tv Lockup Raw MSNBC April 2, 2016 2:00am-2:31am PDT
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. >> msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons, into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen. "lockup: raw." for the uninitiated, or in this case the unincarcerated, there is sometimes confusion between prison and jail. prison is only for convicted felons. jails also house convicts. but only those awaiting transfer
to prison or serving short-term sentences, usually less than a year. >> listen up for your name. >> stand on the footprints for me, please. >> but most jail detainees have pending court cases and have been denied or are unable to make bail. >> put your stomach on the wall. stomach on the wall. hands behind your back. >> there is another type of jail detainee, as well, and they're often the most dangerous, those who have just been arrested, sometimes still drunk, high on drugs or fresh from committing a crime. >> my biggest challenge in here is dealing with the varieties of people that come in from the streets. we have a lot of mental patients. a lot of the inmates that are arrested have psychological problems and they haven't taken their medication for a long time. >> are there voices talking to you? >> yes, there are. >> you do hear that? >> yes. i do. >> okay. how long have the voices been talking to you? >> for a while. >> for a while. >> sometimes they are unavoidable.
people that come in here have nothing to lose. they are coming in here on their third strike and they're angry at the officers that arrested them. sometimes they take that aggression out on us. >> our crews have come to expect the unexpected. >> this is how we wash our clothes, in the sink. >> at the miami-dade county jail we ran into a young inmate who was washing his clothes in the sink in his cell. and he was an interesting looking kid, so we asked for an interview. >> this for the birds, man, this [ bleep ] for the birds, getting locked up. >> the interview was not unlike a lot of interviews we conduct with jail inmates. had a lot to do with lazaro complaining about conditions. >> crackers ain't playing, man. they're giving out permanent homes across the courthouse. [ alarm ringing ] >> and the next thing we know, officers were running in telling us we had to grab our gear and go. there was some kind of disturbance going on and they were locking down the floor.
that's one of the things that's makes jails really interesting. there really is a strong sense that anything can happen at any time. >> and nowhere is that more true than behind the walls of this sprawling jail complex that serves america's largest city. >> while new york city is the safest large city in america, and crime has been going down, one of the reasons that crime is going down is because the police do make a lot of arrests, and everybody who gets arrested and who doesn't get bailed out comes to us. >> get arrested in the big apple, and you're almost assured of a trip to rikers island, a 400-acre penal colony on the east river, directly under the flight path of laguardia airport. connected to the mainland by a narrow two-lane bridge, the island is home to an average of 14,000 inmates in ten different
facilities. >> every criminal who has committed the worst act -- >> bring all your property with you. >> -- is coming through here if they come from new york city. >> they come off of the streets. they are tired. they're dirty. they're hungry. and you saw everything there, whether it was somebody who was from wall street who was charged with fraud or whether it was the lowest of the low of the drug dealers. >> get between 80, 90 admission a day. around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. >> what size do you wear? >> 8 1/2. >> guess what? 10 is going to be your lucky number. these are air giulianis. you can have them, my brother. >> never stops. the city never sleeps. >> while cell inspections are routine at all the jails and prisons profiled on "lockup," they were conducted with a military-like show of force at rikers.
first, the emergency response team marches to the cell block in full riot gear, armed with high-voltage stun shields. they secure the area and provide an intimidating presence for any inmates who might be tempted to resist. then, a team of correctional officers moves into the cells to begin their inspections. >> the last time they came in here, went in everybody's cell and took everything out of their cell and threw it on the tier. after it was done, there was 48 people's property mixed up in the middle of the floor, personal clothes, legal work. what's important, they said, this is how we dish you.
>> while the inspections anger many inmates, they are conducted for safety. the primary goal is to uncover weapons. and they're often successful. >> contraband weapons, approximately 5 inches long, sharpened metal, found in the bed frame. >> i need an inspection team to 955. >> during our stay on rikers island, one weapon that wasn't found was used in a double stabbing involving two inmates. >> yesterday at approximately 1140 hours, we had a stabbing. >> inmate baez assaulted king who was sitting at one table. inmate birth braithwaite, who we believe was associating himself with the bloods. had his back sitting at another table. inmate baez removed the shank from his pocket, turned around, and stabbed inmate braithwaite in the back. >> did we recover the weapon? >> yes, we did, sir. >> what type of weapon? >> it was a shoe support from a work boot that was sharpened. it went in three-quarters of an
inch, at which time he removed the weapon from his back and stabbed inmate baez. >> so, both inmates received puncture wounds? >> yes, sir. >> to combat such jailhouse attacks corrections officials often prosecute the offenders with new charges in addition to the ones that landed them in jail. >> carlos baez? >> yeah. >> we're placing you under arrest for assault. place your hands behind your back. >> when he was put in the holding cell, we were absolutely amazed that he actually confessed to us. >> i stabbed one of the bloods in the back. >> we were shocked that he would admit to us, on camera, that he actually stabbed another prisoner. >> and when he felt it, he pulled it out, he attacked me and stabbed me in the lower part of my abdomen. >> rodney brathwaite, the other inmate also arrested in the incident, was put into a holding cell next to baez. he denies being a gang member to our producer. >> i just want to know why. why he stabbed me.
