• Check out some of the programming on offer. (NITV)Source: NITV
To further highlight issues and themes throughout Incarceration Nation, NITV has curated a powerful slate of programming, The ‘Incarceration Nation – The History of Black Injustice’ collection.
Lowanna Grant

27 Aug 2021 - 11:00 AM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2021 - 1:08 PM

NITV’s new landmark documentary, Incarceration Nation, written and directed by Dean Gibson, explores the history of racial injustice and inequality that so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, right across the nation, face every day in this country. Stories of what life is really like behind bars, stories of our children in juvenile detention centres, the broken relationships and mistreatment by police and the families who relentlessly continue to fight for justice and for the authorities to be held accountable for deaths in custody.

First Nations people have faced systematic injustice and oppression, since colonisation, from the horrific massacres which saw mass killings of Indigenous people through to Government policies that  saw the removal of children from their families and communities, slavery and stolen wages, poor health and unemployment rates and intergenerational trauma – the dark history that is embedded into this country’s foundations.

Incarceration Nation is a powerful documentary, it is distressing and heartbreaking yet a story that needs to be told and a story that every Australian needs to hear. These themes are explored through archival footage, interviews with academics and experts in the field as well as interviews with families that share their stories and experiences with the criminal justice system.

To further highlight and delve into the issues and themes throughout Incarceration Nation, NITV has curated a powerful slate of supporting documentaries and films on the channel. Online, NITV will also feature a dedicated ‘Incarceration Nation – The History of Black Injustice’ collection on our NITV channel page, on SBS On Demand


The Tracker

Sunday 29 August, 10:10pm

Starring highly acclaimed actor David Gulpilil, The Tracker is set in 1922 as two policemen and a civilian set out to track down a man who is accused of murdering a white woman.

The three men set out on a mission in the Australian outback in search of capturing the accused fugitive who is on the run with the help of an Aboriginal tracker leading the way, played by Gulpilil. Their journey leads them along rugged terrain, venturing further into the outback as tensions being to rise between them.    


Living Black: Turning Points

Monday 30 August, 8.30pm

In this special conversation Karla Grant speaks with Justice Advocate Keenan Mundine. From being  orphaned, to homeless and eventually imprisoned at the age of thirteen, Keenan’s life seemed to unravel. However, a conversation in the showers of a prison turned his life around.

Keenan has now set a new path for himself and battled his demons to reach a life he has always dreamed of and is now helping youth at risk of Incarceration.


Policing the Police

Monday 30 August, 9:30pm

Tensions rise in 2020 as the killing of black people at the hands of police sparks global outrage. There is a push and a call for change within the criminal justice system as we see more and more black people being incarcerated and harassed at the hands of the authorities.  

Jelani Cobb, an historian and writer for the New Yorker, takes a look inside the Newark Police Department, giving viewers an up close and rare insight examining the allegations of police abuse and the troubled and broken relationships between the police and the black community.

This documentary examines and investigates race and policing in the United States and looks at how policing should be done differently and if there can be change made within the justice system.


After The Apology

Tuesday 31 August, 8:30pm

Written and directed by Larissa Behrendt, After The Apology examines what has happened in the years following Kevin Rudd’s 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations for the forced removal of Aboriginal children. Shockingly, since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s formal Apology, Aboriginal children are still being removed at alarmingly high rates.

The documentary follows four grandmothers who are challenging the system when they start a national movement after their own grandchildren have been taken away. Grandmothers Against Removals are challenging government policies to bring children home and reunite them with family and community.   


The Work

Tuesday 31 August, 10:00pm

A rare look inside prison walls as three men participate in a four day group therapy retreat alongside level four inmates. Set at Folsom Prison, this therapy program is run by the Inside Circle Foundation, a non-profit organisation providing funding and volunteers from the outside to help facilitate the group sessions.

Throughout the course of the four days, the men are taken out of their comfort zones as they delve into their past and take a real look at the challenges of rehabilitation inside prisons.


Backtrack Boys

Thursday 2 September, 8.30pm

Observational documentary, Backtrack Boys, is an inspiring coming of age story which follows a group of boys, Rusty, Zac and Tyson who are on a slippery slope behind bars.

