Monday, October 17th, 2011
Producing a one-hour documentary is like producing a short movie, but much more intense, involving countless hours of reporting, source relationship-building and fact-checking — things the viewer never sees. For "Lost in Detention," we had a team of dedicated editors and reporters at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, as well at FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting, and journalist Maria Hinojosa and her team at the Futuro Media Group. In addition, film and journalism graduate students from American University and New York University also worked on the project. All helped investigate immigration enforcement and detention over more than a year.
Toward the end of the project, we received a cache of government documents that helped put our Willacy Detention Center case study in perspective. The documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Workshop through separate Freedom of Information Act requests, included more than 170 records of sexual abuse claims over the past four years. We built a database to log and categorize the records. It was no small feat. We sifted through more than 800 pages worth of documents to code and categorize a myriad of sexual-abuse complaints.
In the end, we discovered widespread claims of sexual abuse across more than 50 facilities. They produced the best window yet into detainees’ claims of abuse inside these detention centers.
Our team on the documentary included:
"LOST IN DETENTION" Documentary
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Andrew Becker, Center for Investigative Reporting
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Special thanks to the Carnegie Corporation of New York for initial funding of this project.
SPECIAL THANKS ALSO TO
Center for Investigative Reporting
For the Futuro Media Group:
Maria Hinojosa & Marty Spanninger, executive producers
Xochitl Dorsey, researcher
Denisse Moreno, intern
Nusha Balyan, production coordinator
Lynne and Joe Horning
Our team at the Workshop included:
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING WORKSHOP/"LOST IN DETENTION"
COMPUTER-ASSISTED REPORTING DIRECTOR
REPORTING, VIDEO EDITING, PRODUCTION
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Larry Kirkman, Dean, AU School of Communication