for what? i don't even know him. >> he knows why because he's running with them. >> running with who? >> running with them guys, they were trying to set me up. that's why. >> i never even spoke to the guy. >> do you know the name of the guy you stabbed? >> no, don't know him. >> you just know that he was part of a gang? >> yeah. >> is that a reason to stab somebody? >> they'll both be charged with penal 120-05, which is assault in the second degree, as well as criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth. if found guilty, they could receive 3 1/2 to 7 in addition to what they're incarcerated with already. >> coming up on "lockup: raw," >> i call it the drama floor. >> gender-bending inmates. >> we cut sheets and towels and stuff like that, make little dresses. >> and jail inmates who are mentally disturbed. >> he didn't seem violent but he was definitely someone who you
>> if i'm not doing something, somebody will find something for me to do. most of the time, it's stupid stuff, so, it's better to just find something for yourself to do. >> when we met joseph regan in one of the massive kitchens at new york city's rikers island jail, he was serving 90 days for misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief and petty larceny. >> they're not always as clean as they should be. you got cockroaches in here, stuff like that. but, you know, i haven't seen anybody die lately, so i guess they get away with it. >> while regan may never get a job as a rikers island spokesman, he offered a plug for
life here. >> if you like being told what to do, if you like being told what to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, [ bleep ], scratch your ass, if you like taking a chance of getting your ass kicked or getting killed, whatever, we inmates or police, if you like this type of thing, then this is the place for you. >> like many other inmates here, regan has had multiple arrests. >> most people that come to jail stay in jail. regardless whether they go home, they come back, come back. spend the rest of their life in jail. >> while inmates can sometimes be in denial about the circumstances that have brought them to jail, regan was crystal clear. >> me like a lot of other people, it's not that we don't have the knowledge to do different things. i know carpentry, i know masonry. i know -- it's not like i don't have the ability or the skills, i just choose not to. for various reasons, you know.
lack of discipline, self-confidence, a self-destructive nature. it's not that i can't do it, it's just that i don't. >> but not everyone believes jail is a choice. some feel they are victims to a probation system that's all too easy to violate and keeps sending them back. >> i was told by my first probation officer after reading the conditions of my probation, if you can do this without me violating you, you'll be lucky. this is the first time i met. this man, the first time i've been on probation. he was very right. >> eric johns' original charge was for sexual battery. after serving four years in prison, he was released on probation. but when a urine test proved positive for marijuana, he was back in the miami-dade county jail. >> i am a three-time loser. this makes my third time. once you're in the system, you will be back. >> eric johns was definitely a loner in the jail system, but he had developed his own method of survival. in fact, he told us how in his first stay in jail, he sent a message to ward off any
predatory inmates. >> first time i came in, the first thing i did was looked for the biggest guy in the unit. i decked him. that's how i lost my front teeth. i got my teeth knocked out. but they said at that point, either that guy is crazy or he's bad, but we're going to leave him alone. he just ain't worth it! it works. i am a caucasian male. i speak english. i'm educated. i'm the oddball now, and i realize that. actually, this looks like one of the better meals. you should be here on pigeon night. i think they call it chicken night everywhere else. there's nothing in here that fascinates me or that makes me happy. this is as close to a living hell as i think i ever want to come. >> seeing many of the same inmates cycle in and out of their facilities is not uncommon for most jail officials, nor is it unusual for certain types of inmates to be housed together,
as we discovered during a visit to the fifth floor of the los angeles county jail. >> i call it the drama floor. because you get a mix of everything. you get a mix of general population from petty theft to burglary to the k-11 inmates who are the homosexual inmates. normally, they're separated from everyone else, simply because a lot of times they will be abused. there's a lot of homosexual inmates, gender bending, and it's hard to tell. >> my name is tasha. my last name is swain. >> 37-year-old bernard "tasha" swain was serving a nine-month sentence for parole violation. >> so, how are you making money on the streets? >> prostitution and selling drugs. >> one of the other things bernard did on occasion inside l.a. county jail was put on beauty pageants. he was like a peacock. he wanted to show off his feathers. >> do you like the miss america pageant? we do them in here, but we do them for the boys. and we have the girls, the boys, the schoolboys, the vogue and
all kind of stuff like that, so it's a variety of things that you can run for. it's not just beauty. we cover with sheets and towels, stuff like that, make little dresses, you know. we destroy state property to make the outfits, in other words. >> do you wear makeup? >> yes, actually. look at my face. >> we explored another special housing unit at l.a. county as well, the mental health ward, where we encountered one of the most unforgettable scenes ever shown on "lockup." >> there was one gentleman in particular who i could barely see him because there was so much graffiti on his cell door and all over his walls. it looked like hieroglyphics. >> a lot of the writing on the door is human feces, and he also has combined a little mustard on it for coloring. so, that's what he's writing with on the actual door.
