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tv   Lockup  MSNBC  August 2, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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the institution. that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. there are 2 million people behind bars in america. we open the gates. "lockup." >> the whole setting is like out of a movie, something i've never seen before, something i never thought i would be a part of. >> it's kind of depressing. this is prison. this is the first time i've ever seen it, so i'm kind of nervous about it. >> if somebody who commits premeditated first-degree murder tells you they have remorse, they are a liar.
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how are you going to be remorseful about something you intended to do? >> i lived my whole life as a criminal. i just finished a 12-year sentence in the northeast. i wasn't out a month and got new charges. >> i escaped from a secure compound, northeast correctional. i packed myself up in some boxes and shipped myself out. >> i got nothing to lose. they would rather die trying to escape than stay here. from. >> best thing to do, keep your eyes open. all facilities working at all times. because anything can happen at any time. >> if we see anything whatsoever funny, that inmate's not going out. we don't want what happened to one of the best officers here to happen to somebody else. >> the brushy mountain correctional complex in eastern tennessee serves a unique purpose in the state's prison system. for first-time inmates, it's often just a point of entry. for the most violent prisoners, it's the last stop. as a result, brushy mountain has an unusual population, young men facing the harsh reality of life without freedom and hardened
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lifers who find it difficult to remember anything else. >> brushy mountain. when you came up the road, you probably noticed how it just sits back in the hollow. you've got a bluff on one side, and it's surrounded by mountains. it's the last stop. the road ends at brushy mountain. and there's -- there's nowhere else to go. >> when i first come up, my heart was beating hard. you could see the windows open. you could hear the people yelling and screaming in here. i'm looking at it like, "what have i got myself into now?" >> this ain't no playground. there's killers here, have been for years. always will be. >> the most violent of brushy mountain's inmates are housed in the prison's maximum security unit. >> we'll take anyone from any other facilities. there are times when another institution needs to transfer an inmate that maybe caused a problem. brushy is known as the end of
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the line. if you come here, you stay with us. >> inmates in the max unit are locked up 23 hours a day with just one hour of yard time. there is no physical contact with other offenders. only designated workers or rock men are allowed outside their cells at other times. >> we work seven days a week. you come out, you feed, you clean whatever needs to be cleaned. you know what i mean? i've had to deal with individuals who have been in a lot of trouble. i'm going to have to deal with ones off in they mind a little bit. some days they might feel like when i let their flap down, they want to throw doo-doo on me that day or urine. but this is what we've got to deal with. >> i see you're the star. the star of the show! oh! >> we do a lot of work. you know what i mean? it's good to have the job. because like i said, we're on
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max. we're locked down 23-1. gives us the opportunity to get out of this cell. that what makes the job so good. >> while serving a 22-year sentence, gates was sent to the brushy mountain max unit for committing armed robbery at another facility. >> we was out in the pods. we needed the weed. they didn't want to give us weed. so we went in and took the weed. we went in with butcher knives and stuck it to their necks and took their weed. that's how we do it. >> the inmates at brushy mountain's max unit have exhibited extreme violence before or after arriving in prison. >> they just don't care. they would rather try to cut you as soon as look at you. because they just -- they don't care and they have nothing to live for. >> i never killed anyone without warning, even my mother. i had warned her and warned her and tried to avoid the situation.
