Behind Bars
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Behind Bars

2008, Crime  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 8.14/10 from 22 users.

Behind BarsAnother chance to see the BAFTA award winning presenter traveling to northern California to visit America's notorious San Quentin State Prison.

Built in 1852, San Quentin is one of America's oldest prisons and suffers from chronic overcrowding. Although famous for its death row the prison's main task is to house a transient population of 3,000 murderers, sexual predators and small-time criminals.

Louis spends two weeks with these inmates and quickly discovers that they inhabit a strange world within a world with its own rules and its own brutal code of conduct.

He meets amongst others David Silva who is serving 521 years and 11 life sentences and is locked down for 23 hours a day. Silva's crimes as he describes them 'would never be forgotten' and he talks of how he faces up to the prospect of never leaving prison.

Louis meets Deborah and Rob a trans-gender couple who live like husband and wife and how Deborah feels that after 20 years of continual offending, San Quentin now feels like home.

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8 years ago

Sell out! I saw this before darling Louis got greedy. Torrent this!!

9 years ago

Beginning arians say they can't say who's in charge. Not the big guy I'm the middle drinkin his yoohoo like a 40 in a bag and doin all the talkin.....poor 19yr old new kid, u know they're all diddling his pooter.

9 years ago

Favourite doc so far! I love louis

HeySuze Christ
10 years ago

part 3, 6 minutes in ... the guy who would not say what he did ... is clearly a pedophile.

Colin Perkins
11 years ago

I really like Louis, cool guy, I'd like to hang with him

11 years ago

Silva Was Right if You Can Forget Everything About Life on the Outside that makes you Smile Your Time Wont Be So Bad in Prison, Women & Freedom is the only things in Prison You Can't Have But If Your Mind & Body is Conditioned and You Program Yourself to the Prison Routine You Will Be Fine Absolutely!... Yes it is Modern Day Slavery But Be Grateful That the Guards Don't Beat You Everyday Defenseless For the Hideous Crimes You Committed.

11 years ago

This is nothing but new slavery. Read your constitution. Slavery is illegal EXCEPT if the person breaks the law. 13th amendment.

12 years ago

i thought this was called Behind Barry...:(

12 years ago

These guys, despite their actions, seem to be great deal more retrospective and rational than some of the fundamentalists in Louis's other documentaries.

12 years ago

Damn I can't get it to work either which is to bad because it looks like a really good doc

12 years ago

Looks like the link is broken. Could you please fix it?
Your effort is as always very much appreciated. Cheers mate

12 years ago

note to xguard,

do you know what the purpose of a prison is? If someone is not sentenced to a life or death sentence then the principle purpose is rehabilitation not just to keep people off the streets. It's a fact that the american penal system is good at creating murderers and breaking decent men (Sorry about your brother ron burgundy). I just watched a documentary about a guy who had been in solitary confinement for over a decade for stealing some computer equipment and the only reason he got put in solitary confinement was for protesting his being there when he first arrived, a decade later with offences added on that consisted mainly of refusing to come to the door this man wasn't there anymore. his cognitive capacity weakened he developed a multitude of mental illnesses and the sad thing is the reason he wasn't coming to the door is that physcologically humans need other human touch to survive and because the minimum term in the shu is 18 months it makes the prisoners act out just to have interaction with other people, even if it as hostile as having 5 guards come in and restrain you. Your a very bitter man xguard probably because your so terrible at your job and that you are the cause of the problem, in no way are you part of the solution. Lets stick you in prison in two years and see how you like it? but then again you've probably done more atrocious things as a prison guard. Kill the people that can't be helped and help the rest. All your doing is creating more criminals and building more hatred in the ones that are already there. Its naive to think there aren't some really evil people in the world that deserve that environment. but its ignorant to think that everyone that's in prison deserve to be anywhere near that kind of environment.

Ron Burgundy
12 years ago

It's f@#$%^& sickening that America has so many prisoners, it's a symptom of a sick society that raises such people and a sick society that makes useless drug laws, which is a big part of the problem.

I guarantee that law-makers and prison contractors are in cahoots to imprison as many as possible, making them worse than when they went in. There is justification for putting away murderers and rapists no doubt but there is no moral or logical justification for the war on drugs of which is one of the major roots of the original problem.

If all drugs were legal in the first place there'd be no organized crime associated and therefore much less violence. These prisons are there to prey upon the poor and legally defenseless. As a note to xguard, F@#$ YOU! My brother went into prison for defending himself in a fight and now he's f@#$%^ in the head, he isn't my brother anymore because of it.

