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Australia, 2000 (MIFF 2000, Australian Showcase)

Director: Catherine Scott

Profits of Punishments is a documentary that takes the viewer on a bizarre road-trip through the US heartland, offering a unique insight into the style and manner in which correctional facilities have evolved. In the USA today, the most powerful industry is the business of private prisons. Touted as recession proof, private prisons record rises in stock prices, rivalled only by high technology. Countries such as Australia and South Africa have responded to the rise in crime by subscribing to the USA's position of increasing the prison capacity and contracting out prisoners to private companies. Travelling through the film, we spiral deeper and deeper into the surreal world of corporate prison culture. At one pitstop, we encounter Sheriff Apaio—the ultimate metaphor for 'zero tolerance'— who boasts as being an "equal opportunity incarcerator"; at another, we visit a giant prison convention, marketing the latest in portable restraints and stackable cells! Profits of Punishment is a thought-provoking and disturbing documentary. Not to be missed.

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