Alone and scared is probably what their victims felt like. Now the shoe is on the other foot as Trevor McDonald goes inside death row and meets some of America’s most violent criminals. Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald takes a much softer look at prison life inside Indiana State Prison and attempts to explore the minds of men who kill.
Although the show may be called Inside Death Row, in the first episode of the ITV series very rarely do we get to look at those who have been sentenced to death by US justice system. The documentary sees more of those prisoners who have been given life sentences, meaning it does not fulfil the expectations of the viewer which were to see men who were staring at death 24/7. Although inmates and staff are willing to open to him like their dear old granddad the documentary fails to get into the nitty gritty of what prison life is really like for men who have been sentenced to death or 150 years imprisonment.
However, some of the stories which we hear during the course of the documentary are startling reminders of the violence and horror one human being can commit. Such as one prisoner who had slit the throats of his girlfriend and her 4 year old daughter. “I do deserve to be here”, the killer says during his account of why he will be strapped to bed and given a lethal injection which will kill him. Furthermore, it is difficult not to watch these condemed men and sometimes not feel a pang of sympathy for them, even though they have commited horrendus crimes.
One of the main flaws of this documentary is Trevor McDonald’s failure to ask questions which ordinary mind wants to know. Such as in the case of Reginald Jackson, who at 13 years old was sentenced to 150 years imprisonment after killing 2 elderly women, McDonald failed to ask the most simplest question, why he done it. The documentary could have been so much more than it was. Trevor McDonald has the journalistic knowledge and experience to give a hard hitting interview capable of creating a wave of debate and intrigue.
Hopefully, the rest of the series will take a much deeper look at something which has intrigued society for many years. McDonald does have the capability to provide a much more revealing and harder hitting documentary than this attempt. In next week’s episode, it does appear that he will delve deeper into Death Row by going into the room where those who have taken lives will have theirs taken from them which will show whether or not Trevor McDonald still has what it takes to create thought provoking work.