to the system, somebody that is not familiar with prison life, you can still grab a hold of them before they get too deep. >> officer alvin formally of the u.s. army is one of the drill instructors. >> my primary goal is to turn these youthful offenders hopefully into productive citizens so they can re-enter society. >> left, left. left, right. >> while in the program, participants are no longer considered inmates, they are cadets. >> the biggest shock to the cadets when they arrive is having to do something that somebody else tells them to do. drop your tray. ready, ready, ready. sit. >> on the street, you free to do anything you want to do. in boot camp, you got to ask for permission for any little thing you want to do. >> fix it in the tray. >> all right, sir. >> i say ready, ready, ready,
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eat! >> the first thing that hits them is we're in charge. we're going to tell them what to do, when to do it and how to do it. and the next thing that goes through their mind is what did i get myself into? >> the first phase of boot camp is four months of shock incarceration. up at 4:00 a.m., in bed by 9:00 p.m., the cadets are allowed no visits, no phone calls, and no communication with other inmates. >> you have to sound like thunder, move like lightning. it's pretty hard. the beginning's pretty hard. because you're not in shape when you first get here. and sometimes you sweat and get tired and you still have to move. there's no giving up in boot camp. >> a lot of these kids have never really had anybody to talk to. you'll find that their parents are incarcerated. they've been arrested. we have children that are coming from foster care. so to some of these cadets, we're the only parents that they have. >> we're making you a better person, right? >> yes, sir.
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>> phase two of boot camp is a two month work-release program in which the cadets improve their education or acquire jobs. >> what about schooling? >> sir, this cadet has plans to go to school to become an accountant if possible, sir. >> an accountant. wow. you'll be making a lot of money. >> i got to study a lot, sir. >> being in phase one is a lot of pressure from sun up to sun down. in phase two, mostly the pressure is about getting your head straight, getting to school if you want to go to school, getting a job if you want to get a job and preparing yourself for the outside world. >> james august was found guilty of burglary and grand theft, but because of boot camp, his sentence is only six years of probation. >> a lot of these people, they come here and they don't know that they can work. and they think, well, the only way i'm going to get money is if i sell drugs, if i rob, if i steal. you know, they've never really had a sense of pride in anything that they do. so when they begin to do something and they get proud of it, then it brings about a change in them. >> during the final phase of the program, the cadets are allowed
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to go home where they are monitored daily for several months. >> are you going to be all right? >> yes, sir. >> can't wait to go home? >> can't get to get a second chance at life, sir. >> there you go. good job. good job. good job. good job. >> we have drill instructors that are called case managers. and we go out to their home. we go to their job. we go to their school. wherever it is that they might be. to make sure they're not back on the block. you know, that they're not being re-introduced to drugs or gang activity like that. that they stay focused. that is really what separates our program from other programs. that's why we are successful. because we do take an active role in the individual once they leave this particular building. >> hey, you keep moving. get your head out of your tail there. >> aye-aye, sir. >> aye-aye, sir. >> aye-aye, sir. >> aye-aye, sir. >> 95% of the inmates enrolled in boot camp graduate from the program. and very few ever return to jail.
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>> 88% of our cadets do not come back to prison. 88% of them do make a turnaround. 88% of them do go on to be productive citizens of society. >> didn't think i could go as far as the instructors at this program perceive that we can go. >> you're not going to make a difference in everyone. we have platoons that roll in and out of here. 38 cadets to a platoon. you're not going to change 38 people. but you have to rejoice when you change just one. >> boot camp saved me. boot camp has saved plenty others. but you got to want to be saved. >> waiting on you. you're supposed to be sprinting. >> aye-aye, sir. >> bring it in. bring it in. bring it in. >> i think i can make it. i'm positive i'm going to make it. i have to make it. >> although miami-dade touts the successes of its boot camp, the majority of the rest of the population eventually returns. and this note -- after two years as director of the jail system, charles mccray stepped down in july 2006. that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler.
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due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. there are 2 million people behind bars in america. we open the gates, "lockup." >> you get close to somebody, but you can't trust that person because that person might be the one to stab you. >> down here on the floor, one of the inmates was actually brutally burned. >> you step back to the door. >> they can smell fear, especially in a female. >> this system needed a wake-up call. i broke my tv, made a couple shanks and assaulted them. >> i was covered from my neck down with blood. >> i have heard and i've seen what he's done to other officers. >> i would just like to get on
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