>> Tonight on Frontline... >> My momma was locked up, my daddy, my brother, my cousin, everybody.
>> 2.3 million Americans are locked up.
>> I've spent more time in prison than I've been in society.
That's a shame.
>> Many for nonviolent crimes.
>> I shouldn't be in here.
I'm in here, basically, for skipping school.
>> These inmates are costing states billions they can't afford.
>> Our number one frequent flier is not dangerous, but we have probably spent millions of dollars on this guy.
>> Frontline takes you inside one American neighborhood where getting locked up is a part of everyday life.
>> This system's set up for them to fail, because when they come out of prison, there's nothing for them.
>> And inside one state that's trying to fix a broken system.
>> Incarceration has become the response to every social problem that we encounter.
>> Jail doesn't work, prison doesn't work.
>> We need to distinguish between who we're mad at and who we're afraid of.
>> Tonight on Frontline... "Prison State."
>> My name is Keith Huff.
I'm from Louisville, Kentucky.
I've been incarcerated five times in the Kentucky State Prison system.
I got a total of 27 years in the system.
Is it okay to go in?
>> Thank you, sir.
>> NARRATOR: Keith Huff is a million-dollar prisoner.
The state of Kentucky has spent an estimated $1.1 million incarcerating him.
He's been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disor.
>> (whispering prayer) I do great in prison for some reason.
It's sad, but I do great in prison, I mean, because I got the structure, people telling me what to do.
When I got somebody behind me, on me, I do great in life, for real, I really do.
>> NARRATOR: Keith is currently serving five years for burglary, theft and impersonating a police officer.
He's set to be released in three months.
>> I do some stupid stuff.
I have been coming in and out of prison since the early '80s.
Every time I have left prison, it was like a revolving door.
It's just a cycle.
It's a curse.
And where I come from, the neighborhood I come from, most everybody get locked up, and I mean everybody.
(sirens blaring) >> NARRATOR: Keith is from Beecher Terrace, a housing project in the west end of Louisville, Kentucky, where one in six people cycle in and out of prison every year.
of the west end.
>> Yes, a lot of people in my family have been locked up.
>> My big brother been locked up, my daddy... >> My uncle's been to prison.
>> Yeah, my daddy and my granny.
>> NARRATOR: Kentucky spends more than $15 million a year incarcerating people just from Beecher Terrace and the surrounding neighborhoods.
>> My brother Ike has been locked up three or four times.
>> My best friend Eric's in prison right now.
>> My uncle, well almost all my uncles.
>> I'd say I've been incarcerated 50 times.
>> My granddaddy's been locked up, my sister's been locked up, my cousins, all of them.
>> NARRATOR: This is the story of a year in the lives of four residents of Beecher Terrace.
>> I got cousins on both sides that been locked up.
>> NARRATOR: Men who've been in and out of prison for decades.
>> I spent more time in prison than I've been in society.
That's a shame!
>> NARRATOR: Children getting locked up for the first time.
>> When I go to jail, I don't feel like it teaches me a lesson.
>> She is so angry.
Christel could be heading towards prison if she doesn't get it right right now.
>> My mother's been locked up.
>> You know, the United States locks up more people than any other country in the world.
>> Me and my cousin got some crack cocaine.
>> NARRATOR: It's the story of a place where incarceration is almost inevitable... >> Incarceration has become the response to every social problem that we encounter.
They doing bad at school?
Lock them up.
Problem in the home?
Lock them up.
>> NARRATOR: ...and of a state trying to break the cycle.
>> We really have to look at a paradigm shift in this business of how we operate justice.
Jail doesn't work.
Prison doesn't work.
>> I'm 15 years old, and I'm in here basically for skipping school.
>> My name is Christel Tribble, and I live in Beecher Terrace.
It's basically a regular ghetto.
I know a lot of people that's been in jail.
My dad, my uncle... well, almost all my uncles, my cousins...
But I'm my own person.
I want to go on American Idol when I get old enough, or I want to be a detective.
>> NARRATOR: Christel is 15.
She lives with her mother and four brothers and sisters in a two-bedroom apartment on Beecher Terrace.
Her father has been locked up most of her life.
>> I think it played a real big part in Christel's life.
She really didn't know him, he didn't really know her.
So it was like every time he got out, he was starting over, starting over, starting over.
So for the child, I think it fills them a lot with anger, which causes a whole lot of problems as they get older, you know?
>> I don't like him.
Every time he told me he was gonna come back and stuff like that and be in my life, he lied.
As I got older, I didn't care about my daddy anymore.
I wanna believe that my mama's my daddy too, so...
I don't wanna talk about it no more.
(sighs) >> Christel started acting out a little bit when she was in elementary, but she really started acting up when she hit middle school.
As she got older, all this stuff was just waiting to come out.
It was just waiting.
(yelling) >> NARRATOR: Last year, Christel was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD.
>> ♪ A hundred mother(bleep) can't tell me nothin'... ♪ >> NARRATOR: After a classroom fight, she was sent to an alternative school for disruptive children.
♪ Put it in your kidney Got a new LS 450 ♪ Ain't no keys in this do-hicky... ♪ >> NARRATOR: Now she stopped showing up and has just been summoned to court for truancy.
>> This is all coming down on you.
You know which way you're heading to?
