Segments in this Video

Crime and Punishments: Overview (02:49)


This episode will examine who goes to prison, for how long and under what conditions.

Jail vs. Prison and Parole (06:42)

Moderator Charles Nesson asks panelists to describe conditions in jail, state and federal prisons, and parole. Each system runs independently and are accountable to the governor and legislature.

Prison Population Control (12:48)

Nesson describes a scenario in which the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit claiming Piedmont Prison’s crowded conditions are cruel and unusual, resulting in a federal court order mandating the release of prisoners. Panelists discuss the potential release of violent offenders, the legal obligation to treat prisoners humanely and factors that delay due process.

Choices Based on Space (10:55)

Available prison space can dictate what types of criminals go to jail. Bronx County District Attorney Mario Merola, ABC News Vice President David Burke and other panelists discuss having to make choices on who to prosecute, the cost of building and maintaining prisons, alternatives to incarceration, and economic bias within the court system.

Media Coverage and Societal Impact (08:02)

The panel considers the media’s right to report on prison conditions and related safety concerns. Members discuss the impact news cameras have on prisoner behavior, the Attica Prison riot of 1971, pressures that worsen conditions and the societal impact of selective leniency on offenders.

Ethics of Death Penalty (10:24)

Nesson presents a situation in which a 27-year-old inmate who is already serving time for murder kills a prison guard. Former U.S. Attorney General Rudy Giuliani characterizes the scenario as a slam dunk for capital punishment. The panel discusses the ethics of the death penalty and the role of the media.

Analysis with Potter Stewart (02:59)

Fred Friendly and retired Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart discuss the constitutionality of the death penalty and limits to how it may be implemented. Stewart alludes to the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia and elaborates on protections of the Eighth and 14th amendments.

Credits: Crime and Punishments (01:43)

Credits: Crime and Punishments

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Crime and Punishments

Part of the Series : Constitution: That Delicate Balance
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Cruel and unusual punishment, from overcrowding in prisons to the death penalty, is debated by U.S. Court of Appeals judge Arthur Alarcon, Federal Bureau of Prisons director Norman Carlson, government leaders, civil libertarians, and journalists.

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL160415

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.