Lockup: Raw - Hard Time   View more episodes

Aired at 07:00 PM on Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 (10/23/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00Inmates at the elayn hunt correctional center in louisiana, prepares for a gruelling day of farming the fields adjacent to the prison.
00:00:14>> We have 63 acres of vegetable gardens that we grow vegetables on, anything from squash, tomatoes, mustard greens, collard greens.
00:00:21>> Supervised by armed officers on horseback and earning 2 cents an hour for their labor, the inmates harvest more than 1 million pounds of crop per year, all of it used at the prison.
00:00:30But this particular work detail forces staff to be especially vigilant.
00:00:35>> Knowing that they have tools that they could easily use as weapons, and they've done it before, it makes you watch your back and keeps you on your toes.
00:00:46You never know what could happen.
00:00:51You could take one of the best guys and he decides that he doesn't like you and wants to take you out.
00:00:58>> When you get it like this, the razor blade there.
00:01:02I learned that, sharpening the knives on the floors.
00:01:06>> Joel baker has three life sentences and a nickname.
00:01:10It's white trash.
00:01:11>> Judge gave me my name.
00:01:15It's kind of ironic.
00:01:18Upon sentencing they had me charged with three murders.
00:01:22A drug deal gone by in a hotel room, shootout.
00:01:23She shot me, I shot them.
00:01:24The judge says in her final summation, you are nothing, mr.
00:01:26Baker, but a pebble in the pond.
00:01:30You are nothing but poor white trash.
00:01:33All my life, I was a bad boy.
00:01:35I look back and I see l the stupid mistakes that I made.
00:01:40And I see the young people that's here at this prison and i hear all the stories because i listen and I think to myself, you do not know how fortunate you are.
00:01:55You're going out there with another chance, whether it's five years, ten years or what.
00:01:58You're getting another chance.
00:02:01I'll never get that chance.
00:02:05I would give my leg, my arm, for that chance.
00:02:08I'm never going to get it.
00:02:10I'm going to die right here.
00:02:12>> It's fun to break the law and dance with the devil.
00:02:15But see, when you got to pay the fiddler, it ain't nothing nice.
00:02:19Trust me, I'm living it.
00:02:20I'm living it.
00:02:21>> When it comes to serving hard time, white trash baker is hardly alone.
00:02:24>> Me, myself, I got 35 to life.
00:02:25I'm here on a three strikes case.
00:02:29IN THE MID-'80s I HAD A BURGLARY And attempted burglary.
00:02:33I did four years for it.
00:02:34Those are strike one and strike two.
00:02:39In 1996, I caught a drug charge a methamphetamine charge, I fell under the california's three strikes and you're out law.
00:02:43I ended up getting a sentence of 35 years to life.
00:02:48>> Aaron yost was 11 years into his latest sentence when we met him at kern valley state prison in california.
00:02:58He says his problems stem from a near life-long abuse of drugs.
00:03:02>> I grew up with drugs.
00:03:03My parents were quote, unquote, hippies.
00:03:07Both my parents dropped acid.
00:03:10My mom's dead now from a drug overdose.
00:03:12When I was 9 years old, I was rolling joints for mom and dad.
00:03:16>> Yost's life is now largely confined to this cell, which he shares with another inmate.
00:03:21>> I'm not comfortable with this.
00:03:25I don't like men, I like women, you know?
00:03:28And this, to me, it's disgusting.
00:03:31I'm still irritated.
00:03:33If I wake up in the morning, I'm agitated because I have to live with another man.
00:03:39>> Now, the closest yost comes to female companionship is through his tattoos.
00:03:49Some of which are too graphic to show on television.
00:03:52>> That's what I dream about, that's all I got.
00:03:55You know?
00:03:56>> I remember when we met aaron, the man was tattooed, incredibly inked.
00:03:58If one word describes him, it's intense, just full of energy.
00:04:01And I remember when my producer asked him, what's the daily routine?
00:04:04He just started right in on telling us what it was all about.
00:04:11>> One person has to get down, put the bunk down.
00:04:14You come over here, do your business.
00:04:15You wipe the sink out after you're done.
00:04:19There are rules people live with.
00:04:21You have to be pristine.
00:04:22See how I'm playing in the toilet?
00:04:23This is clean.
00:04:25I could wash my face in here.