Piggie, do you like it?
Are you sure?
Because we're back in the court again for the truancy.
If they got to, if they feel like they have to, they could lock you up.
Is that what you want?
This is stuff that they can do because you gave them permission to.
Look at me.
If you graduate, go to a college, this is something you can talk about with pride because you can share your stories with other kids.
You'll be one of the hood project kids that proved a whole lot of people wrong, and I know you can.
I know you can.
Your family, we know you can.
Can't nobody do nothing about this but you.
That's it, just you.
Quit being a knucklehead.
>> In these communities where incarceration has become so normalized, the system operates practically from cradle to grave.
When you're born, your parent has likely already spent time behind bars.
You're likely to attend schools that have zero tolerance policies, where police officers patrol the halls, where disputes with teachers are treated as criminal infractions, where a schoolyard fight results in your first arrest.
You find that at a very, very young age, even the smallest infractions are treated as criminal.
And that's where it begins.
It sends this message that whether you follow the rules or you don't, you're going to jail just like your uncle, just like your father, just like your brother, just like your neighbor.
You too are going to jail.
It's part of your destiny.
>> Hey, how's it going, man?
Anything good going on?
Got everything under control?
>> Yes, sir.
How you doing?
>> NARRATOR: Since the 1970s, the number of people locked up in the United States has grown from 300,000 to 2.3 million.
Kentucky has been at the center of this prison and jail expansion.
The number of inmates here has risen faster than in almost any other state.
>> Our number one frequent flier has been in and out of here over the last five years about 95 times.
And he is not dangerous, and throughout the entire criminal justice system, we have probably spent millions of dollars on this guy.
Gentlemen, good afternoon.
I'm Director Bolton.
>> NARRATOR: Louisville's jail is a few hundred yards from Beecher Terrace.
It's home to inmates awaiting trial or serving time for minor offenses.
>> We've got a jail capacity of 1,793 beds.
Who's been in here longer than 72 hours?
No, longer than 72 hours.
On any given day, we are trending over 2,000, sometimes as high as 2,100, 2,200.
I mean, we're crowded.
If I can get you out of here, because I need the space, we're going to get you out of here.
We're always over capacity.
We're always having to house inmates in nooks and crannies, on the floor, in any available space that we have.
How you doing?
Detoxing pretty hard?
Boy, you were using a lot.
At any given time, we're detoxing up to 90 people.
Residential detox beds are full, so more often than not, they come here to jail.
How you guys doing?
>> Could be better.
>> So what are you in here for?
Don't have room for you here.
We're locking up people that we're pissed off at.
We ought to be using this space for people that we're afraid of, violent folks, people that are going to hurt me and you.
We've gone through just an explosion of jail and prison construction in this country, costing us billions and billions of dollars to build and billions and billions of dollars to operate.
And we've come, I think, to a fork in the road where we just can't do that anymore because number one, we can't afford it, and secondly, we are locking people up that don't need to be locked up.
>> My name's Charles McDuffie, age 67, and I'm here for breaking the law.
Get in there!
>> NARRATOR: Charles McDuffie is in state prison serving a five-year sentence for burglary.
>> I had a drug problem.
I turned to drugs for help.
It'll ease your mind for a minute, and then you're right back to where you started from, you know?
Here I am, man, still here.
>> NARRATOR: 45 years ago, McDuffie served with the 11th Cavalry in Vietnam.
(helicopter chopping) >> That's when I first started doing drugs, started drinking, was in Vietnam.
And, uh... (gunfire) (plane engines revving) I started smoking marijuana, and it seemed like it made it easier, you know, to get through it, you know, but... Man, Vietnam was crazy, man.
It was crazy.
I've seen a lot of killing and stuff, man, you know?
(gunfire) (explosions) That was rough.
It was rough.
(plane engine humming) >> McDuffie!
(helicopter chopping) >> NARRATOR: Since Vietnam, McDuffie says he's had almost no mental health treatment.
He's set to be released from prison in two months.
Keeping him locked up over the years has cost an estimated $200,000.
>> Incarcerating people is very, very expensive.
Creating an infrastructure to house and control hundreds of thousands of people costs billions of dollars.
And what's bizarre is that we've actually taken money away from systems that are designed to help people stay out of jail and prison-- education, health and human services, family services, social services-- to fund an investment in incarceration.
And you invest it in jails and prisons, almost conceding that there's a whole community that has to go to jail or prison, we can't do anything for them other than incarcerate them.
>> My momma was locked up, my daddy, my cousins on my momma and daddy's side, most of them have been locked up.
I got uncles, brothers, everybody.
I got 11 charges.
Who gets 11 charges at the age of 14?
Who does that?
I don't even...
I really didn't even peep myself getting that many charges.
I didn't even peep myself going to court that many times.
Like, where did all the time go?
When did all these charges come?
>> NARRATOR: Demetria grew up on Beecher Terrace.
She's already been to juvenile jail three times.
She's now been charged with assaulting her aunt-- her legal guardian-- and placed in a shelter run by the juvenile courts.
She is on medication for anxiety disorder.
>> I just got a short temper.
It's like my anger be taking over.
I don't know.
When people get on bad with me, I just can't let nobody talk crazy to me.
Like, I feel like I got to say something back.
