Tattooed Tears

A documentary on the California Youth Authority, which received this review following its screening last summer at the Edinburgh Film Festival:

“Some problems are still being swept under the carpet. In Tattooed Tears, Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill, the British/American pair who made the ill-fated Juvenile Liaison, took their cameras to a California prison for 17- to 21-year-olds. An ostensibly liberal administration, which allows a certain amount of personal liberty and welcomes publicity, is turning young delinquents into institutionalized criminals. Two of the subjects were admitted for three months on minor offences and were still there after three years, repeatedly punished for their lack of cooperation. No amount of pleading in their restricted, expletive-riddled vocabularies can get them released. In despair they fall back on passive resistance, which left one boy lying prostrate on a cell floor, bound at the ankles and hands behind his back, chained to railings.”

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