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>> it was the cold-blooded killing of his own mother that first landed stephen hughley in prison in 1986 when he was just 18 years old. >> we had had problems for years. and it just finally reached a head. a girl that i had a date with called there. and when i answered the phone, my mother, she come out of her bedroom and screamed, "is that another one of your little whores calling here?" and it was just like i snapped. i told the girl i had a date with, i said, "i'll be out there to get you in a little bit, i'm fixing to kill this bitch." and i hung up the phone and i went and got a rifle and shot her. then i carried her and dumped her in the river and went on my date. >> hughley was given a life sentence for killing his mother. but five years later while incarcerated at a different facility, he killed again. >> it was june the 30th of 1991
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when i stabbed another inmate 67 times. >> after receiving a life sentence for killing the inmate, hughley committed a second prison murder. he stabbed a counselor 36 times with a homemade shank. >> i mean, it had gotten to the point where he made so many derogatory statements toward me, so i sat down and i formulated a plan. the plan was to kill him, get the death penalty, use the state of tennessee's lethal injection as a means of suicide. i was walking toward him, and i had the homemade shank in my left hand. and i swung and i hit it through his right lung. and he fell off of the stool. and i was stabbing through his arms to get to his vital organs. i wanted to put so many holes in him that there was no chance he could survive. my philosophy has always been, if you put enough holes in them, they can't plug them all, and
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chances are they're going to die. >> hughley was sentenced to death for the killing of the counselor and transferred to brushy mountain. >> hughley represents a particular, i guess, challenge for the department. because not only did he kill on the outside but he's killed on the inside. >> with his execution date looming, hughley will soon be transported to death row. >> if somebody who commits premeditated first degree murder tells you they have remorse, they are a liar. flat. it's impossible to commit premeditated first-degree murder and turn around and say you have remorse for it. how are you going to be remorseful about something you intended to do? coming up, inmates enter prison for the first time and confront their worst fears. >> i never thought i'd end up at any penitentiary, much less brushy mountain.
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brushy mountain correctional complex serves as the initial intake center for new and returning prisoners throughout eastern tennessee. as many as 150 inmates per month arrive from county jail soon after sentencing. >> we might have a problem. >> whether they will stay at brushy mountain or be transferred to another state prison depends on the results of a classification process required of each inmate upon arrival. >> when we receive people from the county jail, we generally receive no records. we don't know who we've got, what they're capable of, whether or not they are going to need a lot of support. can they live in the general population in the prison or do they need special support? it's a safety issue for them. it's a safety issue for us. >> they are evaluated to see what their educational level is,
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what type of skills they have. and once they are classified, then we try to send them to an institution that will benefit them. >> when they first come in, they are brought through the trap gate, brought over here, which all their facial hair shaved off of them. they are strip-searched to make sure they've not got any drugs or weapons or anything like that. they will be taken up to our classification unit, processed, medical and classification does what they have got to do. >> this the first time i've ever been to the penitentiary. i've been here before visiting. but for the first time, i don't really know the emotion. maybe i'm a little numb in my head, but i'll be all right. >> need you on the scale there, please. >> 32-year-old jason rogers is about to begin a 24-year sentence for aggravated robbery. >> you're about 171. i need you to step right here and footprint.
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face the camera. >> i never thought i'd end up in any penitentiary, much less brushy mountain. that's not the type of person i am. you know. i might get thrown in jail for drinking or something, maybe a barroom fight or something like that, but not penitentiary stuff. >> once the offenders are identified and fingerprinted, they undergo an in-depth psychological exam. >> i just need to ask you a few routine questions. want to get a little history. jason, how did you get yourself into something like that? could you just briefly tell me what happened? >> well, basically, it was a drug deal that went bad. >> okay. jason, have you ever used much in the way of drugs? >> yeah, i've used drugs. >> 80% of the men i interview on intake will have either been under the influence or seeking money to be under the influence when they offend. these guys will say no, i'm not an addict, no, i'm not an alcoholic.