>> Come here, come on, talk to me, baby.
All this fighting, violence, that does not solve the problem, baby, in life.
It really doesn't.
It makes it worse.
A lot of kids I've worked with over the years, they're dead or they're in prison doing long time.
When I say "life," they're doing life, and that's not a good life.
>> NARRATOR: When Demetria was nine, her mother was shot dead.
The police say she killed herself.
Her family thinks she was murdered.
>> She's still having a difficult time in dealing with her mom's death.
Several times, she expressed to me that's why she fights: because she is still mad about her mom's death.
You're going to have to break the cycle.
So do you plan on breaking the cycle?
And at the rate that she's going, I really fear prison and death for her if she don't turn some things around.
>> Don't start lying.
There's socks in here?
I know what's in the box, but... >> Spread out, baby.
Kick your foot back.
>> No, I don't think I'm no bad person.
I don't try to get locked up.
I don't think going to jail's good.
But when I go to jail, I don't feel like it teaches me a lesson.
I feel like it just makes me even more mad.
It don't do nothing.
Like, you know how people are like, "It taught me a lesson"?
It don't teach me a lesson.
It just makes me even more mad, like, "So now I have to do all this time?
When I get out, this really might be World War Three.
That's exactly what goes through my mind: World War Three.
>> NARRATOR: If Demetria is found guilty of assault, she could face a year in juvenile detention.
>> Incarceration has become the response to every social problem that we encounter.
They're doing bad at school, lock them up.
If there's a problem in the home or behavior problem, you wanna lock them up.
And so we've criminalized an entire population of our young people instead of responding to it appropriately in the community, in the schools, in the home with social services.
We want to do the ultimate response: we want to lock them up and teach them a lesson.
But we could take each one of these inmates and put them up at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York for a month with room service and still not get to the amount of money we're spending every year for them.
Does that make sense?
(sirens blaring) >> NARRATOR: It costs the state an average of $87,000 a year to incarcerate a child.
Kentucky spends more than $50 million annually locking up juveniles, most of whom have never committed a violent offense.
>> We need to distinguish between who we're mad at and who we're afraid of.
The United States comprises about four and a half to five percent of the world's population, yet we incarcerate 24% to 25% of the world's prisoners.
And then you look at Kentucky, and over the past decade, from about 2010 backward to about '99, we had a prison growth rate of 45%.
The average for the rest of the country was 13%.
Kentucky had truly become the epicenter for prison growth.
Our spending jumped almost 220% to nearly half a billion dollars.
(bell ringing) >> NARRATOR: Now states like Kentucky can no longer afford this growth and are trying to reduce their prison population.
In 2011, the Kentucky legislature passed a law overhauling incarceration in the state.
Thousands of nonviolent offenders like Keith Huff will be released early over the next decade.
Some of the money saved will be spent on treatment for addicts like Charles McDuffie.
>> It's controversial, but the bill estimates savings of somewhere near half a billion dollars over a decade.
Nobody would dispute that prison serves a core function of government.
We need to segregate those individuals who are a threat to public safety.
Those individuals that we're mad at, there may be a better way.
There may be treatment, there may be intense supervision, there may be any number of things that would serve not only the individual better and his or her family, but society much better as well.
>> Um, well, today I'm being discharged and I'm really happy about that.
I'm a little kind of jittery, though, but you know, it just comes with the turf.
But most likely, I'm excited to go home today.
Take care of yourself, man.
I got you, brother.
>> Take your butt on up out of here, man.
>> Take care of yourself.
Thank you, man.
Take care of yourself, stay out of trouble.
I'm not coming back to penitentiary.
Ain't no ifs or buts, I'm not coming back.
I'll do everything in my power to stay out.
I don't care if I have to call anybody to get me some help.
I'm not coming back here.
(engine revving) >> Okay, you're good to go.
>> The most beautiful sight in the world.
>> NARRATOR: Under the Kentucky reforms, Keith is being released six months early.
This should save the state more than $15,000 if he doesn't get sent back to prison.
>> I'm glad to be released early, but I know it's going to be really hard.
I don't know how I'm gonna get my Social Security and I don't even know how I'm gonna get my Medicaid to pay for my medicines.
No one gonna give me a job because I'm a convicted felon.
>> All right, Mr. Huff, I'm Officer Robinson.
>> NARRATOR: Keith was diagnosed with his schizophrenia.
He has a long history of burglary, fraud, theft, and substance abuse.
Intensive parole supervision is supposed to help him stay out of trouble.
>> Understand you shall submit to random alcohol and drug testing.
Understand that seven nights a week, you're to be at the address on Marion.
>> I am not here to send you back to prison.
That's not my goal.
>> Yes, ma'am.
>> My goal is that in six months, I can hand you that final discharge.
You are this close to being done.
You can do this.
>> Yes ma'am, I know I can, thank you.
>> So communicate with me, trust me.
If something's going on and I can help you, let me know and I'll help you.
>> Yes, ma'am.
Hey, buddy, what's up?
>> What's going on?
>> I'm doing all right, you?
I'm not going back to Beecher Terrace this time because I want to get a fresh start in my life.
Glad to be with you.
God bless you for it.
Hey, how you doing?
>> NARRATOR: Keith has found a room in a group home for ex-prisoners.
>> How you doing, sir?