he's been here a long time, so he continually works on it. >> then i saw the inmate inside, he was completely naked except for some cellophane over his private parts. he seemed very gentle. he didn't seem violent. he wasn't pounding on his doors. he wasn't hurting himself. but he was definitely someone you would not want to be left in a room alone with. coming up on "lockup: raw" -- >> i've always been in the street hustling. i never had a regular job in my life. that's what i'm trying to tell you. i never had a regular job. >> one woman finds hope in a jailhouse bakery.
>> we make 88,000 loaves a week. every inmate has to get four slices of bread per meal per day. we also make bread that's used in the facilities to feed the employees. so, we make a lot of bread here. >> they gave us a couple of loaves and this huge crock of butter, and we slathered this butter on loaves of the bread, and it rivaled any bakery in new york. >> inmate rhonda narducci was hoping that the bakery would help turn her life around. >> when i first came in here, i wanted to hurt myself. i was really depressed. i was going crazy. i said my first felon, i said oh, my god, my record's so messed up now. i don't know what to do. so, i got myself into the bakery to keep myself busy, and i love the bakery. >> ever worked in a bakery before? >> no, i never worked outside. i've always been in the street
hustling. i never had a regular job in my life. that's what i'm trying to tell you. i never had a regular job. >> narducci was serving eight months on a drug possession charge. >> i was working in the street, down on west farms, and some guy approached me. he gave me the money and i went to the drug dealer and got the drugs for him and gave him the stuff, crack. and before you know it, they got me and him, my first felony. >> narducci told our producer she had worked as a prostitute for the past 14 years. >> i didn't like myself doing it. i wasn't too happy about it. but i had no choice. i had no money. i had no nothing. >> how many years did you do that? >> ooh, since i was 21. >> narducci hopes the skills she has picked up in the bakery will give her a second chance as a mother. >> you've got a daughter? >> yes, she's 14. she's with her father's mother in florida. >> what's her name?
>> roseanne. >> she writes to you? >> yeah. >> what does she write? >> oh, she's saying that she loves me, she misses me. i feel like crying right now. >> it's okay. it's all right. are you all right? >> yeah. >> it's okay. >> i just miss my daughter. >> i know you do. i know you do. all right. >> my heart went out to her, because whenever prisoners begin to talk about their children, it is the one very sensitive spot in their lives. and no matter what they may have done to get them to a jail, to prison, they still are very touched and love their children. >> but the good thing is that you got a lot out of being here, right? >> yes. since i've been in here for several months doing my eight months, i feel good now. god -- i thank god i'm in here. i'm glad.
because when i was on the street, i started smoking that stuff. and it didn't help me. it didn't get me anywhere. get me into trouble. it got me in here. but now i learned my lesson. i ain't touching it no more. i want my life back together. >> i felt that i was going to commit crime until the day i died. i hate the government, society, america, slavery, whatever -- all the excuses you could think of, until i started to just take accountability for my own actions and responsibility for what i had done to my life. >> scott randolph was another rikers inmate anticipating his release. when we met him, he was serving a year for petty larceny and violating parole. >> i just spiraled out of control as far as criminality goes. so, i've been back and forth a few times, mostly for drug activity, trying to make money hustling in the street. >> but randolph took advantage of the jail's writing program and had hopes of becoming a journalist.
>> we publish the "rikers review," a magazine created by inmates for inmates. it's extremely helpful. gave me computer skills, marketable skills. i'm looking forward to trying to utilize that when i get out. >> the prison journal randolph showed us included one of his poems. >> can you read a little bit of your poem? >> all right. this one's called "hold this." grip these words as if your embrace alone will help me save my life, so that i might live to give my tomorrows as payment for yesterday's debts. >> randolph says his poem is his vision for a new life. >> the future conceals hopes and happiness i have yet to feel. for this you present a fresh foundation on which to rebuild. the peace i seek is real. i reach for your compassion, strong as steel. this is my truth that you feel. may you cherish my conscience and hold this. that's it.
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