Thursday Storyville: The Work – Four Days To Redemption 11pm, BBC Four
I NTIMATE, often uncomfortable and generally fascinating, this documentary makes the viewer a fly on the wall at California’s Folsom prison, to watch as a remarkably intense exercise in group therapy unfolds. Co-directors Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous record the work of an experimental programme that’s been running at the state facility for several years. Twice a year, volunteers from the public are invited inside to participate in four-day sessions with inmates, to plunge into their pasts and confront their deepest fears and feelings together. We observe as a group of firsttime citizens – a bartender, a young museum worker and a slightly uptight teaching assistant – sit down with inmates including former members of the Aryan Brotherhood and the Crips and Bloods gangs, whose crimes run to murder. As the sessions progress, they pass through therapy cliché territory, all touchy-feely, crying and chanting. But things get increasingly raw, draining and cathartic, as all the men come to regard each other, and themselves, in a different light.