You won't have no problems out of me.
I don't use drugs and alcohol, so I'm...
I get along well with everybody, and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity, ma'am.
>> And that's what it's all about.
Ted's got this program to try to help people get themselves that second chance.
>> Yes, ma'am, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity.
>> Everyone deserves a second chance.
>> That's right.
>> Of course, this is Robert's third or fourth!
(laughing) >> We've been in prison together.
>> His biggest challenge is, right now, surviving.
The state is trying to pick up a little bit, but it's still terrible.
>> Y'all ain't got a coat or nothin'?
>> You don't have a coat?
>> The system is set up for them to fail because when they come out of prison, there is nothing for them.
And Keith was released from prison with just the clothes on his back.
No money, not even a winter coat.
He came out with his khaki pants, a sweatshirt and that was it, and not a dime in his pockets.
If it wasn't for this house, where would he be?
I mean, he'd be homeless and without a dime in his pocket.
If I'm a criminal, what's the first thing I'm gonna do?
I'm gonna get me some money, and the only way I know how to get money is to do it my way.
And they're right back in where they started.
>> I'm really scared, to be honest about it.
My parole conditions state that I have to stay off drugs and alcohol, and I don't know how I'm gonna do it.
I only have 30 days' supply of my medicine.
But I'm hopeful.
It feels good to be free.
I know I got a road ahead of me of getting my life together, but I want somebody to have something to say good about me.
I just want to leave something behind to say, "Well, at least he did try.
He tried to change."
I'm overjoyed today, and I thank the Lord for giving me another opportunity to go on with my life.
>> NARRATOR: The Kentucky prison reforms did not address juvenile incarceration.
The state locks up more than 1,000 children each year for minor offenses like truancy.
>> "Bank error in your favor, collect $200."
"Get out of jail free card."
"Go to jail, go directly to jail.
Do not pass go, do not collect $200."
My card says go to jail, but I'm already in jail.
>> NARRATOR: 14-year-old Demetria is still at the juvenile shelter.
>> What if I got a get out of jail free card, what are you saying?
>> NARRATOR: She's due in court soon for assaulting her aunt, who she's lived with since her mother was killed.
This weekend would have been her mother's birthday.
>> Miss Collins, can I please go to my mama's gravesite on Sunday for her birthday?
>> You know that that's considered a special pass, but because you are not on the right track to earning a home pass, getting a special visit on Sunday is an incentive.
So what plans do you have set for yourself to be able to earn a special visit?
Because you ain't been on the right track, mama.
>> I'll be good for the rest of the week, I promise.
>> You do what you're supposed to do from now until Friday and I will consider it.
But the bottom line is even if you do whatever you're supposed to do in here and your aunt says no, then you know it's no.
>> Yes, ma'am.
(phone ringing) Hello?
What you doing?
On Sunday, um... Can you come and get me and take me to my mama's gravesite?
I know y'all going.
She doesn't wanna...
So why can't y'all come get me, take me, then bring me back?
You don't have to come here, you're right.
Why would you keep me here on my mama's birthday?
You don't guide me.
You don't help me at all.
You bring me down.
You do not guide me.
On my mama's grave, you do not guide me.
You bring me down.
No, none of y'all guide me.
All y'all do is talk about me.
I guide myself.
I'm saying, "Look at you, you never have cared."
You never have.
No, I'm here because you don't care.
I'm going to be here on my mama's birthday because you don't care.
>> Start telling her your goodbyes.
>> All right, my time is up.
I love you.
>> Go take a few minutes, Demetria.
Take a few minutes to yourself if you wanna cry.
Go in the back.
>> NARRATOR: Three days later: Demetria's mother's birthday.
Demetria has a pass to leave the facility at 1:00 p.m. and is still hoping her aunt will come and get her.
>> She's late.
How come when I tell them to be here...?
You know you supposed to be here.
>> NARRATOR: If Demetria leaves on her own, she'll be charged with escape and sent to juvenile jail.
Demetria would later flee the court shelter.
Back on Beecher Terrace, 15-year-old Christel has been skipping school again.
She leaves the house each morning, but then doesn't show up for class.
Now her mother says she has no choice but to get a court order called a "Beyond Control Warrant" so she won't be prosecuted for Christel's truancy.
>> She has been messing up, period.
We have had problems almost every day.
This past week, I think she went to school Monday, and that's probably the only day she went to school.
The only thing I can do is take an "out of control" warrant to protect myself as far as all the absences that she's had.
There's nothing else I can do.
I don't know how to help my daughter.
>> NARRATOR: Christel has also picked up another charge for resisting arrest after a classroom fight.
Her court date is approaching, and now she faces jail.
>> My life's messed up.
I'm in a school full of bad people, full of bad kids.
I'm 15 and I'm in the court system and I probably got, like, six charges right now.
I'm gonna be locked up.
And I can't do it.
I have a lot of problems.
Life is not perfect.
It's not perfect.
I wrote a prayer.
It's my prayer to God.
"I pray to you, God, just please help me.
I don't know who I am anymore.
I need your help.
I'm tired and I just want some rest.
I just want to sleep.
I'm just tired, period.
I'm ready to give my life up.
I am ready to die.
I want to do it myself.
That's why I need you, so I know where I belong."
