Since 2014, filmmaker Dan Edge, with his business partner Lauren Mucciolo, has been embedded in three- to four-week stints in the Maine State Prison documenting the lives of the inmates kept in solitary confinement and the prison’s efforts to reduce its use dramatically, the Bangor Daily News reports. The footage has been used to make two documentaries: “Solitary Nation” in 2014 and “Last Days of Solitary,” which is set to air at 9 p.m. tonight on PBS “Frontline.” The newspaper calls it “an unflinching, often harrowing look” at solitary and at the lives of inmates as they transition out of it.
The footage is often graphic and bloody but shows the reality of those kept in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison. “I’m still shocked by what we saw, going into that kind of environment, even after years of doing it,” Edge said. “You do eventually become desensitized to it, to the violence and trauma, but then you go back to edit and you realize how extraordinarily harrowing it is — especially for the officers and for the inmates.” Both documentaries follow five inmates kept at various points in solitary. The film shows how the Maine State Prison has become a leader in efforts nationwide to change the ways prisons are run.