00:04:27We don't live like pigs.
00:04:29We're not animals.
00:04:33Everything is spotless.
00:04:35That's why everything is so shiny.
00:04:41There's etiquette.
00:04:42Say I have to pass gas, right, I'm not going to fart in the cell.
00:04:44I'll sit on the [ bleep ] and hit the button.
00:04:45That way it goes down.
00:04:46It's hell.
00:04:47It's constant pressure.
00:04:49Every day.
00:04:52It's like an animal in a cage, you know.
00:04:58You get poked.
00:05:00You get poked.
00:05:04You get prodded, not just by staff but by everybody.
00:05:05Everything's a challenge.
00:05:06This is a place where evil lives, you know?
00:05:07>> Though he seemed eager to express himself, yost later told our producer that giving this interview put him at risk with other inmates.
00:05:14>> Because there's repercussion.
00:05:14Because I'm talking to you, giving you an interview.
00:05:16>> From whom are there repercussions?
00:05:17>> Because I could be considered a rat.
00:05:19You follow what I'm saying?
00:05:20For giving up information, giving up game, explaining how it is in here.
00:05:25You know what I mean?
00:05:28>> We saw what aaron meant by that because we took him out to a more common area of the prison and one of his neighbors began questioning him about what he was talking about.
00:05:37And I just kept rolling.
00:05:37>> What it's like in the cell, you know what I mean?
00:05:39What it's like to live in here.
00:05:39You know what I mean?
00:05:40Some of the laws.
00:05:47How it's a smash.
00:05:48>> Did you tell them about the emotional aspect of it?
00:05:49>> Oh, man, too much.
00:05:50Like spent half an hour in there, agony of what it is.
00:05:55The torture, the poke, the prod.
00:05:57The constant, you know what i mean, frustration.
00:06:00How do people release their frustration?
00:06:02You drive, you build your body, your tattoos, do all that stuff.
00:06:08>> And you kept it like that the whole time, I'll support you.
00:06:09>> Prison is predatory.
00:06:10Prison is evil.
00:06:14Everybody in here runs on emotion.
00:06:17Very few people think with a higher intellect about how to do stuff or how to be.
00:06:23>> Yourself included?
00:06:25Is that how you operate?
00:06:26How do you operate in here?
00:06:28>> Well, there's people that would tell you how I operate in here.
00:06:34I'm sure there's lots of people that would tell you that they don't approve of how I operate.
00:06:41>> Those people include the correctional staff.
00:06:45Who not only believe yost is a dangerous inmate but that he's the leader of a white supremacist gang.
00:06:52>> Is that yost?
00:06:53Have you seen him on the yard?
00:06:55Watch for him.
00:06:57Watch out for that dude.
00:07:00Watch his movement.
00:07:03>> We found information, we received a kite saying that if yost gets three feet next to this guy, he's going to hit him.
00:07:08He's going to hit him.
00:07:10>> What's my role here?
00:07:11I'm an [ bleep ].
00:07:13In their mind, I'm a [ bleep ].
00:07:15I'm constantly agitating them.
00:07:16And I won't quit.
00:07:19>> Ultimately yost may not have a choice.
00:07:25>> Time's ticking.
00:07:26I'm sick from hepatitis c virus for shooting dope for so many years.
00:07:30The treatment that I've been on for a year and a half isn't working.
00:07:34I'm tired, can't get no expression out.
00:07:43All my family died, one by one.
00:07:46>> What is your future?
00:07:48>> Death.
00:07:50What's yours?
00:07:53 raw, " >> he's a big, powerful, scary guy.
00:07:56He's the kind of guy that would have been a formidable opponent in a cell extraction.
00:08:01>> I have criminal tendencies, okay, ain't like I'm in here for nothing, all right?
00:08:04>> One inmate pushes correctional staff to the brink.
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00:10:06d @@"@ 1 1 >>> nestled at the base of the rocky mountains, colorado state penitentiary was built to house the state's most violent and disruptive inmates.
00:11:33It gives new meaning to the words hard time.
00:11:38>> We decided that csp could not be a place where inmates could get comfortable and make a life for themselves.
00:11:48We had to treat them differently.
00:11:53>> Colorado state isn't just any maximum security prison.
00:11:58It's a super max facility.
00:12:00Inmates here are considered a constant threat and are confined to single-person cells 23 hours a day.