>> NARRATOR: Three nights before her court hearing, Christel overdoses on pills she stole from her mother.
>> "I'm a lying, evil, crazy, pathetic problem child.
I have nothing to live for or nothing to become.
And I'm so ready to go, and if I shall go to hell, then that's where I was meant to be.
I don't deserve your love or mercy or life in general.
Just please, I beg you, just help me.
>> When I went in to see Christel, Christel was still laying in the bed.
She's been crying a lot, because she's red around the eyes.
So we both sat on the bed with her and I just talked to her.
I felt bad seeing her in there like that.
Sort of like I failed her.
And I wanted to cut me out too.
(indistinct radio transmissions) >> NARRATOR: Under Kentucky's prison reforms, Charles McDuffie is being released into drug rehab.
>> Do you have any questions about anything?
>> Thank you.
>> Good luck to you, man.
>> All right, all right, man.
Oh, I love it, I love it.
I even bought me some new shoes to walk out with.
(laughing) I love it, man.
Let me out!
I ain't coming back.
Hopefully I'm not.
I know it's not gonna be easy.
I know that it's gonna be hard.
But my plan is I'm not coming back.
I like my freedom.
>> NARRATOR: McDuffie will spend six months in a drug treatment facility.
>> I'm going to ask you these questions.
Do you have any drugs on you?
No smoke, no weed, no spice, no pills?
>> You're going to get asked that a hundred million times.
>> That's good.
That's a good thing.
>> I need you to turn around, hold your arms out like this.
Turn out this way.
>> We, the residents of St. Anne's, have come to believe that those who have had problems in the past deserve a chance to make a positive change.
>> I think it's nuts.
(laughs) But I got myself in this situation.
So I got to deal with it.
>> Hey, McDuffie.
>> I'm a Vietnam veteran, I have a clean date: March 25, 2011.
(applause) I don't like it, but I look at it like this: if it'll help me stay clean and not ever use drugs again, hey, I'm all for it.
>> NARRATOR: Inmates released early under the prison reforms have to report regularly to their parole officer.
But Keith Huff has gone missing.
>> Keith at this point has been declared an absconder.
Being declared an absconder, it means that you are a fugitive, it means that I will be turning his case over to our fugitive task force to locate him.
I'm highly disappointed.
In the first meeting with Keith I really honestly felt that he was genuine, he was ready to change, he's been in and out of the system for 40 years.
So I really thought he was ready, he had less than six months to be completely done with this.
I attempted to call his cell phone, did a home visit, worried of course, you know, because he had medical problems.
So at this point, not knowing anything else that's going on I'm just horribly disappointed.
>> NARRATOR: A month has passed since Christel's overdose.
Her court date for resisting arrest and truancy has been rescheduled for today.
She could be sent to juvenile jail.
But the court is offering an alternative.
>> Still up to four charges, isn't it?
>> Well, you've got the truancies here, back here.
The beyond control is back here.
But then right now it's the disorderly conduct resisting arrest.
>> Their offer is to plead guilty to the resisting arrest.
They would ask that you go on home incarceration.
>> Be on the watch?
>> Be on the watch for a period of time.
If you're on the watch you got to go to school every day.
Because not going to school is a violation.
Good behavior at home, good behavior at school, go to school.
I mean it's kind of like you're at a point right now where you got to make a decision of, you know, I'm going to change or, you know, things are going to go downhill real fast.
>> All right.
I'm going to take the deal.
>> Are you sure?
>> All right, Miss Tribble, this is the document marked admission of guilt, have you had plenty of time today to go over everything on this document with your attorney, Miss Hurley?
>> Yes, ma'am.
>> All right, Miss Tribble how do you plead to the charge of resisting arrest, guilty or not guilty?
>> The sentence for that today is 20 days on HIP, and you are to attend school daily with no unexcused absences, okay?
>> Thank you.
>> All right that's all for today, thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> I hate having to lock children up.
It is used as a last resort.
I don't believe detention is a deterrent with adolescents.
We have reduced the population in our detention facility since I've been on the bench by 30%.
We took money and redirected it into the home incarceration electronic monitoring, which allows us to let children go home far more often than it used to.
>> Know what this is?
It's getting thick, Christel!
It's getting thick!
>> And it's not going to get any thicker.
>> Is that the last time?
>> Yeah, it's the last time.
>> All right what leg do you want it on?
>> They know what HIP means.
If they have any issues at school or at home that we don't talk about it, you just get locked up and come to the youth center.
Is that going to be a problem?
>> It's not going to be a problem.
>> We're not going to get locked up?
>> No, I'm good.
>> It's not too tight?
>> Not too tight.
>> Hear that click you're on HIP you don't get off until-- >> The 24th.
>> Good luck.
Once you get home it's going to send us a page that everything's hooked up correctly.
If I don't get the page then I'll be calling you.
>> Christel's at that crossroad.
She could finally get it now and decide okay, you know, "They're right, I do have to go to school.
I do need to get my stuff together."
But she's on that level where she can go either way because she is so angry.
She could be headed towards prison if she doesn't get it right, right now.
I hate to say that about any kid, but it is a reality.
>> NARRATOR: Three days later, Christel skips school.
>> The police came.
I didn't know what was going on.
I got arrested.
You just never want to be in that predicament.
