CLEVELAND— “Prisons for Profit” will debut at the 39th Cleveland International Film Festival. The 22-minute documentary, produced by the ACLU of Ohio and directed by Cleveland filmmaker Craig Knowles, will be shown as part of the festival’s Ohio Shorts Program at 9:40 p.m., March 26 at the Tower City Cinemas in Cleveland.
“We’re honored to have the documentary premiere at this prestigious film festival,” said Mike Brickner, senior policy director at the ACLU of Ohio. “It’s the perfect venue to shine the light on how private prisons are bad for the people of Ohio. When you watch ‘Prisons for Profit’ you’ll see what happens when prisoners become dollars signs. While each of the people interviewed have had very different experiences with the prison, they are all unified in their belief that when prisons are operated for profit, serious issues arise for the people in prison, their families, those who work at the facilities, and the community.”
“Prisons for Profit” examines the first 18 months in the life of the nation's first state prison sold to a private corporation. The short film chronicles the disturbing and often dangerous set of issues that unfolded after Corrections Corporation of America purchased the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in 2011 from the state of Ohio. These included rampant drug use, increased violence, and inadequate medical care, as well as the incompetence and confusion on the part of state and private prison officials. These problems are not uncommon in prisons for profit—where revenues drive decisions. Prisoners, prison workers and those living near the prison are the first to suffer from unsafe and inhumane conditions.
Tickets for the 1 ½-hour program of shorts go on sale to the general public March 6. Ticket prices are $13 for CIFF members and $15 for non-members. Tickets will be available online at www.clevelandfilm.org, by telephone (1.877.304.FILM) and at the Film Festival Box Office in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas. The trailer for “Prisons for Profit” is available on YouTube. More information about private prisons available at www.aclu.org.