00:12:11>> I was astounded by how sterile and stark and what tough time it would be to serve in that particular prison.
00:12:20I think that would be the hardest time possible.
00:12:22>> Many of the inmates we spoke to agreed.
00:12:26They say the isolation is too much.
00:12:30>> I've been here a long time.
00:12:31I've seen a lot of guys, seen them snap, you know?
00:12:33Any given day they can snap.
00:12:35>> 23 Hours a day you're locked down.
00:12:39You come out for five hours a week.
00:12:43Essentially it's just another cell.
00:12:44It's a dead room with a pull-up bar.
00:12:52There's one small window.
00:12:53Everywhere you go, handcuffed, handcuffed to go in the shower.
00:12:56You have no human contact with nobody at all.
00:13:01>> But roy slagle has had more contact than most inmates here.
00:13:04It's just been all the wrong kind.
00:13:24At the time of our shoot, he held a dubious record.
00:13:28He had had more cell extractions than any other inmate at the prison.
00:13:33Cell extractions occur when inmates violate rules.
00:13:38And refuse orders to cuff up and vacate their cells.
00:14:12Been considered a formidable opponent in a cell extraction.
00:14:15>> In and out of correctional facilities since the age of 14, slagle was serving time for robbery and assault when we met him.
00:14:31>> I got some criminal tendencies, okay?
00:14:36I robbed and I fought with a guy in here.
00:14:38Ain't in here for nothing, you know?
00:14:39I've been in quite a bit of trouble here or I would have been out a long time ago.
00:14:42>> I'm the shift commander.
00:14:43I need to have you uncover your window.
00:14:45Are you going to cooperate or do you want us to come and get you out of your cell?
00:14:53No response.
00:14:57>> In one of his more memorable acts of defiance, slagle served as a ring leader when he and seven other inmates covered up their cell windows, a major infraction of prison security rules.
00:15:10>> We'll have to come in and get you.
00:15:11Is that what you want?
00:15:11No response.
00:15:15>> This is captain cruz.
00:15:21I'm shift commander tonight on swing shift I'm going to ask you to uncover your window.
00:15:27>> No.
00:15:29>> Are you refusing?
00:15:31>> Yes.
00:15:32>> Do you understand that I'll send a team in to bring you out of your cell?
00:15:35>> Yes.
00:15:39>> Unable to get slagle and others to uncover their windows, captain cruz summons the emergency response team.
00:15:50>> So we are going to get them out.
00:15:59The first one, because we identified him in numerous cell extractions.
00:16:09He will fight us.
00:16:14He will try to get out of his cell.
00:16:22>> Determined to make a stand, slagle mounts a defense with the few meager items he has in his cell.
00:16:37He has jammed his door with a hardened paper-mache-like mixture with wet newspapers and toothpaste.
00:17:06But with the extraction team on its way, the conflict is about to come to a head.
00:17:08>> [ Bleep ].
00:17:08[ Bleep ].
00:17:10>> He's on the floor.
00:17:12>> Slagle fights off the extraction team for a full minute before they take him to the floor and attempt to cuff him.
00:17:20>> [ Bleep ].
00:17:25>> It takes another four minutes of struggling before slagle is finally subdued.
00:17:31He's placed on a gurney so that the team can move him into a holding cell.
00:17:35Following a strip search, a defeated slagle will be left in the holding cell until authorities feel they can safely transfer him back to his own cell.
00:17:39>> Good job, guys.
00:17:41>> Everybody in prison ain't the scum of the earth.
00:17:47There are actually real good people in here that would never harm a child.
00:17:51I would like to be in a situation where I could actually get real rehabilitation.
00:18:00This place here, it's just about control.
00:18:08>> Slagle's defiant attitude seemed to change after the prison introduced the use of oc gas, also known as pepper spray, to their extraction procedure.
00:18:18>> Please come to the door and cuff up.
00:18:20You understand if you don't cuff up we're going to administer oc?
00:18:29>> Yes.
00:18:30I understand.
00:18:35>> Slagle's first experience with the gas might have been a rude awakening.
00:18:43It was also one of the few times he submitted to an extraction without a prolonged struggle.
00:18:49After determining he is not going to be combative, officers allow slagle to shower off the burning gas.