>> Tribble, Christel?
Christel, have you currently or recently been pregnant?
>> Have you ever attempted suicide or caused harm to yourself?
>> A long time ago.
>> Are you thinking about it now?
>> Do you have a history of violent behavior?
>> On a scale of one to ten how sad are you?
>> On a scale of one to ten how mad are you?
>> NARRATOR: Christel faces up to 65 days in juvenile detention.
>> It's confusing.
You get chained up, like I'm a criminal.
I'm in here with people for robbery and other stuff, I'm... People that actually did stuff.
I had the handcuffs, my handcuffs was chained around my waist and I had a lock on it, like I was going to break loose and kill somebody, so I don't get it.
I'm 15 years old, I was on HIP and I'm in here basically for skipping school.
>> NARRATOR: A year after the Kentucky reforms were rolled out, prison and jail numbers are slowly starting to fall.
>> You doing all right?
>> Yes, sir.
>> You look happy today.
>> I'm always happy.
>> I know you are.
>> I'm still alive.
>> I hear you.
Beats the alternative, doesn't it?
We're starting to see, I think, some positive results from that, but certainly not to the extent that I was hoping for.
>> NARRATOR: Some of the inmates who were released early have already been re-arrested and locked up again in Louisville's jail.
>> How you been?
>> I'm doing fine, man.
I keep coming back to jail.
>> I remember you, I know you keep coming back to jail, why you keep coming back to jail for?
But you're always so happy when you come here.
What are you back for this time, man?
One of the big challenges we have here is our frequent flier population.
And that is our chronic and persistent mentally ill folks that come to us on a regular basis.
These are individuals that by and large are not violent or a threat.
They have a mental illness, they also may have substance abuse issues.
We do a pretty good job of cleaning them up, getting them back on their medication.
Only to release them right back out to the streets, a limited supply of medication and that cycle just starts all over again.
They end up right back in here and we do it all over again.
You know, the true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the results to be different.
>> NARRATOR: Keith Huff-- who's been on the run-- has just been caught by the police.
He had stopped taking his medications and was back on Beecher Terrace.
>> Well, I'm in Jefferson County jail right now.
I'm here for violating my parole.
I been in this jail probably 30, 40 times.
I was really trying to do the right thing, but at the end of the day I'm kind of disappointed in myself.
I stopped taking my medicine, and you don't think rational like you should think.
I made some bad choices because I didn't take my medicine.
So really I did it to myself.
That's basically what happened.
>> NARRATOR: Keith will now be sent back to state prison.
>> The alleged violations are as follows: absconding mandatory re-entry supervision, use of a controlled substance, cocaine, failure to attend treatment for substance abuse.
That's what you've been charged with.
>> When we release people from prison, the risk of going back to prison is very, very high.
Not because you're going to commit a new crime, but because we create these conditions for release that are very difficult to satisfy.
You have to pay $30, $40 or $50 a month.
You have to report on a regular schedule.
You may have to be employed.
You can't move.
There are a whole host of things you cannot do.
And lots of people who are struggling with re-entry fail to do that.
When you see these technical violations sending thousands of people back to jail or prison, sometimes for years, maybe even decades.
>> You kick me out on the street and you tell me do this and do that.
But at the end of the day, I don't have clothes, I don't have food.
I don't have no transportation.
It's not easy.
What do you expect that man to do?
>> When you look ahead at the rest of your life, what's going to happen to you?
>> I don't know.
I'm just being honest with you, I don't really know.
Right now, I don't really care.
I really don't.
>> Sometimes I'll be just laying here, trying to get to sleep and sometimes these nightmares won't let me go to sleep.
>> NARRATOR: Charles McDuffie has now been in rehab for a month.
He is having nightmares about Vietnam.
>> Feel real.
I wake up sweating and one day everything were wet-- pillow case, sheet and everything.
>> Mr. McDuffie suffers not only from the disease of addiction, he also has some post-traumatic stress issues stemming from his service during Vietnam.
According to him he had 19 confirmed kills but one, that as he says, his friend that he brought back with him that he still has dreams about, nightmares.
>> NARRATOR: The treatment facility has arranged for McDuffie to have therapy for post-traumatic stress.
>> McDuffie family.
>> Hey McDuffie.
>> I went to Vietnam when I was 19 years old, came back when I was 23.
I knew something was wrong with me, definitely, but I didn't know what it was, you know.
I got a lot of dark memories about Vietnam.
A little incident happened that I can't get over.
(indistinct radio chatter) I killed a Vietcong that didn't have a weapon.
I shot that man about 30 times.
I could see that little man today, you know, begging me not to kill him, but I did, you know.
I mean he had kids, he had a baby son.
"Me got baby son, me got baby son."
And I killed that man, you know.
I think it was murder.
I mean to me, that's the way I feel about it, you know.
That was it, man, that was it.
I become a crack addict.
Crack is the devil for real, but today I'm clean and sober.
I feel good about myself.
That's about it, that's about it.
(applause) >> NARRATOR: Demetria has been re-arrested after escaping from the juvenile shelter.
>> I just got locked up.
I left the group home, but the police found me in Beecher Terrace.
I'm mad, but what can I do?
You can't run from here or I would have been did it.
>> NARRATOR: Demetria could be released on home incarceration.
