Stacey Dooley has made me angry
This week, in class we watched and discussed the BBC documentary, Stacey Dooley in the USA, girls behind bars. This documentary was shown on the BBC. It is an “insight” into an American female bootcamp prison called Lakeview Shock Incarceration prison in New York State. These women are put through military style training in an attempt to implement discipline into their lives. They have to shave their heads because they have a limited amount of time to shower every day. What does this say about identity? My hair is a huge part of my woman identity and I couldn’t help but feel the women in the documentary were being stripped of this. The strict regime felt like a removal of identity and dignity in my eyes.
Stacey Dooley seems to lack the skill to be a good documentary presenter. She is lazy in her approach to understanding this facility. She asks inappropriate questions of the women and even asks to see where “sexual activity” takes place. In my opinion, she focuses on the wrong questions and simply cares about entertainment value. She gives her opinion of situations lots which in my opinion, is lazy and boring. She should consider who she is in this context, a privileged white woman from Essex and if she is the right person to be making this documentary which, in my opinion, she is not.
We began to discuss three key question in class surrounding this documentary.
Who is it for?
This documentary is for a BBC audience. An audience that consumes television for the sake of entertainment. A UK audience that don’t want a difficult watch.
Who does it benefit?
This documentary benefits the UK. Our society and systems are able to say “we aren’t as bad as America”. When in actual fact we are. Many people do not even realise that Scotland is in charge of its own justice system. We judge other countries without any education or knowledge on our own countries and their flaws. It benefits a society and system that do not want to to question their own, but can look and judge and compare from afar. There is no doubt the American justice system is flawed in countless ways, but so is the English system. So is the Scottish system. We must start from within and question our own morals and policies and views before sitting comfortably in the failure of others.
What does it change?
This documentary, if I were not looking at such a critical lens, changes nothing for me. I am entertained by the idea that America is worse than the UK and I can sit back without questioning my pre existing prejudice of a prison system. What I am sure of is as a system, many people are guilty of failing those incarcerated. The media, the governement, prison guards, care systems, the list goes on. However blame is then put on the individual who has committed the crime rather than the system around them. We need to reevaluate what prisons are for, the demographic of people likely to go to prison, and how we can fix such a deeply rooted system.
Who is PRISON for?
Who does PRISON benefit?
What does PRISON change?