Billy Bingbong
12 years ago

This doesn't work :(

Gaurav Sharma
12 years ago

Sorry for the silly mistakes. English is my second language and I am laughing now looking at the silly mistakes I did while posting that comment.

( Any ways )

Gaurav Sharma
12 years ago


Not a mature comment my friend. Your idea will not serve the main purpose. The prison system is keeping these notorious criminals, rapist, human traffickers, gang member etc, far from general public and a less organized world. They are in disciple there. The prison walls keep them away from us, hence making our world a little more safer place to live. No one wants a rapist living in a neighborhood where young girls play and live with their families.

I agree that keeping them in behind the prison walls cost a lot of money which directly goes from our pockets in the form of taxes. But we need to pay money to clean the country, the cities and the towns so that us and our children can travel and live their life without any fear.

Every household and can not buy weapons and protect themselves. It will be a total chaos. There are other aspects of the society too. If we will talk about them it will be include most of the sects of our present society.

Have a save and happy life.

12 years ago

The prison system dous not work.In fact it makes criminals worse and gives them connections.I think we should put the killer and rapest into a fenced area and make them fight and kill each other and the one who wins goes free. It would save alot of money,we also could make money out of it if we filmed it like a reality show.

x con
13 years ago

it didnt work i wanted to see what these people had to say about prison i lived it for a few years.

13 years ago


I did this job for 19 years. "HELL! trust me I worked in a jail and we do get you back." "Join the police force at least you don’t go in the cage with the enemy,like cannon fodder or lambs to the slaughter."

You chose to sacrifice 19 years, knowing with full conscience that what you sought was a security insured by the system that pays more than the private sector and guarantees your family future welfare. Without those "crims' you would not have had a job.
You chose it and in spite of all the "Big guns and Gas" you felt threatened?

The hatred inside does not solely stem from the primitive need to survive but is fueled by the likes of officers who get their personnel perverse kicks out of the "control factor" There is a common thread that runs through the veins of ALL correction officers and Police. Their psychological make up have indisputable consistencies that are in direct conflict with anything morally decent. The corruption among these "officials" makes hard criminals look pale in comparison. YOU are part of the system that raises each generation to rebel and seek alternatives out of desperation and fear.
Go retire. Chances are what you feared would occur in that environment awaits you around the corner of your own block.

keshav jain
13 years ago

louis theroux,s videos are great man.Just stumbled upon them.Actually they should be available,neon sign,big,right in your face,all over the web.PEOPLE LOVE WATCHING THESE,AND THEY SEARCH FOR THEM.THANKS MAN,LOVED WATCHING THEM. KESHAV JAIN

13 years ago

Yup.. This was getting good and the last part(s) are blocked. :(

13 years ago

I did this job for 19 years.
It is a very intimidating environment behind the walls.
Life is dirt cheap,people kill others for pushing in line for a phone call.Most of the crims are nobodies on the outside,but on the inside you can be feared,and they feed off the fear like leeches.
The only rules these morons know is the law of the jungle and only the toughest will survive.
These crims don't care about law all they care about is fear.
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and make them fear you too,to keep them under control.
That's why we have big guns and gas and we don't have a problem using them if need be.
Do the crime do the time,try and escape and we will shoot you,no problem !
Hurt or kill one of us and we will do it right back and make the rest of your time inside,HELL! trust me I worked in a jail and we do get you back.
Anyway i am glad to see the end of that career,the money was the only thing good about it and only if you worked for a Government institution.The private jails pay crap and run under staffed to save money.
I have even been involved in a shooting,I could write a book on my stories,maybe I will one day.
My advise to anyone wanting to start this occupation is don't do it,its like a war zone in there and the only officers that are armed are up in the towers,on the ground you have nothing but the crims will have home made weapons,I can guarantee that and they have no problems using their home made weapons on you,the officer.
Join the police force at least you don't go in the cage with the enemy,like cannon fodder or lambs to the slaughter.
Its tough on both sides,stay out and stay away.

13 years ago

the dam bbc have blocked the documentary after part 4

13 years ago

Well, this is the first louis doc i had to stop. His 'unique' style of interviewing (playing dumb) finally got to me. A shame because i just watched the plastic surgery doc of his, and thought he did really well in it. But here, when they were having breakfast and he started in with the asking questions with obvious answers (why would you beat me... how would you beat me... etc.), and then acting like he didnt know why they were answering the way they were, just turned me off.