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i can handle my liquor. i can handle my pot. >> i've tried drugs but i'm not a drug addict. >> gee, it's gotten you arrested this many times, you've run over somebody, and now you're in prison. this doesn't look like it's working, to me. >> i'm just a country boy. i go to work, come home and drink a six-pack. that's basically about it. >> it's denial in the classic sense, that they are not giving you the truth. these guys have used those lines so many times, they now believe those lines. >> what kind of drugs have you had experience with? >> just like painkillers. >> okay. hydrocodone? >> yeah, and morphine. >> morphine. have you ever done oxycontin? >> yes, sir. >> okay. have you ever been through any treatment for drug abuse? >> no, sir. >> okay. do you think you might be interested in participating in something like that while you're here? >> yes, sir. >> okay. we'll have you up here monday,
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okay? >> okay. >> next is a counseling session designed to give new inmates a sense of what to expect in their daily lives at brushy mountain. >> i try to comfort the guys that first come in because most of them are scared. a lot of them won't admit it, but if they would, they are. just let them see a friendly face, tell them they are not going to get raped and beat up, things like that that they've been told. you're pretty much going to be in a two-man cell 23 hours a day. >> i've heard of that. >> you're not going to shower with eight or ten guys, there's not going to be 20 guys standing there watching you. you'll go in chow hall and eat. other than that, you'll pretty much be in your cell. >> not only is john terry an intake counselor, he's also an inmate. >> i'm a convict that's been locked up since 1982, and i've sat in that same chair that that man has. i know how much difference it can make if you have someone to talk to, someone you feel like is on your side. >> kerry is serving a life
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sentence for a murder he committed in his early 20s. >> we were out drinking, just out partying, having a good time and an argument broke out. you know. it started out, i thought we was going to get it squashed. we weren't going to. and then it just escalated, got out of hand. the guy was stabbed to death. it was a pretty brutal murder. you know. like i said, that's something i have to live with every day. i'd love to be out there and be with my family. but, you know, the bible says you reap what you sow. >> before they can be assigned to their new cells, the men must undergo one final step. >> you're good? >> i got a size 10. >> what size shirt do you need? >> 1x. only thing i found out, it's not like the movies. you know. that's basically what they told me. you don't have to go around worrying about who is going to
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jump out and get you on every little corner, stuff like that. >> eight hours after arriving, rogers faces his first night in the penitentiary. >> it's kind of depressing. this is prison. this the first time i've ever seen it, so i'm kind of nervous about it. i don't know, i'm kind of in awe right now. reality, yeah, that's what i'm feeling, reality. it don't feel the same, but i have to adapt to that. coming up -- >> guys have nothing to lose. they would rather die trying to escape than to stay here. >> inmates risk everything for a chance at freedom. >> i escaped from a secure compound, northeast correctional. i packed myself up in some boxes and shipped myself out.
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to escape than stay here. >> brushy mountain has had a long history of attempted escapes. and i guess this would be the most maximum security penitentiary in the state. >> michael king, serving a life sentence for murder, managed to break out of another tennessee prison in 1994. >> i escaped from a secure compound, northeast correctional. i packed myself up in some boxes and shipped myself out. i was part of a warehouse crew. i've taken yoga for several years, and i just squeezed myself in there. very cramped position. brought some water with me and everything else. about an hour and a half before they shipped me out, they put me in the back of the truck. then they took me to north carolina. they caught me while i was trying to get out of the truck. >> king was sent to brushy mountain's max unit. >> this is supposed to be the most secure building in the state. and that's why they house them
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here because they've got the wall around the outside. in between the stone wall and this building, we've got razor wire, chain-link fence plus the towers on the walls. so they don't really have an avenue to go out. we have certain inmates we have to move once a month from cell to cell to make sure they're not trying to tunnel out or something of that nature. >> i guess they believe that i'm an extreme escape risk because of my military background and because of my escape attempt. they -- at one time i was down in nashville at river bend and they found some homemade explosives in my cell, and that kind of didn't help my case at all. and i've been on max for 12 years. sometimes in my rare moments i think i'd want to go again, sometimes not. if i thought i'd have a chance to get back in court, maybe i'd stop thinking about it. every man wants his freedom. >> michael king could spend the rest of his life in max, but he is far from the most notorious escapee at brushy mountain.