But her aunt has told the courts she's not ready to take her back.
>> She want me to be locked up.
She's the only parent I know that does that.
Any other parent is fighting to get their child out of jail.
She's "Keep her detained" and do this, do that.
I'm not with none of that.
I don't like asking people, "Can you take me in, can I live with you?"
You know, I'm not that type of person.
I don't like to need nobody.
I don't like feeling like I need nobody.
It's making me more mad.
Locked up do not make you, "Oh, my God, I'm never going to do this again."
No, it might make some people think that, but not me.
>> I'm really sad to say that the data plays out really clearly that once a child is involved with us formerly, it increases the likelihood that they continue to be involved with us or move to the adult system.
When you hear those doors lock behind you and somebody has to start calling for keys and for numbers every time you move and somebody is watching you 24 hours a day, how do you help but internalize that?
Especially as a child, how do you help but internalize that this must be my natural habitat?
>> When I came in here I was heartbroken.
I was heartbroken when I got put in here because I feel like I was getting torn apart.
I shouldn't be in here.
I just shouldn't.
This is not my place.
>> NARRATOR: Christel is now going to face the judge whose court order she violated.
Her jail sentence could be extended.
>> All right, Christel Tribble.
Miss Tribble, you stand before the court on a motion to hold you in contempt for violation of my court order of home incarceration.
It's my understanding that you were admitting to contempt for violation of HIP, is that correct?
>> Yes, ma'am.
>> All right, Miss Tribble, I'm placing you on probation to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Miss Tribble, you understand you are going to be on a curfew now.
And if you violate your curfew, they will bring you back to me.
Do you understand what the next step is?
>> Yes, ma'am.
>> Any further violations of my order will result in a much longer stay at the detention center.
Are you clear?
>> Yes, ma'am.
>> Make sure you are.
All right, you will be released back on the HIP program, that's all for today.
>> Thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> NARRATOR: The judge has given Christel one last chance.
She'll be allowed to go back home, but she'll be on probation for six months.
>> How you doing, criminal?
(chuckles) >> I'm so happy to be out.
>> Look at your hair!
>> I got to get it done, I know!
When I'm 18, all this stuff is going to be gone.
I'm going to finish school, I'm going to go to college, I'm going to get me a job.
I'm not a screw up, I'm not going to be one.
Seems like it now, but wait till you see me in the future.
I'm going to be something when I grow up.
>> I think she'll be okay.
Because she's just tired of going back and forth to court and she don't like for nobody to tell her what to do.
She knows now that there's really nothing else but camp or being removed from the home.
You know, you've used up everything else, so she know it's getting real now.
>> I missed you!
>> You have fun?
(laughs) >> NARRATOR: After three months of rehab, McDuffie's therapist is encouraging him to confront his past by writing a letter to the man he killed.
>> I thought it was stupid, you know.
She said, "No, let's try it, write a letter to apologize," you know, so I did.
When I was in Vietnam I did something that I thought was wrong.
To me it was murder.
I lived with this for years.
I have nightmares because of it.
I did drugs to ease my problems.
But it still comes back just about every day.
So I want you to know that I'm sorry.
I've lost a lot thinking about you for all these years.
Now I am telling you goodbye forever.
I've suffered enough from you, no more.
I'm not sick anymore, so now I'm able to deal with you.
I got a sense of relief, you know.
I don't feel so guilty now, I feel a lot of guilt, you know, I feel a lot of guilt, shame for all these years, you know.
There are things that come with war, you know, I'm realizing all this.
All this stuff is just coming to me now, you know, and it gives me a sense of relief, you know.
I feel good today.
I feel good.
I feel better than I've felt for a long time.
>> NARRATOR: Demetria has been locked up for six weeks.
The judge is trying to figure out what to do with her.
>> Okay, let's call her in.
How you doing?
>> A little jumpy?
We're here for sentencing on contempt stipulation of 327.
>> NARRATOR: Demetria is hoping she can be sent back home to her aunt.
>> There have been more significant problems here recently, we're not denying any of that.
But I really think she can do this.
>> Well, correct me if I'm mistaken, Miss Duncan, but you told me in court that you didn't want to live with your aunt.
>> But I do want to go home now.
>> Well, it's amazing what the detention center will do for you.
All right, my problem is, it is a volatile home situation between Demetria and her aunt.
She's violated every other release that I've given her.
You stood in front of me, Miss Duncan, and told me you were not going to violate and you were gone within 24 hours.
>> But I promise I'm not going to leave.
>> I know but you promised me before, okay?
I can't trust your promise anymore, that's my problem.
So I'm not going to release you pending dispo, okay?
She's remanded to LMYDC pending dispo.
That's all for today.
>> NARRATOR: Demetria is ultimately sent to a state detention camp for teenage offenders.
>> I don't want to lock a youth up.
That is not ever what I want to do.
But as a last resort if I cannot get them to come to court, if I cannot get them to quit committing crimes, if I cannot get them to do what they need to be doing then sometimes that has to be done.
If for no other reason than to make sure they don't commit any further crimes and to protect the community that we all live in.
It is a removal of the child from the home.
I certainly don't view that as punishment.
The child may view that as punishment, but it is treatment.
It is treatment where the child doesn't have the freedom of saying no.
