Segments in this Video

Maine State Prison (07:10)


In the Unites Sates prison system, approximately 80,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement. Sgt. Michael Burns orients viewers to the special management unit and inmate behavior. Officers extract a man from his cell.

Part One: Fall 2013 (03:32)

Inmate Todd Fickett is in solitary for assaulting an officer; his mental state will decline. Inmates devise ways to communicate and pass contraband. (Credits)

Self-Harming Behavior (04:23)

Fickett inflicts serious wounds on his body; officers convince him to "cuff up" so they can safely get him medical care. Inmates clean the blood from his cell.

Using Solitary as Punishment (04:08)

Some states are reducing the use of solitary confinement. Warden Rodney Bouffard discusses the use of solitary and reforms. Adam Brulotte explains his criminal history; he likes the "seg" unit.

Destructive Behavior (05:17)

It has been 25 days since Brulotte entered solitary and his mental state is declining. Inmates throw food and toilet paper; Brulotte floods his cell.

Rehabilitation Classes and G.P. (04:12)

Inmates in solitary confinement attend classes to learn self-management techniques. Those who behave well can return to general population. Samuel Caison discusses his criminal background, self-harming behavior, and cell extractions.

Solitary Confinement History (05:30)

Dr. Stuart Grassian explains the Quaker's introduction of solitary in the United States. In the 1970s, prisons experience significant overcrowding and a rise in the number of mentally ill prisoners. In 1983, violence erupts at Marion and the facility goes on lockdown.

Part Two: Winter 2014 (02:35)

Some inmates, including Fickett, are transferring from solitary to the mental health unit. Dr. Dan Bannish discusses learned behaviors.

Demonstrative Behavior (06:37)

While in segregation, Brulotte engages in a hunger strike; Bouffard outlines conditions for Brulotte's return to general population. Three days later, Brulotte engages in destructive behavior and officers extract him from his cell.

Solitary Confinement and Mental Function (03:16)

Prisoners often experience a type of delirium as a result of segregation; they also become intolerant of stimulation. In the 1950s, Dr. Harry Harlow's experiments with monkeys show similar effects of social isolation; they do not recover.

Recidivism and Reforms (04:53)

Studies show that those who experience solitary confinement are more likely to reoffend than those who do not. Caison discusses returning home after 11 months in "seg." At Maine State prison, dangerous inmates return to general population; Richard Stahursky discusses his criminal history.

Mental Health Unit (04:35)

Fickett has not engaged in self-harm for a month; he talks with his daughter on the phone. Bannish presents inmates with a puzzle; he reflects on interacting with the inmates.

Prison Reform Impact (02:37)

Bouffard's reforms reveal a decline in the segregation population and violent incidents. U.S. prisons are recognizing that solitary confinement is not a panacea.

Out of Segregation (07:32)

Inmates remaining in segregation, including Gordon Perry, are angry they are not in general population. Perry takes rehabilitation classes, but thinks they are a joke. The prison board recommends Perry for general population.

Mental Health Deterioration (05:32)

Brulotte remains in segregation for continued bad behavior; he cuts himself in an attempt to get a warmer cell. Officers remove him from his cell and take him to medical. Brulotte discusses his behavior; he enters the mental health unit until his release from prison.

Part Three: Winter 2016 (04:03)

Forty-six inmates remain in solitary confinement; Bouffard leaves the prison but reforms continue. Stahursky's murder of another inmate places the prison in crisis.

Mitigating Risk (02:56)

Joseph Fitzpatrick is the new commissioner of corrections. He opens two new units, one for serious mental illness and one for inmates transitioning from segregation to general population; 39 inmates remain in solitary.

Change in Prison Culture (03:29)

Fickett has been in and out of solitary for the last 18 months, but continues rehabilitation classes. Self-harming incidents at the prison are down 80% since 2012; Bannish focuses on treatment.

Structured Living Unit (06:31)

Fickett obtains the review board's approval to move into the transition unit; inmates must take behavioral change and anger management classes. Authorities suspect Perry of running a gang and brutally assaulting another inmate; he returns to "seg."

Caison's Prison Release (03:36)

Caison, now a white supremacist, reflects on leaving the prison; he has anxiety about going home.

Brulotte's Prison Release (06:15)

Brulotte reflects on what life has been like since his release and the effects of segregation. Police arrest him for unpaid court fines.

York County Jail, Maine (03:54)

Brulotte is in jail for unpaid fines; he is angry, anxious, and resentful. He describes his state of mind as "fight or flight mode."

Part Four: Summer 2016 (04:48)

The number of inmates in solitary confinement is down to 23; they are the most dangerous in the state. Stahursky does not think he is a psychopath. He makes a case for his release from solitary, but the board denies him.

Prison and Inmate Updates (03:20)

Within a six-year period, Maine State Prison's solitary population reduced from 100 to eight; over 30 states are engaging in solitary reforms. See an update on Brulotte, Fickett, Perry Stahursky, and Caison.

Credits: Last Days of Solitary (00:60)

Credits: Last Days of Solitary

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Last Days of Solitary

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



The U.S. is the world leader in solitary confinement, with more than 80,000 American prisoners being held in isolation. But in recent years, more than 30 states have begun to experiment with reforms aimed at reducing the use of solitary. Last Days of Solitary is a searing documentary that offers American television's most comprehensive exploration of this controversial practice, and goes inside one state's ambitious attempt to decrease its use. Filmed over three years, with immersive, unprecedented access to the solitary unit at Maine State Prison, this documentary portrays—almost in real-time — the psychological disintegration of human beings, and the challenge of how to deal with men considered the most dangerous and difficult in the state. It's a haunting portrait of life in solitary, and a unique document of a risky reform experiment.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL166816

Copyright date: ©2017

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