00:19:06>> One of the really amazing things about the cell extractions is that sometimes afterwards, the inmate and the officers seem to have a camaraderie, almost like pro athletes standing around the locker room at the end of a really tough game.
00:19:18And that was the case with slagle as he was recovering from his pepper spray.
00:19:23>> Yeah [ bleep ].
00:19:26First time for that.
00:19:29>> I don't know.
00:19:35" ♪♪ it's been 18 long years ♪♪
00:19:46♪♪ in this old cold prison ♪♪
00:19:51>> one inmate's way of dealing with hard time.
00:19:56>> Every year I change the amount of years it's been since I've been in prison.
00:20:06♪♪♪♪Where'd you learn to do that so well.
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00:23:05>>> At the brushy mountain correctional complex in tennessee, we met an inmate who knows something about serving hard time.
00:23:15Brian lautenschlager is serving a 90-year sentence for armed robbery and attempted murder.
00:23:21>> Been in here so long, sometimes it seems like I was born in here.
00:23:26>> How long have you been here?
00:23:27>> I've been -- in prison, all together, 18 years.
00:23:31Came in when he was 18, got out when I was 24.
00:23:36Come back when I was 25.
00:23:37Now I'm 36, going on 37.
00:23:38>> Along with working out, there's one other way that lautenschlager copes.
00:23:52♪♪ I was 18 years old ♪♪
00:23:53when they sent me to prison ♪♪
00:23:55far away from my home in east tennessee ♪♪
00:24:05♪♪ still see the tears my darling was crying ♪♪
00:24:10♪♪ as she whispered I love you said she'd wait for me ♪♪
00:24:15>> when I first come to prison, I had a girlfriend and she was telling me how she was going to wait on me and all this.
00:24:21And things change.
00:24:22And I'm still in here.
00:24:24And she's gone.
00:24:34♪♪ It's been 18 long years in this old cold prison ♪♪
00:24:43♪♪ sometimes I think it's been so long ♪♪
00:24:51♪♪ I lost the girl I love to the arms of a stranger ♪♪
00:24:53♪♪ the only home I know is surrounded by stone ♪♪
00:25:01>> a sense of freedom, you know.
00:25:04It frees my mind.
00:25:04I'm not thinking about brushy mountain or prison, you know.
00:25:08♪♪ I'm lonesome and blue ♪♪
00:25:12♪♪ that's all I can do ♪♪
00:25:17♪♪ I'm lonesome and blue ♪♪
00:25:23>> snow-covered pine.
00:25:28It's been a while since I had written it.
00:25:33Every year I change the amount of years that I've been in prison.
00:25:35 raw, hard " they're considered the worst of the worst.
00:25:43>> The sunlight is fading away like butter on corn bread.
00:25:46>> But these inmates have found an icon to relate to.
00:25:52>> That's almost something like shakespeare himself would write.
00:25:54And sitting next to us, chevy chase.
00:25:57And we really hit it off.
00:25:59We play golf, and then the luau.
00:26:01He's like da vinci with ice.
00:26:03And after, we help hang christmas decorations.
00:26:06Wait, wait, wait.
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00:29:00>>> Hello to you.
00:29:01Here's what's happening.
00:29:02The website wikileaks has released over 400,000 classified documents from the iraq war.
00:29:08 military knew how bad the violence was in iraq before things started to improve.
00:29:15They also indicate far more iraqis died than previously reported.
00:29:18>>> And three men were arrested today after a suspected drug lab was discovered in a freshman dorm on the campus of universi.
00:29:27The chemicals could create drug called dmt.
00:29:46>>> In many of america's maximum security prisons, there are three letters that strike fear in the hearts of inmates.
00:29:55The shu.
00:29:57It stands for secured housing unit.
00:30:00And like a prison within a prison, these units house the worst of the worst.
00:30:06>> Mostly assaults, intimidation, threatening, whether it be on staff or on inmates that land them in here.
00:30:13These are not the good guys.
00:30:15>> When we visited the shu at indiana's wabash valley correctional facility, the staff made it clear.
00:30:25Absolute control is the top priority.
00:30:32>> Your quietest day in the shu can be the worst day in the shu in about two seconds.
00:30:34Some of the challenges we face are the threat of being gunned down, as we say in here, having feces or urine thrown on you, spit, blood, semen, anything you can think of has happened in this building.
