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WBEZ’s ‘Motive’ explores stories and scandals from prisons in rural America

An external view of the Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey.
An external view of the Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey.

latest data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

physically assaulted in a six-month span of time.

WBEZ podcast ‘Motive’ explores the underreported cases of physical, mental and emotional abuse happening inside America’s prisons, focusing largely on the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Inmate Vanoka Washington of Western Illinois Correctional Facility is one of many interviewed for the project. He says “they [prison staff] started using me as a battering ram, slamming me head up against the walls and the door.”  Washington alleges multiple guards beat him – and nothing was done about it.

first three episodes explore reports of physical abuse by prison guards in areas hidden from camera, the struggle to provide adequate mental health services and the power prison leadership can hold over inmates.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington

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