What Ted Conover discovered working as a Sing Sing prison guard as a Corrections Officer was that the prison wasn’t about correcting anything.
It was about care, custody and control of men in confinement, with care defined down to calling the ER when an inmate was bleeding from a shank wound. “Newjack” is Ted Conover’s tale of a school for violence in which some of the star students are the men in uniform.
Ted Conover is a writer who’d lived in the past with hoboes on trains, and with illegal Mexican immigrants. His mission in a new disguise this time was to see a modern American growth industry from the inside: the prison world of 1.8 million inmates and nearly a quarter-million guards, figures three to four times larger than they were in the early 80s.
Prison as he describes is a pressured experience of emotional chaos, where men are invited to confirm their worst fears about themselves. Guards too.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)