00:30:45>> But for inmates in the shu, the monotony brings a horror of its own.
00:30:54They told us what it was like to spend 23 hours a day in a windowless concrete cell, sometimes for years at a time.
00:31:02>> It's like you're always trying to find a way to come up for air.
00:31:06This place suffocates you.
00:31:09You know what I'm saying?
00:31:13>> It's a tomb for me.
00:31:17You know?
00:31:20It's like a tomb.
00:31:25It's like a tomb, a concrete tomb.
00:31:33What if they would have sent these punk ass dudes to -- and he would have succeeded in killing them, right?
00:31:46>> During our first day on the shu, we walked into a heated exchange about murder.
00:31:58>> What you saying about the killer?
00:32:04You saying both killer.
00:32:06>> But it wasn't about prison violence.
00:32:15>> Showed up, saying that macbeth sent him.
00:32:17>> It was about shakespeare.
00:32:18>> It was really bizarre.
00:32:19Because the inmates are not allowed out of their cells.
00:32:21So they're having this lively conversation through the pie flaps in their cell doors, but other than that, it was like being in a college classroom, listening to a literary debate.
00:32:27>> The general and he got, he got, I think he might have been prepared for that, so when it came, he would have been, like, my god, how you doing?
00:32:36You know what I'm saying?
00:32:39>> Through a program called shakespeare in the shu, inmates here have a brief escape from the relentless boredom of being locked down.
00:32:51Indiana state university professor laura bakes started the program.
00:32:53>> I went door to door, cell to cell and had experiences like walking up at one cell and completely unannounced, mentioned shakespeare and the offender started quoting from shakespeare.
00:33:07Had no idea this was coming.
00:33:09That's how shakespeare in the shu was born.
00:33:15>> Still doesn't answer the question about the third murder.
00:33:23>> You could look at him as being like -- >> the program has inmates rewrite shakespeare in a way that reflects their own experiences.
00:33:35During our shoot, the group was working on macbeth.
00:33:37A play about ambition, assassination and a warlord's lust for power.
00:33:39>> What he did, he went to the hood to house that.
00:33:47You know, guys that don't got none, and he used nobody, nobody know.
00:33:55>> Leon vincent, serving 60 years for murder, read one of his passages to the group.
00:34:02>> You read my eyes like parables.
00:34:07I was pressed for time because of my special preparations for the night.
00:34:17>> I really like the metaphor that you used.
00:34:21You read my eyes like parables.
00:34:24That's almost something like shakespeare himself would write.
00:34:31So I really like that.
00:34:37>> I'm from the hood, you know, not to separate the hood from anything.
00:34:39Shakespeare was something, you know, I never thought I would experience in my life.
00:34:41You know, since I came in contact with shakespeare, I see a lot of those parallels that correlate with urban life.
00:34:44>> Essentially macbeth and the rest of the characters are creating immoral or criminal acts.
00:34:49We say criminal acts, right?
00:34:50Of course that's what we are in here for, committing criminal acts.
00:34:59So it's made me more introspective.
00:35:05>> The sky has the residue of sunlight, but it fades away like butter on cornbread.
00:35:07>> Macbeth, that's how you keep his hands clean.
00:35:09He's going to have the lower ranking ones do the job for him so he don't have to.
00:35:13>> Just days before our shoot, inmate iris white completed a 3 1/2-year shu term and had been transferred to general population.
00:35:23He was allowed to return to the shu to finish his work on the script.
00:35:26Now, he gets to join this group of general population inmates who will bring the script to life.
00:35:29>> It was really funny, because some of the inmates were playing witches in macbeth, dancing around these big old guys, dangerous, scary looking guys, going, whoo!
00:35:39>> An all-male cast is something that we need to get accustomed to.
00:35:45We're not used to it.
00:35:46The population here isn't used to seeing them play women.
00:35:47Although that's the way shakespeare's plays were originally done.
00:35:49>> You have overstepped your authority.
00:35:50See that, what an awful sight.
00:35:51Bow down and acknowledge!
00:35:52By words I shall give the illusion of spirit.
00:35:54>> As the actors were performing, I looked over my shoulder and I noticed iris was silently reciting every word of the play.
00:36:01So I focused my camera on him and it was good to see his words come to life and him enjoying it so much.
