Prison Songs shows the inmates of Darwin’s Berrimah Prison in a unique and completely new light in Australia’s first ever documentary musical. The prisoners break into hip-hop, blues, country, reggae or gospel as they talk about their feelings, faults and experiences, and about the reasons they find themselves locked up.
Aboriginal citizens make up 30% of the Northern Territory’s population but in its largest prison, over 80% of the inmates are Indigenous. The inmates’ personal, often intimate stories mesh together to create a portrait of life in a society with one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. This is a fascinating insight into the lives of these far-too-often voiceless people.
The inmates are varied, both men and women, some from good homes, others from dysfunctional families. Many come from remote communities where English is the second or third language spoken and the traditional law of their society is in conflict with European laws.
Life in a contemporary Australian prison has never been filmed in this much detail, this much depth or this much seriousness or humour.