A documentary on prisoners serving life sentences without the possibility of parole at California State Prison, Los Angeles County, will premiere on HBO at 9 p.m. Monday.
“Toe Tag Parole: To Live and Die on Yard A,” focuses on the 600 men living at the prison’s Progressive Programming Facility, who seek self-improvement and spiritual growth through education, art and music therapy, religious services and participation in peer-group sessions.
The film features interviews with three of the inmates who were sentenced to life at ages 14, 16 and 17 and describe growing up within the prison walls.
“Toe Tag Parole: To Live and Die on Yard A,” was produced by the husband-and-wife team of Alan and Susan Raymond, who won an Oscar and Emmy for the 1993 documentary “I Am A Promise: The Children of Stanton School.”
An inmate serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole approached the warden in 2000 to request a dedicated yard for men serving life sentences to break the code of violence dominating prison life.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation subsequently transformed Yard A at the prison in Lancaster into the Progressive Programming Facility, which inmates call The Honor Yard.
The only one of its kind in the United States, the experimental prison yard is free of violence, racial tensions, gang activity and illegal drug and alcohol use, according to the filmmakers.
— City News Service
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