Louis Theroux: Miami Megajail
Miami is a party town full of glamour, cash and celebrity, but, away from the night clubs and the tourist spots, the city has a dark underbelly of violent crime. And so it is perhaps no surprise that Miami-Dade County is also home to a so-called "Megajail".
Unlike his 2008 film, Behind Bars, which explored the lives of convicted prisoners inside California's San Quentin Prison, Miami Megajail is an in-depth look at a vast and chaotic holding pen for the unconvicted. Most of the inmates in the Miami jail system are awaiting trial. And that wait can go on for years.
In tonight's opener, Louis spends time in one of the most notorious sections of the jail, the fifth and sixth floor of "Main Jail", where many of the most volatile inmates are incarcerated. In large cage-like dwellings which hold up to 24 men, the inmates have developed a strange and violent jail culture. They remain in the cells almost all the time and may only leave for yard time twice a week.
They also live under the sway of a gladiatorial code. They must fight each other for food, for status and often just to pass the endless hours of confinement. Trips to the infirmary are a daily occurrence and inmates are viciously attacked and beaten but the guards say they are powerless to end the abuse.
Louis Theroux concludes his exploration into Miami Mega-jail, one of America's largest and most violent of jails, a holding pen for almost 6000 un-convicted inmates.
Louis goes deeper into the jail system, meeting an alleged triple murderer facing a possible death sentence. He also follows a group of forty or so younger inmates who have escaped prison by pleading guilty and agreeing to attend a four month military style boot camp. Among them is a 14-year-old boy facing a possible ten year sentence for armed robbery if he can't survive the boot camp's relentless and brutal training and indoctrination programme.
Many will drop out and receive prison sentences, but for a handful this will be their second chance at life.