This Web-based documentary attempts to put the recent growth in the prison population into historical perspective and examine the impact it has had on individuals, families and communities. Each story addresses a new theme—the juvenile justice system, prison towns, children of incarcerated parents—and is told through first-person stories, data that can be examined in different ways, an interactive timeline, and online and offline discussion.
We launched 360degrees.org in January 2001 in conjunction with Radio Diaries’ “Prison Diaries” series on National Public Radio. We spent several months doing field work together. The site uses streaming audio and navigable 360-degree photographs to create a “sensurround” simulation of each person’s environment. While listening to each person’s story, visitors to the site can pan up, down and around the storyteller’s space—prison cells, recreation yards, living rooms, and judges’ chambers.
An interactive timeline shows the evolution of the criminal justice system from 601 AD to the present. Beginning with the Code of Etherlbert, which placed a monetary value on each body part, the timeline conveys the cyclical nature of the system by highlighting theories and practices that have gone in and out of fashion throughout the years. The dialogue area is a place for open discussion, debates between invited guests, and small closed discussion circles.
The dynamic data area is a place where we have experimented with visualizing and animating statistics, charts and graphs. To develop this, we worked with a number of criminologists and researchers at the Bureau of Justice Statistics.The site offers two quizzes: “Are You a Criminal?” and “What’s Your Theory?”
Webby, Silver Gavel Award, Online News Association's Award for Best Use of the Medium, selected for the "National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now" at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Digital ThinkCredits
A project of Picture Projects.
Funders: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Creative Capital, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The New York Community Trust, New York Council for the Humanities, New York State Council on the Arts.