Watch: Former Guards and a Prisoner Recall Life in a Private Prison

“You can lose your sanity working in a prison system.”


In December 2014, Mother Jones senior reporter Shane Bauer started a job as a corrections officer at a Louisiana prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s second-largest private prison company. Read Bauer’s gripping firsthand account of his four months as a prison guard here. His investigation is also the subject of a six-part video series.

Below are three extended interviews that go deeper into the lives of two former guards and a former prisoner who Bauer met at Winn Correctional Center. In the first video, Jennifer Calahan talks about the challenges she faced and sacrifices she made when she worked long hours as a prison guard:

 

Life in prison was a matter of survival, explains “Corner Store,” a recently released Winn inmate. (He asked that his nickname be changed.) He sits by the Mississippi River and recalls the violence and sexual assaults he witnessed behind bars.

 

Dave Bacle, who was Bauer’s work partner at Winn, explains why guards felt unequipped to confront dangerous incidents inside the prison:

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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