00:36:08>> All he's known in belief, he shall bury it.
00:36:13I tell you hags that this -- [ applause ] >> this is the first time I seen it when he was speaking, I knew everything, I new the words as he was saying it, right?
00:36:21It's crazy to hear it.
00:36:22To see the words come to life.
00:36:25Make you want to continue to do it, like art imitates life.
00:36:28Oh, man, that looked good.
00:36:33I like it.
00:36:36They did good.
00:36:39I want to see some more of it, though.
00:36:45>> For iris white, the playwright.
00:36:50It was the first time he had seen the performance of it.
00:36:54And he was really happy.
00:36:55You know, it was like the greatest day of his life.
00:36:58>> But white's elation was not to last.
00:37:02The day ended in bitter disappointment.
00:37:08>> And then an hour later, he got in a fight in the yard and got busted and got sent back to the shu.
00:37:15So it shows how fast things can fall apart even when things are going good.
00:37:22Prison can take it all away from you.
00:37:29>> The law, for every act there is a reaction.
00:37:34So I can relate to macbeth, you know, the choices he made predicted his punishment.
00:37:39Some of us made mistakes.
00:37:39Our choices was mistakes, now we're paying for them.
00:37:41>>> Next -- >> three dangerous individuals.
00:37:44His beliefs which aren't the norm of any known society that i know of.
00:37:53>> A feared inmate is released TO THE YARD.You don't need a rematch, but a rethink.
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00:41:11>>> In every prison we profiled on "lockup," there's a certain type of inmate doing hard time.
00:41:15They're the ones that have come in as teenagers, they've grown up in the prison system, they've spent their entire life there.
00:41:25Everything they learned about being an adult comes from the lessons they've learned from being behind bars.
00:41:33>> We met such an inmate at the penitentiary of new mexico.
00:41:36>> When I first got there at 17 years old, they put me in a dormitory that was overcrowded.
00:41:41I didn't know what to expect.
00:41:42I knew right away I'd get jumped, beat up, maybe worse, maybe raped, maybe murdered.
00:41:48>> Joe sears might have been a scared kid when he first arrived, but he quickly grew to be one of the most feared inmates the prison has ever known.
00:42:07>> Pretty dangerous individual.
00:42:08Has the potential to be very dangerous anyways.
00:42:11Very strong.
00:42:15Has his mind set on his beliefs which aren't really the norm of any known society that I know of.
00:42:24So he's a very difficult type of person.
00:42:27>> I remember joe sears very vividly.
00:42:36Because so many of the correctional officers had dealt with him in the 20 years he had been locked up there.
00:42:41People kind of lowered their voices when they talked about joe sears.
00:42:43>> As a result of fights, intimidation and other rule violations, sears has spent most of the past 15 years in new mexico's highest security unit, level six.
00:43:01>> There have been times, yes, that I got into a fight over certain things, you know, whether it was, you know, a couple guys jumping on me because they didn't like what i said or who I was hanging out with or where I was working or maybe they wanted the job position or something.
00:43:18Who knows, you know?
00:43:20Maybe they just disliked me for the color of my skin or my attitude or, I don't know, you know.
00:43:24>> Sears was convicted on several charges including robbery, kidnapping and rape.
00:43:28He first entered the penitentiary in 1983 on a 36-year sentence.
00:43:35>> I remember him working out in f-2, our recreation area, lifting hundred pound dumb bells like they were nothing.
00:43:39He walked around like he owned that place.
00:43:40No problem getting in your face at any time, for anything.
00:43:42>> And before long, sears gained a reputation to match his muscle.
00:43:52>> He was part of the aryan brotherhood.
00:43:56He was one of the big boys in that faction.
00:44:04He was the type of guy that would have put the hurt on you if you looked at him wrong at that point.
00:44:11>> I guess a lot of people looked at me as one of the, if you mess with the white boys or there's a problem with them, joe's going to be one of them.
00:44:20He'll be up front.
00:44:20You'll have to deal with him.
00:44:21>> As a level six inmate, sears lives in solitary confinement and is allowed outdoors no more than an hour a day, which he spends in this exercise cage.
00:44:36Hard time has taken its toll.
00:44:38>> He's lost a lot of weight.
00:44:42Mentally he's not sure of himself.
00:44:47>> A big piece of my life is ruined.
