The Big House - Season 4

A&E (ended 2003)


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Episode Guide

  • Central Prison
    Episode 8
    Central Prison in Raleigh, is the first stop for all of North Carolina's male felons with sentences of 20 years or longer. It's also the last stop for men and women sentenced to death. Today, Central is a modern state-of-the-art prison, but it began as a dark dungeon built nearly 120 years ago.moreless
  • Auburn
    Episode 7
    The State Penitentiary in Auburn, New York is the centerpiece of a city and a monument to one of America's first attempts at criminal rehabilitation. Its founders were liberal prison reformers who believed their task could be accomplished through penitence, hard work, and silence. The "Auburn System" was adopted by most U.S. prisons in the early 1900s. Now, all that remains of that system is hard work--and hard time--for the most violent offenders in New York State.moreless
  • Parchman
    Episode 6
    State Prison, Parchman Mississippi... A land without visible boundries... Originally a slave plantaion ruled by the whip... Today its most important crop is neither food or cotton... but prisoners. 75 percent are African-American. During its hundred-thirty year history, Parchman has embodied the traditions and folk wisdom of the American south in a way no other prison ever has. Its legacy includes brutal executions in the State's gas chamber and conjugal visits for the best behaved convicts. A large number of "lifers" have prepared themselves to die here. A few hold out hope of early release.moreless
  • 9.5
    Herds of livestock roam here under the big Montana sky. Cowboys and wranglers watch over them. But these are not ordinary ranch hands. And this is no ordinary ranch. Welcome to the State Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana. 1,300 high and medium security inmates live here. Their range of crimes includes murder and robbery as well as drug possession and sex crimes. In its present day setting, Montana State Prison operates efficiently as both a ranch and a modern high security fortress. But it's legacy is dark and its history is marked by violent uprisings, inhumane conditions and brutality. We'll see where the story began --five miles away from the current cellblocks in the state's original stone prison -- now a relic and tourist attraction that looks like a castle. We'll meet inmates who work on the prison's farm and dairy as well as violent offenders who hold jobs as-- telemarketers.moreless
  • Maze Prison
    Episode 4
    Located near Belfast, Maze Prison holds both Catholic and Protestant prisoners, members of paramilitary groups like the Irish Republican Army. The prison consists of 8 H-shaped cellblocks with cameras, searchlights, 16-foot walls, and guard towers. Outside, British soldiers patrol. We investigate several incidents, including: the Blanket Protests, when IRA inmates refused to wear uniforms; the Dirty Protest, when prisoners smeared human waste on prison walls; and the Bobby Sand hunger strike.moreless
  • L.A. County Jail
    Episode 3
    The largest prison system in the free world, its 20,000 male and female inmates reflect the crimes and racial tensions of Los Angeles County. The challenge is staggering--feed 75,000 meals a day and keep an estimated 16,000 gang members from killing each other! Welcome to LA County Jail with an inmate roster that reads like a Who's Who of national crime stories--Bugsy Siegel, Mickey Cohen, Robert Mitchum, Robert Blake, Charles Manson...all passed through its standing-room-only holding tanks!moreless
  • Oklahoma State Penitentiary
  • 6/25/03