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North Country Prisons: Inside and Out

This award-winning special series from Brian Mann looks at life within North Country prisons, from both sides of the bars.

Keeping Prisoner Families Together (6:22) Studies show that the corrections system benefits when inmates have regular family contact, but the downstate families of inmates in North Country prisons must struggle against distance, poverty and negative attitudes to keep their families together.

Mandatory Sentencing and the Prisons (5:10) The New York prison population has increased five-fold since the implementation of mandatory minimum sentencing that began with the Rockefeller-era drug laws. The ongoing expense and social consequences of the prison boom are causing many to revisit the effectiveness of such laws.

The Politics of Prisons (4:52) So many minority prisoners are now counted as residents of the rural (and largely white) communities where they are incarcerated that they may be skewing the redistricting process and the distribution of state and federal aid in New York.

Corrections as a Career (7:24) While prison work is few people's first career choice, the good pay and benefits make a career in corrections attractive to many in underdeveloped rural areas of New York. The hazards of the work, both physical and mental, can take a grim toll on guards and their families.

Dannemora: Portrait of a Prison (10:02) The prison wall of the 3000-inmate prison at Dannemora dominates the center of town. Brian Mann goes inside to see how a modern maximum-security prison functions as a self-contained community divided into competing and cooperating groups.

Capital Punishment: A Life and Death Debate, pt.1 (13:33) The return of the death penalty to New York has reawakened the debate over the appropriateness of capital punishment and the evenhandedness of its application. Brian Mann talks to Mark Klaas, father of Polly, who was raped and murdered by a repeat violent offender. He is an victims' rights activist and an advocate of capital punishment.

Capital Punishment: a Life and Death Debate, pt 2 (14:54) The return of the death penalty to New York has reawakened the debate over the appropriateness of capital punishment and the evenhandedness of its application. Brian Mann talks to David Kaczynski, the brother of the Unabomber, death row inmate Ted Kaczynski.

Recidivism: Closing the Revolving Door (7:17) The majority of incarcerated felons are or will become repeat offenders. A number of programs try to break the pattern of recidivism. Brian Mann talks to counselors and inmates about beating the odds.

Brian Mann's series North Country Prisons: Inside and Out won the following awards for excellence in broadcasting in 2001:

First Place, Division B, Continuing Coverage: Public Radio News Directors, Inc
First Place, Class 3, Continuing News Coverage: New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association
Best Radio Investigative Story: Syracuse Press Club