Survivors Guide to Prison

Synopsis: Following the stories of Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole who spent year after year in prison for murders they didn't commit - audiences get a harrowing look at how barbaric the US justice system is. The film ultimately asks how we can survive the prison model at all, and looks at better solutions for conflict resolution, harm reduction, crime and more. Hosted by filmmaker Matthew Cooke and guest hosting representatives from the massive range of Americans joining forces to change this broken system.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Matthew Cooke
Production: Gravitas Ventures
Rotten Tomatoes:
102 min


Welcome to

the United States of America.

We call this

the land of the free,

but this country is home

to the largest prison population

in the world.

2.2 million Americans.

We put more people in cages

here than China,

Russia, than anywhere.

We have more people in prisons.

More than we have colleges

and universities.

1/3 of all incarcerated

females globally

are locked up here

in the United States.

13 million Americans

are arrested every year.

- Get your hands off the truck!

- I'm not doing anything.

Put that in perspective...

imagine all of Los Angeles

and all of New York combined

arrested every year.

There are countless heroes

in law enforcement

saving lives every day.

[female reporter]

Able to pull her limp bo...

But not a single state

in our union

- has use-of-force laws...

- I can't breathe!

that meet even the most basic

international standards...

[woman screams]

With record poverty,

drug use,

and countless nonviolent

social issues

left to our police officers

to solve with only three tools,

we have a national crisis

on our hands.

Of course,

we need dangerous people

removed from our communities.

But how many Americans

are really so dangerous...

He's arresting me.

that they need to be locked

in a cage?

I enrolled my girls

in my father's school district.

- They sent me to jail.

- [wailing]

They sent my father

to jail, too.

My father never came home.

The law enforcement apparatus

is deployed disproportionately

against people of color.

If you're a black man,

your crack is gonna get

300 times more than your...

We know reform

is desperately needed,

- but how do we reform...

- Can't record inside.

when prisons don't just

lock people up inside?

You don't want to tape me

with your telephone!

- Get it all!

- I'm a member of the press.

- They lock us out.

- Pack up and go.

Citizens, the media,

independent journalists

are all routinely barred

from recording or documenting

anything that's going on inside

our criminal justice system.

You're a chicken sh*t


We have to get all our

information and impressions

from corporate

commercially funded television.

[man] If you can't do the time,

don't do the cr...

These shows are filmed

and edited

under tight supervision.

They're not going

to prepare you

for the inhuman conditions,

the violence

and brutality

you're going to have to face.

You think because

you obey the law,

you have nothing

to worry about.

[Matthew] But recently,

the Wall Street Journal


we now have so many laws

on the books,

the average American

commits three felonies a day

- without even knowing it.

- He didn't do anything!

As an American, you're more

likely to go to prison here

than anywhere else in the world.

You need to know how

to handle

an out-of-control

police officer.

Yes, why am I gonna...


[Matthew] How to survive

an interrogation,

how to survive County jail

and an extreme prison sentence.

[woman wailing]

To take us through the steps...

we're going to follow

the stories of two Americans...

Bruce Lisker, an innocent man

convicted of murder,

and Reggie Cole,

another innocent man

who endured

an even more horrific nightmare.

We're going to get perspectives

from investigative journalists,

analysts, academics,

prison staff,

lawyers, cops, inmates.


So in the unfortunate case

that this may happen to you,

this is the survivor's guide

to prison.

They controlling you?

They got a hold on you

You need a man in a suit

to tell you what to do?

I'll grab the podium mic

Rate this script:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Matthew Cooke

All Matthew Cooke scripts | Matthew Cooke Scripts

(1 fan)

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "Survivors Guide to Prison" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 30 Nov. 2022. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    The Marketplace:

    Sell your Script !

    Get listed in the most prominent screenplays collection on the web!


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.