26 Monsters, How They Call Us – Ben Lear on His Film Debut

Ben Lear talks about his documentary film, They Call Us Monsters, which follows three Hispanic teenagers, Jarad, Juan and Antonio, incarcerated in The Compound, the high-security facility in the middle of Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in California’s Los Angeles County, as they themselves create a screenplay for a short film under the guidance of film-director teacher, Gabriel Cowan. Continue reading


24 Coming to Harm – Boy With a Knife

Last year, Jean Trounstine published her book Boy with a Knife: A Story of Murder, Remorse, and a Prisoner’s Fight for Justice, in which she tells the story of Karter Kane Reed and his journey from angry 16-year-old who killed and was incarcerated as an adult, to working, public-speaking, home-owning thirty-something member of free society. Jean talks about the kinds of cultural influences, notions of loyalty and experiences that precipitate boys towards violence, such as those portrayed in the film The Outsiders, some acknowledged by Karter himself. We reflect on the resistance of some to those who killed as teenagers being released, in the light of the Montgomery v. Louisiana SCOTUS ruling of January 2016, which will permit many who were sentenced as juveniles to Life Without Parole to go free in the coming months and years.

Intro / Outro: Jeffrey Deskovic

Music: Chameleon Catholics – Where’s Cush?; It’s Like Trying to Speak Swahili with Gandhi


22 Checkpoint Correctional & Checkpoint Status

Negotiating the prison-visiting entry procedure is a grim and unforgiving experience. After getting over the access hurdles, we visit with featured juvenile lifer, Giovanni Reid, at Graterford State Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, and discover that the atmosphere in the prisoners’ confined basement visiting room is more congenial than in the open reception area, upstairs. Giovanni is hearty, healthy and upbeat, belying the oppressive environment in which he has lived for the past 25 years. Continue reading