October 8, 2016 • 5:30pm, 82 MIN
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery


Dir.Kristi Jacobson, 2016

Though it is considered a form of torture in much of the world, the use of solitary confinement to punish and control prison inmates has grown exponentially in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 people held in isolation in prisons across the country. Inmates are relegated to cramped cells for months and years at a time, typically following administrative decisions by prison officials that are never reviewed by courts or subject to outside oversight in any way. Filmmaker Kristi Jacobson spent a year delving into the lives of guards and inmates at Red Onion State Prison in southern Virginia, one of more than 40 so-called “supermax” prisons built to hold prisoners in solitary confinement indefinitely, to produce a revelatory film about an unforgiving world hidden from public view.