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the most famous escape was made by james earl ray nine years after he killed civil rights leader martin luther king jr. ray had been an escapee from missouri state penitentiary when he assassinated king. >> the main thing he was interested in was escaping. now, when i first met him, i was interested in escaping too. we got into a couple of plots together that never worked out. one we were going to go through the roof of the old auditorium where they showed movies. we did get the hole cut but it was discovered before we had a chance to use it. we didn't get caught, we didn't get locked up over it. they found it and tightened security in that area. >> in 1977 ray plotted another escape with james slagle and two other inmates. the plan was to climb the outer wall using a makeshift ladder crafted from chains. the inmates knew the tower guard closest to the wall took an afternoon nap. but slagle feared ray's high profile would lead them to the escapees.
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>> i said, james, you've got no pickup, no car. as soon as your foot touches down, they know it's you, there will be a million cops in this valley and there's no way you'll get away. it's a futile effort and i don't believe in wasting my energy, so i just sat and watched it happen. that's the corner where james and spider monkey went over. the fence was not here at this time. it was a mountain serving as the fourth wall of the penitentiary. james went over, the number one man. doug went over. spider monkey climbed it. he was supposed to pull the chain ladder up. but when he jerked, he fell backwards and fell off the wall. the ladder fell back down. there at the horseshoe pit, doug taylor was pitching horseshoes. he's watching these guys go over. no one's getting shot, no one seems to care. i'm serious. he just went -- he run over, he went over. about that time, a guy running laps. he had on running shorts and tennis shoes. he comes around and he saw doug
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go over. he stops and running in place. he shrugged, too, and he went over. >> 15 minutes later as the seventh inmate was climbing over, a guard in another tower finally took notice and fired a shot, striking the last escapee in the shoulder. >> the way it used to work here, they had a big steam whistle. when they would have an escape, they would blow the whistle. when you hear the whistle blow, you get a shotgun and your dog and go to the woods. because the inmates, back then there was a $25 bounty on the inmates. >> wind three days, all the men were captured. james earl ray was discovered hiding in heavy brush, not far from the prison. eventually new security measures were installed including razor wire and motion sensors. if a prisoner gets past these deterrents, they still must escape brushy mountain's blood hounds. >> this is canine daisy. she's about 2 years old, and she's the best tracking dog we have right now. if an inmate leaves here
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especially from behind the wall, because they're going to go straight up the mountain, one way or the other. that's where she would come into play. that's basically the only way we could find them in the mountains with one of these dogs because it's so thick and everything. there's nowhere to go. you can wander around for days in these mountains and be lost. they are silent trackers. a lot of people is misled by these dogs. they watch movies on tv. you see a guy with two or three dogs in each hand chasing an inmate. the dogs are all barking and stuff. these dogs don't bark. they keep their nose to the ground and they track. that's all they do. she will pick up on a human scent and follow it until you either loses it or you find the person you're looking for. the only way they can make a clean break, in my opinion, with her on their trail is for them to get in a car. and that's it. coming up -- the most dangerous job for brushy mountain's correctional officers. >> anything can happen at any time on the road.
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best thing to do is just keep your eyes open and all your facilities working at the same time. and later, condemned inmate hughley leaves brushy mountain possibly for the last time. od w. and you can enjoy every single bite. eat loud. live loud. super poligrip. seals out more food. ♪ super poligrip holds your dentures tightly in place. so you never have to hold back. laugh loud. live loud. super poligrip. get strong all day hold.
