We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here

Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald

Series 1-Episode 1

Series 1-Episode 1

not currently available
Add this to your watchlist to find out when it is available via broadcast or catch-up.
Watchlist
ADVERTISEMENT

Review

There is something quite eerie and almost surreal about watching Trevor McDonald make genial chit-chat with the doomed inmates on Indiana State Maximum Security Prison’s death row. Everyone is so terribly, impeccably polite in the most incongruous of ways. One condemned man describes a fellow prisoner’s murder and mutilation of a 14-year-old girl as “uncalled-for”. This is after he attacks the murderer’s “lack of morals”.

Another man gossips quite amiably with McDonald about how his execution was commuted to a 150-year prison sentence. Another has been on death row for 18 and a half years. Why? “They said I killed three people” is his answer. Louis Theroux has done this kind of reportage before, and done it better. McDonald is too constrained by his own nice-ness, he’s not inquisitive enough. He looks terribly ill at ease, too, which is perhaps understandable; it’s a hell of a forbidding place.

Summary

Part one of two. The broadcaster ventures inside Indiana State Prison, meeting 12 condemned men awaiting execution and some of the other inmates in the maximum-security facility. Among those he talks to are Benjamin Ritchie, who murdered a policeman, and John Stephenson, who killed three people on the orders of a gang boss, while James Harrison reveals how he escaped the death penalty with only weeks to spare after accepting a deal of life inside. Trevor also visits the 1950s-style barber shop where all the hairdressers are convicts, including Rick Pearish, who explains why they are given permission to use cut-throat razors and sharp implements.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Trevor McDonald
Director Stuart Cabb
Executive Producer Will Daws

Documentary

Have Your Say What did you think of Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald?

view all comments (0)