Celebrated British journalist Sir Trevor McDonald visited two of the most notorious prisons for women in the United States.
Famous British writer Trevor McDonald vows to never visit another prison after interviewing baby killers and murderers at some of the most notorious women’s correctional facilities in the United States.
Sir McDonald was given extensive access to Rockville Correctional Facility and Indiana Women’s Prison for a two-part series titled “Women Behind Bars” that begins Thursday on Britain’s ITV.
He found the experience so harrowing, he says he will never step foot in prison again.
CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
McDonald attends the 2011 British Academy Film and Television Awards at the Grosvenor House in London.
“These people talking about their crimes, I never want to hear those again,” according to The Independent.
“I am never, ever, doing another prison series. Once these go out, I shall wash my mind of prisons,” said the veteran journalist who was knighted in 1999.
He described an environment where female inmates prey on each other and try to manipulate their guards.
Some of the most dangerous female cons were interviewed by the veteran British journalist who now vows to never visit a correctional facility again.
He spent hours with Sarah Pender, who was once America’s most wanted woman and was sentenced to 110 years. The people she lived with were actually shot by her boyfriend, but she helped get rid of the bodies and prosecutors said she manipulated him to commit murder.
She gained infamy in 2008, when she seduced an Indiana prison guard and persuaded him to help her escape. She hid out for four months and became America’s most wanted female criminal.
Double-murderer Sarah Pender is shackled before being led out of her solitary confinement cell.
She told McDonald she daily regrets her crimes.
“Despite the fact they were felons, drug dealers, it doesn’t matter, they were still people and they had families that loved them,” she said.
McDonald said he had been warned that Pender was attractive and manipulative. Still, he says, she is not as bad as people think.
McDonald was warned before interviewing Sarah Pender — who managed to escape her Indiana prison by seducing a male guard — that the inmate is both attractive and manipulative.
He feels a little sorry for her, he said. “She managed to get up the noses of the authorities. She did the unthinkable. You’re not supposed to (coerce) a male officer. You’re not supposed to be able to do that,” he said.
He said he “squirmed in horror” interviewing 22-year-old Kyanah Ball, who is serving 30 years for shooting a man in the face while trying to steal his van in 2010.
“She glibly told me how the bullet went through his head and blinded him,” he said. “What was astonishing was how she gave me all this info without any close questioning from me. She was happy to volunteer it.”
McDonald has reported from war zones around the globe and has interviewed heads of state including Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Saddam Hussein.
But these prison visits bothered him intensely, he said.
He was distressed to learn that female inmates must give birth while being handcuffed to their prison beds, he said. “It blows the mind when you think what the norms of life outside are.”