WATCH LIVE: James Burns in a Parker jail cell

This is a live feed from the inside of a cell at the La Paz County Jail in Parker, AZ. The inmate is James Burns, a volunteer and VICE filmmaker who wanted to document the experience of being in solitary confinement. Cameras from VICE will be broadcasting from his cell live, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He started his ‘sentence’ on Monday, December 12th and will be there for up to 30 days.

Solitary confinement means spending 23 hours a day in a cell with a solid steel door, a bunk, a toilet and a sink. America uses solitary more than most first-world countries, which opens up a conversation about it is used at various levels of the criminal justice system.

“We at the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office take great pride in our adult detention facility and the work our officers do,” Lieutenant Curt Bagby told VICE in a statement. “Having cameras in our facility showing any part of the process is an easy thing for us to agree to because we take great care to follow the rules set forth for us by the Arizona guidelines on dealing with our incarcerated population. We are happy to show the general public the way we operate as we have nothing to hide. We understand VICE wanted to highlight the practice of solitary confinement, and we are willing to show how it is done here.

“We realize the feedback won’t always be positive towards law enforcement and that other law enforcement agencies would consider this to be counterproductive,” Bagby added, “but if assisting VICE means helping start a conversation, then we would like to be involved.”

Parker Live met James last month before he went in, and we’ll now keep his feed on our site until he’s done.

Read more about the project, and why on earth he’s doing this, HERE.

34 comments

  1. Rick De Vore

    I can think of better things to be doing in Parker…..

  2. What a fascinating project! Very interesting, I’ll be watching

  3. Will he last the 30 days? I’d go crazy. Definitely going to be keeping my eye on him! This is like the Truman Show – very importnat that people understand solitary and what it is like for people.

  4. It costs approx $85 per day (nationwide average) to house and care for a jail inmate. Or approx. $2,500 for 30 days. Are we, taxpayers, footing the bill for this stunt, is Vice reimbursing the Jail District or is Burns paying for this himself? Does the County have a legally binding waiver in the event Mr. Burns is injured, contracts a disease or is found dead? Has the County Attorney and/or ACIP Risk Management signed off on this? Did the Board of Supervisors, in their capacity as the Jail District Board of Directors, approve this in open meeting? With County and Jail District finances being in the sorry state it is, how can a stunt like this be justified.

  5. Umm Alan I’m pretty sure the logistics have been figured out…… lol

  6. Terilyn Gary

    Only relevant if staying in solitary confinement is a choice the inmate makes on their own. I suspect not cuz it would be difficult to keep all inmates in solitary confinement that want it

  7. I’d never make it
    Does he have reading material? Is he allowed outside ever

  8. They won’t let him with the rest of the inmates & the jail should be compensated just like any other inmate would cost. Sounds like he needed solitary & now looks back on it like it was unneeded punishment. Now he’s using the experience as a side-show. If you want to bring light to how bad solitary can be…la paz county is not the place to do it. It’s literally the nicest jail I’ve ever had to stay in. Since he’s had experience with this, I’m thinking it’s more of a personal enlightenment stunt. One that he knows he can do(and probably needs). This is the only way a lot of people who’ve been incarcerated can actually meditate & concentrate on their own thoughts… Vice would be better off doing an article on overpopulation & horrible conditions, not a puff piece about someone willing to endure not working, sleeping all day, having 3 meals brought to you, free meds, security & safety all while getting paid for it.

  9. Have you ever thought that this could help the kids in county. Scared straight. Let them see the choices that they are making could lead to this. County, state money is not a waste for projects like these. It’ a waste when not helping the youth get straight.

  10. Sunny West

    Why they would even want to do this is strange to me…..BUT …..since they are doing this….They should live stream real inmates in solitary. So we can see what their real world is.

  11. Typical of La Paz County to complain about a beneficial project like this and whine about it. I think it’s interesting and out of the ordinary and maybe benefit to society to learn from this

  12. Pattie I’m not a producer on this project so I’m not certain what the rules are. I know that he’s been declining yard time because he feels that many facilities don’t allow it, and wants to replicate that. As for reading material, I’ve been told there is a library at the jail, but I’m not certain whether James will have access to books in solitary (again, he may be declining because he wants to stay true to what solitary is like for many inmates across the nation). He does have writing materials (notepads and pens) and has been pouring his thoughts onto paper.

  13. Kelly Mallory Smith

    Boat trailers need tires in order to get to the lake Mike🤔

  14. Only in La Paz County, Attorney General Office was right. Can’t wait for January 3rd, 2017.

  15. VICE is an excellent program. Perhaps your children should watch it. It could prevent them from being an inmate in one of these places. Educate your children and maybe the incarceration rate will go down.

  16. Lawny Reese-Caracci

    I find this guys story and his reasoning for doing it interesting. Its his way to draw attention to something he feels strong about needing change. I can see how this kind of confinement could make someone crazy.

  17. It would also be nice if the County would give tours to people that are on the brink of going to jail
    and show them keep it up and this is where you will probably end up

  18. Joe Sena

    why not build a MOVIE SET and do this someplace else ?

  19. Wow!!! Had cameras been in cells maybe some ppls lives would have been saved. A father, brother,son and gradpa committed suicide. Later a mother, sister, grandma and daughter died. And this guy is doing a LIVE show! We think that jail is a safe place, but reality its not. Its understaffed and some of them DO’s need to retire.

  20. It would be nice to have a countdown on the screen.

  21. Lloyd Burgoz

    Man he is brave. I couldn’t do that . I would imagine it’s a scary situation to be in . I hope this never happens to me or anyone else that I know for that matter .,thx for sharing. Interesting but scary .

  22. It’s better than being in a over populated open area , I just watch him eat his dinner he had a Salad and a variety of items , give me a break! go to sheriff Joes jail you get slop .

  23. Um I think he quit. The video stream is done!

  24. That could be related to a Frontier outage today. We’ll find out!

  25. This experiment is so stupid. He doesn’t even have the same worries as an actual criminal like a court case or why you are in solitary confinement.

  26. Colleen they are streaming it on VICE’s home page http://solitary.vice.com He definitely did not quit and seems like he is having a little bit of a hard time…

  27. If I’m not mistaken, Theresa, that isn’t live at the moment. It’s a replay of the most recent 33 mins recorded. I believe the live feed is still having technical problems.

  28. John Wright it is so frustrating that James is in there to spread a message and the live feed has been down since Christmas Eve!

  29. I know. It’s not my feed, unfortunately. I’ve been told they’re fixing it.

  30. Jonina Cherchio

    It’s about time a cop sees how people live

  31. Remember sleeping in a teepee thru an Oklahoma winter? You have more heart than anyone I know. Stay strong.

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