Alabama's Holman Correctional Facility is a Maximum Security prison and an environment that sometimes breeds violence. Inmates are constantly making weapons for protection and arming themselves to the teeth, and the officers must do whatever they can to curb future attacks. The challenge? Correctional officers are outnumbered 10 to 1 and are constantly searching more than 1000 inmates to find their home-made weapons, which are very sharp and very easy to conceal. But not enough staff and too many weapons can only lead to one thing. Only hours after our crew wrapped shooting, an inmate was stabbed in the honor dorm.
Til Death Do Us Part
Holman houses more than 170 men who have been sentenced to death and are awaiting execution, as well as roughly 360 who are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. All are living with the inevitable…that their only chance of getting out of prison will be inside a coffin. For inmates serving these lengthy sentences, one day blends into the next, weeks into months, months into years. And a lifetime slips away. The challenge for these men is to find meaning in their lives and not surrender to hopelessness and despair. Premieres Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 10 PM ET/PT.
He Takes No Prisoners
He's bold, he's brash, he's direct and tough. He has to be as warden of Holman Correctional Facility, one of Alabama's toughest prisons and home of the state's only execution chamber. Grantt Culliver doesn't miss a beat in getting into a disruptive inmate's face, but he's also compassionate and gentle when the situation calls for it.
Locked Up Love
Prison is a lonely place for any inmate. Relationships that existed on the outside become strained..And the ones that blossom within the prison walls are often dangerous. Or they can be simply a one-sided obsession, leading to nothing but trouble.
Snake and Fluffy
Of the nearly one thousand inmates at Holman, the 200 most dangerous must be segregated from the rest. For inmates with violent crimes and no parole dates in sight, their minds require distractions to stay sane. It could be the friend next door, or the relative hundreds of miles away, and when these comforts are taken from them, the results can be explosive. In this episode get up close and personal with Bobby Gilbert, or “Snake,” who, because of his violent behavior behind bars, has spent 19 of his 43 years in solitary confinement.
Holman anecdotes from the producers:
- Although inmate Bobby Gilbert has a reputation for his manic and somewhat unstable behavior, I noticed that when he was drawing - he was in a zone, docile and child-like. He took great pains to prepare a drawing of him for me. He told me how it had to be treated with a certain spray in order for the charcoal not to smudge. I framed that drawing and have it hanging up in my home.
- In most prisons, I am never sure what the reaction will be from other inmates if I am physically touched or hurt by an inmate – yet at Holman, I felt unusually safe. I was told by a few inmates from Honor Dorm that both I and my female colleague had nothing to worry about because if anyone tried to hurt us, “they would be taken down very quickly – by them!”
- When I last saw him in November, inmate Steven Parker seemed to be doing better (socially). He told me he read a book, “A Child Called It” which he truly identified with and that he now has a girlfriend who writes him on a regular basis.
- Our camera man took the babies of one of the prison cats, Fluffy, home with him to California. He had the kitten checked for everything by a local vet and then we all helped him bring the kitten (now named Holman) on the plane home. He says the cat is very smart but extremely spastic.
- There was an inmate (who refused to be interviewed on camera) who had committed a brutal and notorious crime. Over 20 years ago, he went on a rampage and slaughtered or attempted to slaughter his entire family. As it turned out – he came from the town that a member of our crew came from and the two were always chatting with each other whenever they would see each. The inmate (serving life without parole) was hoping hewould get word to his surviving family members for him and have them contact him. No one left in his family had had any communication with him for many years.