Good/Bad prisoner handling in movies/tv

Seeing as how we’ve got both former prisoners and prison employees on this Board, I figured I’d ask: Are there any movies or tv programs you’ve seen in which you thought it was a miracle the guards aren’t shanked every day and twice on Sundays? Alternatively, what about depictions of guards doing their jobs well?

I can’t say I have seen all that many UK prison based shows.

There was one on a soap - Emmerdale farm, which was pretty realistic, except that perhaps the staff were a bit too sympathetic to the unjustly incarcerated prisoner.One or two other soaps seem to have done it fairly straight, however for the Hollywood or movie style, largely its bunk.

The vast majority of prison stuff very much overdramatises the extent of prison violence, it goes on, but nothing like the way it is portrayed, and the idead of homosexual rape in UK prisons is simply rubbish, prisoners will consent or not - and consent itself is pretty uncommon.

I’ve seen individuals who just do not want to get involved in anything outside their own cells, and theother prisoners for the most part leave them be, and as for bullyuing, its is not at all popular and bullies often find themselves at the recieving end.

UK prisons tend not to have anything like as many very long termers as US prisons, so there may be significant differances as a result of this.

Pretty much all of them. Most movies and TV shows use the prisoners as protagonists. I can see the logic from a dramatic standpoint but it necessarily turns the guards into antagonists of some sort.

The only movie I ever saw which I felt had any relation to reality was an obscure made-for-TV movie from 1983 called Women of San Quentin. It was about some female prison guards working in that prison.

But does seeing it from the point-of-view of the inmates make it less realistic than doing it from the POV of the guards? Or it is just that a guard finds it harder to relate to?

If you got your knowledge of the legal system from TV and movies, you’d learn from cop shows and movies that every person who gets arrested is guilty, you’d learn from lawyer shows and movies that half of the people on trial are innocent and half are guilty (depending on which side the star is on) but the true side always wins, and you’d learn from prison shows and movies that every person who gets sent to prison is innocent.

I don’t think there is as much dramatic potential in having a film made that has Prison Officers as the central characters so this role is pretty much unexamined by Hollywood - which suits just fine since Hollywood tends to take way too much licence with reality.

You will have seen quite a lot of prison from the prisoner perspective, and you probably have never truly thought about what it is like to work in a prison as a member of staff, there really is not much realistic stuff for you to use as a reference.

I believe there is a good deal of video around from a US prison based channel called Vanguard, I’ve seen some items, but I’m not really the expert on it - seems realistic enough but others could perhaps give a few pointers on what it is, how it operates and what sorts of programming it comes up with.

There are plenty of videos on Youtube, quite a few have some sort of agenda though.Some of these give a more realistic idea of UK prison life.You may note the lack of talk about gangs, violence, homosexuality, and the myriad other things that Hollywood portrays, the reality is that prison life is extremely mundane, hardly surprising that drugs and mental illness are actually the main issues in such a mind numbing environment.

That’s not always true: in Porridge there’s no doubt that the prisoners – even if some are amiable enough – are guilty of the crimes that they’re serving time for. Though I guess that’s a comedy series rather than drama. In addition, some of the [DEL]screws[/DEL] prison officers are portrayed sympathetically, and some of the inmates are portrayed as villains.

I got a lot of my legal knowledge as a youngun from the movie Primal Fear (Ed Norton and Richard Gere) wherein this was not true. It’s not universal.

That was the one cliche Oz didn’t have. AFAIK they never had a character, even the sympathetic ones, who was falesly accused. Every single prisoner actually did what they were sent to prison for.

No. David Jason, in his first team-up with Ronnie Barker played an old man called Blanco who was innocent. (Innocent of the specific crime for which he was sent to prison, anyway. He admitted a different crime, for which he wasn’t caught.)