Auburn . . .

. . .

Attica . . .

[NYCHS Shield]
Rikers . . .

Unit ...

BOSS chair. . .

[brant kehn]
  • NYS prisons,
  • NYC jails and
  • NYCHSers.
The New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) provided significant assistance to the producers of The History Channel's Modern Marvels: Prisons. NYCHS chairman Bernard B. Kerik, Executive Committee member-at-large Brant Kehn, General Secretary Thomas McCarthy and members Roger Penetta and Clyton Eastmond participated as commenters.
New York State and New York City correctional facilities, professionals and historians are among those featured on camera during The History Channel's one-hour documentary Modern Marvels: Prisons that premiered March 6th, 2000 and is available as a video tape. It will be rebroadcast from time to time over the next several months.
[video page]
Above is a screen capture of part of the web page for the video tape of the Modern Marvels: Prisons documentary.

The documentary was done as part of The History Channel's Modern Marvels series focusing on architectural and engineering developments. Prisons examines the relation of penal philosophy and correctional facility architecture.

The producers came to the New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) -- as they did to others elsewhere in the country -- looking for help with their correction history subject. NYCHS provided contacts, information and perspectives.
So far The History Channel web site has listed no June schedule for rebroadcasts of Modern Marvels: Prisons.
[The video boxThe following is the relevant text on the video tape page, part of whose screen captured image appears above:

Modern Marvels: Prisons
Price: $19.95
50 minutes

They are buildings designed to keep their inhabitants inside and under control. But very often, there is another, psychological aspect at work--they are made to look as grim and foreboding as possible.

MODERN MARVELS takes a long, hard look at how prisons have been designed and built through the ages. The program starts in antiquity, where sewers and dank dungeons were commandeered to keep the unruly and unwelcome captive. Prison designers and experts examine how these ancient roots show up in the design of much more modern prisons, where many elements go beyond the need for security. We'll tour famous prisons from Alcatraz to the newest, maximum-security facilities built during America's most recent wave of prison construction. And examine the features that may well become staples of the next generation of these facilities.

This is your day pass into the world of punishment, a fascinating tour of the buildings at the backbone of the penal system.

This product is unavailable for shipment outside the U.S. and Canada.

Item Number: AAE-42777

While Modern Marvels: Prisons is not NYCHSí documentary, we did try to be helpful in its production as did other history-minded correctional personnel and correction-interested historians elsewhere around the country.

Sing Sing, Auburn and Attica prisons as well as Rikers Island jails receive attention in The History Channelís Modern Marvels: Prisons documentary.

Among NYCHSers interviewed during the production were board chairman Bernard B. Kerik, NYC DOC commissioner; executive committee member at-large Brant Kehn, NYS DOCS Fulton CF superintendent; charter member Roger Panetta, Marymount College history professor; member Clyton Eastmond, a Rikers Island jail warden, and Thomas McCarthy, NYCHS general secretary. Both Superintendent Kehn and Dr. Penetta have written and researched Sing Sing history. McCarthy is NYC DOC director of historical services.

Although NYCHS e-mailed and faxed advance notices of the documentary's premier, some members missed it for various reasons: schedule conflicts, not having cable TV, the unavailability of The History Channel on their TV cable service. NYCHS has been asked:

  1. Will the documentary be broadcast again?
  2. Is it available on video tape?
We checked and found the answer is affirmative on both counts.

The History Channel's web site at http://www.thehistorychannel.com provides a means of access to the daily, weekly and monthly program schedules. Clicking the "On TV" button takes the visitor to the program schedule search page. Inputting Prisons as the search word will produce a list of dates and times for upcoming broadcasts of that Modern Marvels documentary. The URL for directly accessing the program schedule search page is http://www.historychannel.com/global/listings/listings.jsp?NetwCode=THC

The History Channel's web site at http://www.thehistorychannel.com also provides a means of access to a page for purchasing videos of documentaries aired on The History Channel as well as the Biography and A&E (Arts and Entertainment) channels. Clicking the "Store" button takes the visitor to the video search page. Inputting Modern Marvels: Prisons as the search phrase will bring up a result page listing that Modern Marvels documentary video. The URL for directly accessing the video search page is http://store.historychannel.com/

  1. The above is provided as an informational service to New York Correction History Society members and our web page visitors. As a nonprofit historical society, NYCHS has no financial interest in the sale of the videos. Those with cable TV services that include The History Channel and with video recorders may find the monthly schedule of broadcasts useful if they wish to tape it themselves at home.
  2. For some reason, entering Modern Marvels: Prisons as the search phrase does not work for finding its monthly schedule of broadcast dates and times, whereas inputting Prisons by itself does work. But in searching for the video on the Store page, inputting Modern Marvels: Prisons will take the searcher directly to that page.

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