New Documentary, “Prison Terminal,” Looks at Death, Dying, and Dignity in Prisons

Ever wonder what happens to all those Lifers?  To all those War on Drugs defendants who received 300 years in prison?  To the 3 Strikes Your Out folks?

They die, more often than not, in prison.  But they don’t just go out like a lightbulb, working fine until one day you flip the switch and its burnt out.  No, like most humans, dying is a long drawn-out painful process that can consume everything in the vicinity- including money.  Illness is a leading cause of bankruptcy, and one wonders if illness and old age of prisoners will be the bankruptcy of the American prison system.

Filmmaker Edgar Barens (“A Sentence of Their Own”) takes us inside the Iowa prison, where a hospice is staffed primarily by other prisoners.  Prison Terminal is a powerful piece that not only forces us to question what we are doing with prison policy, but also to check our preconceived notions about the love and compassion amongst the prison population.  I consider myself blessed to have seen a sneak preview of this film, but others can catch previews here.

An online campaign is running to raise the final funding to finish off this film, which is destined to become required viewing for any policymaker dealing with criminal justice legislation.

More info at

About Bruce Reilly

Bruce Reilly is the Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender in New Orleans, LA. He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and author of NewJack's Guide to the Big House. Much of his writing can be found on
This entry was posted in Prison Conditions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to New Documentary, “Prison Terminal,” Looks at Death, Dying, and Dignity in Prisons

  1. Pingback: Unprison 2011-2013 Index | unprison

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s