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but a little less crazy. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. officers of the brushy mountain correctional center in eastern tennessee know the importance of staying vigilant
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at all times. though the inmates' lives are tightly controlled, even the most routine activities can suddenly turn deadly. >> make sure you've got everything out of your pockets. >> we've got 47 going out on chains and they have all got to be bagged and ready to go by 9:30. so usually the chain mornings are rush, rush. >> every day a number of brushy mountain inmates are transported either to court or to other state prisons. correctional officers call this transportation process going out on chain. >> what we do is we call the blocks one at a time, bring them in. they bring all their property and then we pack all their property in a green bag that's numbered, and we shake them down and they sit there and wait until the chain bus arrives. >> these prisoner transports are one of the most dangerous times for staff. >> step right through here. >> they don't know until that morning. that morning when we call for chain riders, then they know
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they're leaving. because you've got security issues there. if they know the day before, they can make a phone call and say, hey, the bus will be going this route, we'll be going to morgan county, help me out, or something. >> take that, set it over in that baggy. >> when it comes to transporting inmates, chain bus officers take no risks. >> follow me. >> if you notice we put leg irons and shackles on. right, there they're sitting back there behind two caged doors anyway. >> behind those seats back there. they all recline. don't have to spit on the carpet, stewardess will be with you in a minute. i don't know what kind of movie we'll be showing but i guarantee you'll like it. >> lordy, he's crazy. >> anything can happen anytime on the road. you don't know whether you're going to come up on a wreck or whether it's been staged, or whatever, you know. best thing to do is keep your eyes open and all your faculties working at the same time. because anything can happen at
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any time. >> we don't want what happened to one of the best officers here to happen to somebody else. >> prison officials believe that an advance phone call made by a brushy mountain inmate ultimately led to the killing of veteran officer wayne cotton morgan. >> his job was to transport inmates in and out of the facility to outside locations, to other facilities, to court, to hospital runs, to funeral visits. and his main function was a transportation officer. >> one year prior to our visit, officer morgan was assigned to take inmate george hyatte to the roane county courthouse. >> i knew the inmate for several years here at the institution. he wasn't your common, everyday inmate. he was very manipulative. he could get things done, and you not know he was working your case unless you watched him very close. >> for officer morgan, the trip to the courthouse was uneventful.
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>> as they were exiting court and getting in the security van to come back, the inmate's wife drove up behind the van and she jumped out with a weapon to assist in getting her husband to escape. and she shot officer morgan. and they did escape. >> not wearing a bulletproof vest, officer morgan was killed. >> it was probably around about 9:30, quarter till 10:00. we were listening on the radio, which a whole lot wasn't coming over. we all started realizing there was something majorly wrong. i was shocked. usually we don't show our feelings here at work. but on that day on august 9th, we -- not too many people had control. >> hyatte and his wife, jennifer, were apprehended 36 hours later and charged with first-degree murder. >> when officer morgan left here
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that day with the inmate, never thought they wouldn't come back. but that's one thing that we do, our staff. they put their life on the line every day. >> anything can go on. ambushes can be set up. what happened to cotton, the unexpected, can really go down at any time. >> prison officials believe hyatte used a smuggled cell phone to orchestrate the deadly ambush. cell phones are now considered dangerous contraband at brushy mountain. >> this is something the department has furnished us in the regions. it's an orion cell phone detector. it looks for microprocessor circuits that are in all cell phones. this will detect cell phones whether they are turned on or off, active or not. okay. i'm getting an indication right here. unfortunately, it also picks up walkmen, things like that. so 99 times out of 100, it might give us a false indication.
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but the one time we do find a cell phone, you know, it will all have been worth it. >> with the death of officer morgan, brushy mountain staff are always on high alert. >> we was security-minded anyways, but i look harder. we all look harder. if we see anything whatsoever funny, that inmate is not going out. and everybody knows there may be something up. >> morgan's fellow officers still think about him every day. >> he was a good one. you know, he's watching over all of us, and he's going to make sure that everything is all right. and we loved him, and he loved all of us, so we know he's here because we can still feel him in our hearts.
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ask your doctor about premarin vaginal cream. while brushy mountain's most dangerous and violent inmates are segregated from the rest of the population in one-person cells, the majority of inmates spend close to 23 hours a day in two-person cells. >> they have got two beds, a little stool for you to sit at. they got a sink, toilet facilities, and a shelf to put some books. it's very close. two inmates in there really doesn't have a lot of room to move around. >> living in such small quarters, it is essential that inmates learn how to get along. >> a lot of people don't do it like that. a lot of people, what's theirs is theirs. they don't want other people to touch it.
