Few people know what life inside prisons is like for inmates and guards. But one journalist cracked the shell of secrecy. Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer gets a job as a guard at Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana. The prison is run by the private company Corrections Corporation of America, and over four months, he investigates how the prison is run. Shane makes it through training and ends up guarding suicide watch on day one of the job, documenting everything he can. He witnesses stabbings, beatings and prisoners threatening to riot inside a private prison on lockdown. The conditions inside Winn Correctional Center and his duties there as a guard are getting the better of him. Shane meets a prisoner who contracted gangrene at Winn and lost his legs and fingers as a result. However, an unexpected offer and a twist of fate change Shane’s status as a guard.