The boys attend a youth program located on the outskirts of rural New South Wales town of Armidale. The program is run by Bernie Shakeshaft, founder and CEO of BackTrack Youth Works. Bernie has spent several years helping youth stay out of jail and turn their lives around.

The program called Paws Up is centred around animal behavioural therapy and in turn aims to promote self-confidence and leadership skills for the young men.


Rabbit Proof Fence

Friday 3 September, 7.30pm

Three young Aboriginal girls, Molly, Daisy and Gracie are forcibly removed from their family in 1931 and sent to Moore River Native Settlement to be trained as domestic servants.

Rabbit Proof Fence, a true story, directed by Phillip Noyce, follows the girls as they embark on a nine week long journey along the rabbit proof fence covering 2,400 kilometres back to their family and reunited with their community.

This film explores the child removal policy which was enforced by the Australian Government – known as the Stolen Generations.  


Sam Watson – The Street Fighting Years

Saturday 4 September, 7.40pm

The late Sam Watson, a Wangerriburra and Birri Gubba man, who passed away in 2019, was a leading voice and fighter for social justice and Indigenous rights. His activism saw him take on the fight for land rights and equality in the late 1960s, when the government were removing freedoms and controlling all aspects of Indigenous peoples lives.

Sam was integral in the establishment of the famous Aboriginal Tent Embassy and a founding member of the Black Panthers Party of Australia.

This documentary gives viewers an insight into the life of Sam Watson as he looks back on the street fighting years and talks about the impact it had on his life.



Saturday 4 September, 10.10pm

In August 1982 over one hundred Aboriginal people from the Warlpiri, Waramunga, Anmatyerr and Kaytetje people were brutally slaughtered in Central Australia, this was known as ‘the last massacre’. Innocent people were painfully and violently killed and those who survived have passed down their stories.

Coniston is not only a story of heartbreak but a story of survival, resilience and continued strength of their traditions and culture. The documentary features re-enactments and archival historical footage to accompany powerful interviews from survivors and their descendance.  


Karla Grant Presents: Our Law

Monday 6 September, 8.30pm

Our Law is a documentary examining Western Australia’s first Indigenous run police station in Warakurna. It follows the journey of two Noongar police officers as they learn culture, Yarnangu Lore and the local Ngaanyatjarra language to help build a more meaningful and respectful relationship within the community. It is a good example of how police and community can work together in a positive way.

The important initiative aims to replace the harsh enforcement approach and prejudice that was seen in the past within the police system.


Australia’s Shame

Monday 6 September, 9.00pm

Australia’s Shame is a confronting investigation into the treatment of minors at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre, a maximum-security prison in the Northern Territory.

This investigation documents the experiences of Jake Roper, Ethan Austral, Kenny Rogan and Dylan Voller and features graphic footage and interviews while exposing the shocking and disturbing treatment of Australia’s youth behind bars.


Living Black: Debbie Kilroy – A World Without Prisons

She’s watched her best friend be murdered, spent years behind bars for drugs offences and has managed to turn it all around to become a successful Criminal Justice Reformer. Co-founder of Sisters Inside, Debbie Kilroy still has her biggest challenge ahead; the closure of all prisons.

Living Black’s Karla Grant sat down with Debbie to find out how she’s standing up for women behind bars, how she fought against Western Australia’s unpaid fines laws, and why she imagines a world without prisons is possible.


Australia In Colour

Australia In Colour, a factual documentary series, looks at key moments of Australia’s history and culture between 1900 through to 1970, using personal footage and material from National Archives, our history is brought to life in colour for the first time.

Narrated by Hugo Weaving, viewers are taken on a journey to reflect and relive aspects of Australian life that has shaped our history including the arrival of migrants after the Second World War, the campaign for women’s rights, the launch of iconic Australian brands, the rise of Australia’s home grown sporting superstars, politics and the rich Indigenous and multicultural history.   


Prison Songs

Musical documentary, Written and directed by Kelrick Martin, Prison Songs, is filmed at Berrimah prison in Darwin, Northern Territory. First opening in 1979, the prison was designed to only hold one hundred and fifteen inmates, however it now holds over eight hundred, both male and female, many from remote communities where English is their second or third language.

Incarcerated in an old, overcrowded prison, the inmates share their feelings and experiences in a personal and very unique way, through song, breaking out into hip hop, country, blues, gospel and reggae as they share their feelings and open up about their lives.