>> NARRATOR: It's 18 months since the prison reforms took effect.
They are starting to have an impact.
By 2013, there were 1,300 fewer prisoners in Kentucky and almost 3,000 more places in drug treatment programs.
Now the state is also planning to reform its juvenile justice system.
Kentucky has become a model and other states are implementing similar changes.
>> We have now seen the national rate of incarceration finally slow and get to the point where it hasn't increased in the way it has over the last 40 years.
And I think the big question is whether we can sustain that.
I think our consciousness about what we've done is starting to grow.
We recognize that we can't incarcerate ourselves out of some of these social problems.
But we'll need a few years of steady decline before we can actually declare an end to an era.
>> NARRATOR: In the jail next to Beecher Terrace, it's business as usual.
>> So we're back above 2,000 this morning?
>> Yeah, 2,004 this morning.
>> There's been some progress, but I think there's a lot more progress to be made.
>> NARRATOR: Dozens of new drug addicts and mentally ill offenders continue to arrive every day.
>> Hi, how are you?
I think locking up folks that are a clear and present danger to the community obviously makes the streets safer.
Locking up people for not paying their traffic fines, locking up people for possession of small amounts of drugs or marijuana, locking up people who are intoxicated in the public, locking up people that are mentally ill... well that certainly does not work and that does not keep the community any more safe.
>> I'm back in state prison right where I started at.
Now what I'm going to do when I get out I don't know.
I don't even know where I'm going to go at.
I don't know how I'm going to eat, clothe myself, none of that.
So I just got to deal with what God give me.
>> So is this all going to happen again in five months?
>> I don't know.
I can't tell you what's going to happen four or five months from now.
I know after four or five months I know department of corrections got to turn me loose.
What I do after that, I don't know what my future holds, I just don't know.
When you don't have nothing, and you don't have hope, what the hell do you have?
>> NARRATOR: McDuffie has completed his rehab and is a free man.
So far, he has stayed clean.
>> Well, I'm excited today because I'm going to see some people I haven't seen for a long time.
>> Are you one of us brothers?
>> Yes, I am.
>> Welcome home.
>> All right, man, all right.
>> The guys are inside.
>> I'm going to meet some guys that I fought with.
I haven't seen them in 46 years.
I want to check in.
>> Thank you.
Thank you for your service, sir.
>> You're welcome, you're welcome, any time.
>> And welcome home.
>> Thank you, thank you.
>> I'm glad you came.
Give me a hug.
>> All right.
All right, all right.
>> Welcome home.
>> How you doing, brother?
>> I'm doing good, good to see you.
>> Welcome home.
>> Thank you, same to you, welcome home.
>> How are you?
>> All right, all right.
We fought together.
You know, we like brothers, you know, it's something else.
How you doing?
Who are you?
>> I'm McKee, man.
I remember you, and Aaron Harris and Dennis.
I'm doing great.
>> 46 years!
>> It is 46 years, man.
Ain't that something?
>> Remember you used to do all that singing.
>> Yeah, man.
>> Feel good.
After all these years, man.
Long time, long time.
>> That will never go away, the Vietnam War.
It'll never go away.
I was not afraid.
Man, tears in my eyes, man.
When's the last time you heard from Aaron?
I've been trying to find him for years.
>> He was my real close friend.
>> He was my close friend.
You know, I named my son after him.
>> I feel real strong.
I think I'm going to be all right this time.
I don't want to get caught back in that cycle again.
I'm doing good.
>> He's talked a lot about you.
Nice to meet you.
>> Christel's been on probation for two months and she's been staying out of trouble.
It's like she's looking through new eyes.
She's doing what she got to do, you know.
It's way better than it was.
It's way better.
She's good at school, she hasn't had no problems with none of the teachers, none with no kids, she's doing her work.
So it's better.
She's finally faced the fact that she will never win an argument with me, you know.
>> I feel like I've changed.
Yeah, I'm determined to stay out of the court system.
I think they're trying to get me locked up.
And if I prove them wrong I'll make them all look stupid, right?
>> I don't think she's going to be one of those statistics.
Not saying that because she's my child.
Well, yeah, partially I am saying that because she's my child, because I'm the one that's going to push hard to keep her steering the right way.
About a year ago if you'd ask me, I probably would have said I think she's going to wind up in penitentiary.
At the rate that she was going.
But it looks better though now.
It looks a whole lot better.
>> NARRATOR: Demetria spent almost a year locked up.
>> See, times like this is like when I wish my momma was alive.
Because I don't think I be doing all this if my momma was alive.
But it is what it is, she's not here, so.
I just don't care no more.
I just don't care, like, I don't care.
I'm not going to give a (bleep).
I don't give a (bleep).
I'm not going to care.
Every time they catch me, I'm going to run.
I'm going to keep running.
I don't care.
>> NARRATOR: Demetria was released back home to her aunt in early 2014, but then violated the terms of her probation.
She is now on the run.
>> Go to pbs.org/frontline to learn more about the cycle of incarceration in the U.S. >> The system operates practically from cradle to grave.
>> And how some state and federal authorities are trying to break that cycle.
Hear more about Kentucky's next experiment with prison reform.
>> I'm in here basically for skipping school.
>> And connect to the Frontline community, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org >> For more on this and other Frontline programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
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