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we don't do things like that. we've known each other over a year now. we've done time together. we get along. it's just not a problem. food, cigarettes, whatever we got, both of us, doesn't matter. we both got to live in here. there's no sense being asked about it. he needs something, he's got it. i need something, i've got it. it's a lot easier to live that way. >> sky bishop is serving time for aggravated assault that began over an argument for a parking space. >> he was smarting up so we got into a fight with a guy and ended up stabbing him and running his buddy off the road, the interstate, and i got six years for it. >> bishop's cell mate, jason davis, is serving a 17-year sentence for attempted murder. >> two people came in to rob me, and i shot them both, one with a .9 millimeter, one with a bow and arrow in the gut. in the state of tennessee you cannot shoot people regardless, in your house, on your property, anything. they come to rob you, they say to run, call the law, whatever. you cannot defend yourself in the state of tennessee no more.
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>> but at the time davis was on an eight-day high from methamphetamine and didn't realize the intruders were actually his friends. >> once you're up that long on a drug you actually hallucinate. when they came in, i have friends running in and out of this house all the time. it was a bachelor house. you know what i'm saying? basically i thought they came to rob me. i done run them off once that day. when they came back, i thought they was trying to get me. that's the kind of person i was on the street. if i thought you was trying to get me, i was going to get you first. >> i've known him for over a year. that's my buddy right there. i haven't had any problems. we always get along. i had him moved down here. he wanted to move in. >> it has been four days since jason rogers arrived at brushy mountain. despite his initial anxieties he's adjusting to life behind bars. >> actually, you caught me on another good day. i got out of a smaller cell and got put in a bigger one. i had a cellmate up there, they
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moved me into a cell with another guy up there for one night last night. now i have another cell mate today. so far it's good. it's always good to be around somebody. you know, you can talk, communicate, instead of just sitting there and gathering your thoughts. they said i'd be classified to maybe here, maybe to another penitentiary within 30 days. sometimes the waiting list can be eight months. there's really no telling how long i'll be here. >> that's my daughter. she'll be 8 next month. >> antwain sales is determined to maintain a close relationship with his daughter in spite of facing a 15-year sentence for aggravated assault and drug charges. >> she tells me when i'm on the phone with her, first thing that comes out of her mouth, da i miss you. know what i'm saying? i want to be out there where i can touch and hold her, get her up in the morning to go to school, take her places, to the park, swimming, you know.
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things like that. i mean, it worries me. it really do. you know, because that's my world. that's the only child i have, and i love her with all my heart. >> sales shares a cell with another parent, ashanti henry. >> yeah, i'm just trying to wipe this sweat off. i want to tell my family i love them. still strong. i'm going to try to come out of this madness soon. baby ashanti, stay strong. ray ray, stay strong. quaid, stay strong. i love you all. i'm trying to get back to my family. i've got a business on the streets. i can be making money. i own a candy truck, mobile candy truck selling coffee, candy, potato chips, white t-shirts. >> but when henry was arrested, he was in possession of more than just candy and t-shirts. >> i ended up in prison for 30 rocks of crack cocaine and 150 ecstasy pills.
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i'm currently serving 14 years for it. >> another thing that keeps me going is these right here, letters from my family. >> brushy mountain receives hundreds of letters a day addressed to inmates. but first every piece of mail is scanned for materials prohibited by the tennessee department of corrections. >> we've had panties come through. we've had letters with perfume and then pubic hair with body fluids. of course, they're allowed to have pictures. some pictures we do have to deny if it's nudity. >> it's real graphic. >> the officer found two nude pictures. >> a lady in columbia sent those. >> columbia. she writes some -- she's missing him.
