By Reason of Insanity

Long life the termination of Jeremy Clarkson. His actions, forcing the BBC to cancel the remaining episodes of Top Gear, have bumped Louis Theroux’s new documentaries into a prime slot on Sunday evenings. Though given Theroux has a history of speaking to violent, bigoted people, maybe we can expect “When Louis Met Clarkson” to be hitting our screens soon.

Theroux’s new two parter, entitled “By Reason of Insanity”, saw him visit the Ohio State psychiatric hospital to interview people who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, or in some cases, not fit to stand trial.

It was no wonder this was the first time they have agreed to let cameras in in 50 years. The hospital looks great. Far from the questionable standards Norah Vincent encountered in Voluntary Madness, the building is clean and new, and the facilities look reasonable. Not quite up to the standards of Norwegian prisons, but still pretty good. Of course, it is a treatment centre, not a prison, but it was still heartwarming to see good facilities and good staff to help these people.

Indeed even after conditional release there is still a lot of support. One man who had recently been released was staying at a hotel and received daily drug deliveries to ensure that he stayed on track.

As Chris Bennion points out, we know the format by now. Theroux wandering around wide-eyed and looking innocent, slowly poking people with a stick until they spill their stories. However, it’s a format that works, so why not? The documentaries are both moving and revealing, bringing attention to some of the most sensitive topics in our society.



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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 10:38 am and is filed under Distractions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.