00:44:50It's real sad, a waste of time.
00:44:51>> Sears has no family or friends waiting for him.
00:44:52Our crew was his first contact with outside faces in years.
00:44:55He opened up on how his time has affected him.
00:45:00>> It's kind of hard for me to explain.
00:45:05You start feeling.
00:45:08They talk about conscience.
00:45:10Before you didn't have a conscience.
00:45:14You start developing a conscience.
00:45:18Because you actually have time to sit in a cell all day and think about the things you've done one know what I mean?
00:45:29It's like, man, why did I do that?
00:45:35What a dumb kid.
00:45:38>> During our shoot at new mexico, sears had been approved for a transfer to level five.
00:45:40A lower security housing unit where he would have considerably more freedom and the opportunity to be around other inmates.
00:45:45But with sears, nothing is certain.
00:45:47>> He's been in level five a couple times.
00:45:48I hope he makes it.
00:45:49Joe sears, it's a big waiting game.
00:45:51Only joe sears knows if he can make it there or not.
00:45:53>> I personally have never had any problems with him.
00:45:58But I am concerned having him in my pod, in my unit.
00:46:04I'm concerned about being assaulted.
00:46:10>> I got butterflies in me but it's just -- I feel good about going over there.
00:46:16I'm glad to finally get this chance, this opportunity.
00:46:18>> Our cameras were there as sears made the move to level five.
00:46:22>> The move went off okay.
00:46:23And when we got to his cell, he kind of took it in.
00:46:24Even though it looked like, you mow, pretty much the same as his old cell, it seemed like he was in a new world.
00:46:27>> Looks about the same, doesn't it?
00:46:33>> Later, our crew caught up with sears on the prison yard.
00:46:40>> That's my main concentration and priority, to try and make something good of this.
00:46:43It's not going to do me no good to sit here and ignore this, throw all this to crazy or not get anything out of it.
00:46:51I'm not that 15-year-old kid anymore.
00:46:55I'm 41 years old now.
00:46:55>> As he walked across the yard, first time in years with other inmates, we had no idea what to expect.
00:47:03>> We missed you.
00:47:06>> One time.
00:47:08One time only.
00:47:15>> Go ahead.
00:47:16>> Hey, I'm not good at this.
00:47:20I'll tell you right now.
00:47:20Are you good?
00:47:22>> Not really.
00:47:26>> Not really?
00:47:27>> Hit a ringer.
00:47:28>> I'll try.
00:47:28>> I think it astounded him to be out on the yard and working out with somebody else, being in contact with another inmate that he could talk to without being in shackles.
00:47:40>> That's one, two.
00:47:44>> I'm ahead, 2-0.
00:47:48>> He seemed like a kid, you >> I ain't going to lie.
00:47:57I worry about, am I going to be able to talk with these people properly.
00:48:02Do I have enough knowledge or education to make it out there?
00:48:04Am I going to be able to get a job?
00:48:06Am I going to be able to stay away from dope and not repeat crimes and things like that.
00:48:12When I get out to the streets, i have to pick up where that 16-year-old kid left off.
00:48:31 raw" -- " I've been in the barber shop since '93.
00:48:36>> There's one place in prison before everybody knows your name.
00:48:41>> My special haircut before they took the razors away from us was the straight razor.
00:48:49>> A close shave here can result in more than just a nick.
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00:51:59>>> When an inmate is serving hard time with little to no chance of ever living on the outside again, he takes advantage of every small opportunity he can to feel like he's free.
00:52:13And "lockup" crews have seen time and time again, there's one place in prison that offers a few moments of normalcy.
00:52:22The prison barber shop.
00:52:25" I'm a cosmetologist outside and in here.
00:52:34I've been cutting hair in this barber shop since '93.
00:52:41>> Darryl "big d" wright is serving hard time at california's aging san quentin state prison.
00:52:45We found him working his barber chair in a no frills shop.
00:52:49>> We have three barbers in here.
00:52:51We're pretty steady.
00:52:54You know, they come in.
00:52:56One of us try to be here at all times.
00:53:00So we all have to know how to cut all kind of hair.
00:53:03>> As with any barber, it's important to keep the customers satisfied.
00:53:06That's especially true when your clients are inmates.
00:53:10>> You know, occasionally guys, you know, they drop by and want to give you a little something if you give a good haircut, you know?