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she's missing him bad. we'll reject it, and he'll be sent a letter stating why it was rejected, and then we'll return it back to her. >> along with receiving mail, inmates also look forward to the limited time outside their cells. >> yummy. this is yummy. >> they are brought out to go to lunch, took back in and locked down again until that afternoon when we have the evening meal. then go to the yard for an hour and then they are locked back down for the rest of the day except for ten minutes while they take a shower. >> the cool air. it's so hot, the air conditioning and the cold water, that's what i come down for, really. you can't be doing a lot of talking. they will say you're not eating. talking instead of eating. >> you've got to eat real fast. i think they only give you about 20 minutes to eat. they don't allow too much talking. they want to us hurry and up
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keep moving. >> following the meal, brushy mountain inmates get to spend one hour in the prison yard. with such limited freedom, inmates spend their time in a variety of ways. india mcdowell spends his time braiding other men's hair. >> i do this for a living. sometime i might do it for cheap. usually about five hours. sometimes i might do it. >> how much does it cost? >> usually about $5. >> how about him? >> he got a discount. i'm a christian. i like to help other people out. >> i let him do the style he wants to do. stylist's choice. >> right now i'm on a different schedule. i just got to do something easy. knowing i know i can get through it quick. we get out from lunch at the right time, we don't, we get about 30, 45 minutes. sometime it get cut even shorter. >> most inmates prefer lifting weights in the prison exercise yard. >> you know what i'm saying, some people sit around and get lazy.
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you don't want to get lazy. you want to go out and be active when you do get out. i mean, you know, you want to work out and have a perfect body when you do leave here. >> push, push. push, push. good one. come on. you want another one? let's get another one in. push, push, push, push. >> a lot of these guys, they motivate you to lift those kind of weights. get off the bar. get off the bar. come over here and mess with the big dogs. >> move, yeah! get that money, man. get that money, man. yeah, man. get that money. >> you know, you try to keep your mind on the streets and your family and things of that nature. every time you turn around, you see bars, things like that. so, you know, this little hour we get, it relieves a lot of stress. a whole lot. coming up -- steven hughley prepares to meet his fate. >> he told me he's ready to go, he wants to die. because in his case, he knows the rest of his life he'll be confined every minute to this one tiny little cell. ♪
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the brushy mountain correctional complex is one of the oldest prisons in tennessee. its roots in this rural section of the state run deep. >> brushy mountain is in my blood. i've been around it my whole life. my father used to bring me up here at 4 or 5 years old to get a haircut back when it was a full max institution. >> my grandfather, father and uncle and my husband have all worked here. >> i mean, you've got just family members and cousins and dads and brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. it's a part of our everyday life. >> the roots run equally as deep for some of the inmates. >> everybody in my family has been through this place. brothers, cousins, uncles, grandfathers, fathers. they have all been through here. >> this is charles dikes' fourth time in prison. he's facing five years for auto
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theft. >> i just finished a 12 year sentence in the northeast. i wasn't out a month and caught my charges. i lived my whole life as a criminal. most people, they fight with that every day. they say i'm going to get out, i'm going to do this. i'm going to get out and do that. they can't come to grips with themselves and realize what they have become is this. this is what they breathe, they eat, they feel. just because they go home, don't mean they leave. their mind is still here. >> today dikes is being transferred to another state prison and has no regrets. >> what's your number? >> 375382. >> what's your birthday? >> 1/21/77. i'm packed up and ready to go. >> ready to get out of here? >> yeah. >> why is that? >> this place sucks. >> exit. >> you don't try to better yourself while you're here, then you're stuck.
