a film by Kristi Jacobson


Germany, USA | 2016 | 86:00 min

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Solitary tells the story of men buried deep within the US prison system, banished to America’s supermax prisons and held in solitary confinement. With unprecedented access it goes inside one of these “clean versions of hell” — a supermax prison located in the mountains and coalmines of western Virginia. Inside we meet the men whose stories will drive the film, uncovering the faces and experiences of those we have deemed ‘the worst of the worst.’ Interwoven with their stories are the experiences of the guards, who are doing a different type of time, right alongside the prisoners. They are the sons and daughters of Virginia’s coalminers, escaping their parents’ fate by finding jobs at one of the country’s most notorious supermax prisons. Operating in a world that is invisible to most, and not without danger, their camaraderie is reminiscent of soldiers at war. Solitary is a groundbreaking, emotionally powerful exploration of an invisible corner of the American justice system: the use of long-term solitary confinement in the prisons. With unprecedented access inside a prison tackling the issue head-on, the film explores the experience of those on both sides behind bars.
Cast and Crew
  • Director Kristi Jacobson
  • Producer Ingmar Trost (Katie Mitchell, Julie Goldman)
  • Director of Photography Nelson Hume
Original Languages


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