Web Resources: Hulu.com
Hulu, the 2-year-old partnership between NBC Universal, Walt Disney, and some other companies to stream TV shows and other video content online, is a one-stop shop for catching up on late-night TV drama, indulging your David Cassidy nostalgia, or getting your vintage Buffy fix. But, although Hulu may be best known as an entertainment destination, it also makes available documentary films and investigative journalism pieces that might, in a pre-Web age, have been hard to track down. Of the many videos now available for free on Hulu that might appeal to readers interested in jails, prisons, and related issues, here are a few to start with. (Disclaimer: I’ve watched some but not all of these myself, so I can’t vouch for all of their quality — readers are invited to post comments if they know more about any of the films, and also to suggest other videos that may be of interest.)
- “Prisoner Transport” (2009), an episode of Dangerous Drives following drivers for the U.S. Extradition Service. Note that, despite its official-sounding name, this is apparently a private company that contracts with law enforcement agencies to transport inmates.
- “Prison Contraband” (2009), a Current TV/Vanguard investigative report on how cell phones and other prohibited items are smuggled into California state prisons.
- “The OxyContin Express” (2009), another Vanguard report, which traces the OxyContin pipeline from South Florida to the Appalachian region. Includes interviews with women inmates in a Kentucky jail.
- “Getting Out of Prison” (2008), in which Current TV’s Laura Ling (herself, of course, a veteran of North Korean prison) follows three California ex-prisoners as they try to adjust to life on the outside.
- “Prison Power Play” (2007), another Laura Ling report for Current TV, this one on California’s Corcoran State Prison.
- “Jail” (2006), an episode of 30 Days in which professional guinea pig Morgan Spurlock spends a month in a Richmond, Va. county jail.
- Cracked Not Broken (2006), about one woman’s journey through drug addiction and prostitution.
- Heidi Fleiss, Hollywood Madam (1996), profiling one of the federal prison system’s most famous alumnae.