00:53:18Want to give you a soup or something like that or a canned good or something like that.
00:53:23It's not a mandatory thing but they won't let you refuse them.
00:53:28You know what I'm saying?
00:53:29They won't let you refuse them.
00:53:32>> Barber shops have been a favorite stop for "lockup" crews at prisons nationwide.
00:53:39>> Any man that walks through the door can get a haircut and he'll get a good haircut.
00:53:48You know, he might not get a whole lot of layers and feathers and all that, but he'll get a good haircut.
00:53:55>> We met willard lucas at indiana state prison.
00:53:57He had been working the same chair for 26 years.
00:54:00>> My special haircut is a taper haircut.
00:54:05And my other specialty before they took the razors away from us was a straight razor.
00:54:09I could use a straight razor pretty good.
00:54:13And -- which I enjoyed.
00:54:15But for some reason, they took them away from us.
00:54:18So we don't use them no more.
00:54:24>> At 79 years old, lucas' grandfatherly personality seems at odds with his past.
00:54:28He is serving two life sentences.
00:54:32>> I caught a guy in bed with my old lady and I blowed my top and I kind of hurt him.
00:54:43>> What were you charged with?
00:54:45>> Kidnap, murder.
00:54:49I was going to take her to the, to the hospital.
00:54:53I didn't think she was dead.
00:54:55Because she was moving.
00:54:57And I put her in the car and that's where I got the kidnap picked up from.
00:55:05I got to be here until I die.
00:55:06I got double life.
00:55:09And I got to stay here until I die.
00:55:11>> Though prison barber shops can possess an almost bucolic small-town charm, simmering hostilities are sometimes found right below the surface.
00:55:19Rodney buford is an inmate barber at the riverbend maximum security institution in tennessee.
00:55:27Once a week, he cuts hair on death row.
00:55:33>> I was about to cut this guy that was open white supremacist.
00:55:35Aryan nation-type person.
00:55:36And he had a nazi sign on his forehead.
00:55:45And I had heard that he killed like three people in prison already, in addition to what happened out there on the street.
00:55:49So here it is now, I'm fixing to cut somebody's hair that maybe hates me just because of the way I look as far as my skin is concerned.
00:55:54>> Buford put professionalism ahead of his feelings and completed the cut.
00:56:01But at some other prisons, race is an issue that can't be brushed away.
00:56:08At california's current valley state prison, the groom tools are racially coded.
00:56:13There are different sets for white inmates, blacks, hispanics and others.
00:56:19Those are asians and pacific islanders.
00:56:23>> Before you take it out, you have to check with the officers to make sure all the pieces in there.
00:56:29And after the job is done, when you turn it in, they have to check it again.
00:56:33Let the officer check again.
00:56:36They don't have to worry about what's missing and what's not.
00:56:47>> Inmate mina tor, a native of cambodian, only services the others, like fellow cambodian anset suun.
00:56:58>> I give haircut by inmates assigned to another flock.
00:57:00He cut the other's hair.
00:57:01We are the minority of the prison.
00:57:03We're the smallest group in the prison.
00:57:05>> Could a white barber cut your haircut or a black barber cut your hair?
00:57:07>> No.
00:57:07I mean, if you're really cool with the person, yeah.
00:57:09But I prefer to be cut by my own people.
00:57:14To be safe is better, stick to our own.
00:57:17>> Safe and well groomed.
00:57:20>> He's good because he did that as his profession on the street.
00:57:25So we got one real barber here this prison.
00:58:04>>> Msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons.
00:58:09Into a world of chaos and danger.
00:58:13Now, the scenes you've never " >>> inside every prison there's one question that both inmates and correctional officers must ask themselves.
00:58:31Knowing the right answer could mean the difference between life and death.
00:58:37The question, who can I trust?
00:58:38>> You can get close to somebody but you can't trust that person because that person might be the one to stab you or get you raped or something.
00:58:42And you have to learn how to grow eyes in the back of your head and learn how to fight real good in prison.
00:58:48Can't have nobody punk you.
00:58:49Can't be no bitch in here.
00:58:50>> There are inmates in here for 20 years, even though we're friendly and we speak, they walk up on me, I still want to know what they're doing.
00:59:04>> I will kill a friend for messing me around quicker than anybody else.