EXCLUSIVE: Participant Media has optioned the film rights to Shane Bauer’s Penguin Press book American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment as well as the Mother Jones staff writer’s article “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard”.
Bauer’s Mother Jones article and American Prison chronicle his first-person account over four months as a prison guard in a Louisiana private prison. Both detail how poorly guards, as well as inmates, are treated within the private prison system. The Mother Jones article was so damning that it became part of the inspiration behind the Department of Justice’s decision to end the use of private prisons to house federal inmates during President Obama’s administration.
“Participant has a strong track record of producing films about serious social issues based on real-life stories,“ said Bauer. “I felt that I could trust them to treat my story and the topic of for-profit prisons with the weight and care it deserves.”
“My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard” was published in the July/August 2016 Mother Jones magazine while American Prison was published last year.
Bauer has won numerous awards, including The Hillman Prize for Journalism. He also co-authored A Sliver of Light, a memoir of his two years as a prisoner in Iran. APA brokered the deal on behalf of The Bill Clegg Agency. APA also reps Mother Jones.
Participant Media has been in the epicenter of this awards season: Its Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary is short-listed on Oscar’s feature doc list and was the second-highest grossing non-fiction title at the 2018 domestic B.O. last year with $14M. Meanwhile at the Golden Globes, Participant Media’s Netflix movie Roma won best foreign film and director for Alfonso Cuaron, while their co-production with Universal/DreamWorks, Green Book, won three Globes: Best picture- comedy/musical, best screenplay and supporting actor Mahershala Ali.