In December 2014, Mother Jones senior reporter Shane Bauer started a job as a corrections officer at a Louisiana prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s second-largest private prison company. During his four months on the job, Bauer would witness stabbings, an escape, lockdowns, and an intervention by the state Department of Corrections as the company struggled to maintain control. Read Bauer’s gripping firsthand account here.
Bauer’s investigation is also the subject of a six-part video series produced by Mother Jones senior digital editor James West. In the first episode, Bauer gets a job with CCA and begins four weeks of training at Winn Correctional Center, which one former guard describes as “hell in a can.” Bauer also explores why a dangerous job that pays $9 an hour is attractive in an area with few employment options.