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you don't learn nothing from coming to prison unless you put your feet in the concrete and go to work. that's all i know. i mean, this is what i know. my fate's real, you know. if i get out this time, god only knows what will happen. i'll more than likely be back. >> because brushy mountain is an intake and processing center for tennessee's prison system, dikes, like most of the inmates, eventually transfers to other facilities. ♪ i was 18 years old >> some, like brian lautenslager, are part of a permanent population slated to serve their entire sentences at brushy. >> i've been in prison all together 18 years. i come in when i was 18, got out at 24, came back at 25, now i'm 36. going on 37. >> lautenslager is serving a 90-year sentence for robbery and criminal intent to commit murder.
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>> this is a song i wrote a few years ago. every year i change the amount of years it's been since i've been in prison. ♪ it's been 18 long years ♪ in this old cold prison sometimes i feel so all alone ♪ sweet mountain of home ♪ ♪ so far away ♪ i'm lonesome and blue ♪ that's all i can say >> one of the oldest inmates in brushy mountain's permanent population is james slagle. slagle is serving a 318-year sentence for murder and has been here longer than any other inmate. >> i've been in the tennessee prison system without getting out, i started my 39th year three weeks ago today. and i spent 24 years of that time here at brushy mountain.
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i decided, jim, you've got to become something else. and so i looked into me and saw the ugliness. i saw the hatred, the violence, the misery. and i said i'm going to be something else. i am going to become a thinking man. by the way, that's hard to do. but i spent years reading, studying, looking within myself. i'm one of the most fortunate men that ever lived. >> slagle runs the library and provides legal help to other inmates. >> where they made the error on your time, your two sentences are running concurrently, which means they run together. however, when they give you your jail credit, they only put the jail credit on the one sentence and forgot to put it on there. somehow they have mistaken me for a wise man and think i can provide them insight into their problems and possible solutions, which i try. but i always tell them, this is
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my answer. it may not fit you, because you're not me. but the main thing to do is face the situation, accept what it is, and try to find a reasonable, honest, positive way to get through that situation and come out improved on the other side. >> one inmate who confided in slagle over the years is stephen hughley. hughley was sentenced to life for killing his mother and given a death sentence for murdering a prison counselor. slagle knows him as something other than a cold-blooded killer. >> i discovered a side to steve, maybe no one else ever saw it. you wouldn't believe who his favorite musician is. barry manilow. i mean, the music, the soft, sentimental love songs. that's his favorite music. his favorite actress is shirley temple.
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this sounds so dumb, but he's one of the gentlest, warmest, kindest human beings. >> as our cameras were rolling, hughley's execution date was only days away. >> he told me he's ready to go. he wants to die because in his case he knows the rest of his life would be confined, you know, every minute to this one tiny little cell. and he's just tired. he's tired of the loneliness, the emptiness, the frustration, the hopelessness, so he prefers death. >> today hughley is being transferred to tennessee's death row located at river bend maximum security institution more than 100 miles away. >> we're getting rid of one of our most dangerous inmates. we just have to make sure everything sets in motion right and no mistakes are made. because when you deal with an inmate like that, mistakes cost you.
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i asked him how he was feeling today, and the statement he made was, "i'm alive," and, you know, he jokes about that. he jokes about it all the time. >> my life fits in two bags. >> see you later. all right. all right. that's part of prison life. you don't get attached to inmates. steve's a likable guy, but he's a very dangerous individual, and that's just part of it. you know, you see inmates come and go every day. and to me he's just one of the inmates that's come and gone. >> one week later, stephen was hughley was granted a stay of execution when he decided to resume the appeals process. he may have to wait out his appeals at another facility. in 2005 tennessee department of corrections announced brushy mountain will be closed. the historic prison will be replaced by a more modern and cost efficient facility, one designed to house more than
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2,500 inmates. that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. this sunday a potential po political bomb shell. word that joe biden is seriously considering taken on hillary clinton. we have the latest on what we really know. also game on. it's republican debate week. >> it was hit trump. hit trump, and i am in the lions den. >> how will the others deal with the wild card donald trump? the man himself donald trump joins me this morning. the latest c


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