From the Inside of the Prison

Lester Holt found himself needing to address the issue of mass incarceration and found a change with his idea of the people behind bars.

These men are looking for some sort of redemption they acknowledge their crimes and realize what they have done is wrong.

What do we do when offenders may have been violent in the past but this crime happened at 16 and now the offender is still behind the bars at 45 or 50 years old?

Justice For All

Holt stayed in the prison for three days and two nights. This experience was used to bond with the people and get a story from inside a maximum security prison.

“We tried to be as unobtrusive with the cameras as possible, which allowed me to have organic conversations with people. I think we built a level of trust with those we spoke with.”

Despite the current political divide, Holt says prison reform is one issue that many Americans seem to agree on, so “this is an opportune moment” to air a program like Life Inside. 

The issue of addressing the problems is what is lacking in the system and how we address those issues going forward will determine on how we move forward with mass incarceration.

The Louisiana State Penitentiary where Lester Holt stayed

Once an inmate is in the system it is just as hard to get out. That is one of the problem with the prison system in America. American holds the highest incarceration rate and this is due to the problems within the system.

The reason for this overpopulated incarceration rate leads to many different things drug laws and bail policies that criminalize poverty, to inadequate reentry services and employment discrimination against people who have been incarcerated

That adds up to 2.2 million people behind bars in this country, including more than 11 million people who move through our local jails each year, all at a cost of $80 billion every year. 

Holt saw these people that are behind bars face to face and realized each of them had a story that needed to be told.

“I found myself getting emotional at moments and kind of wrestling with the emotions sympathy and human compassion. But at the same time, recognizing that the vast majority of these people had taken a life or more than one life.”

We, as a society, loose track that each of these people behind bars are more than just the crime they committed.

The change has to start in the community and then the reforms continue in the courtrooms and to the prison themselves.

America has to begin to change in small communities in order to create the big change of prison reform.

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