This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Twenty-five people were indicted in Baltimore this week, 13 of them prison guards in a story that involves gangs, bribes, drugs and sex - and it's real life, not a TV show. The indictments say a group of prisoners have essentially been in charge of the Baltimore City Detention Center, working with prison guards to run a lucrative drug and cell phone smuggling operation.
Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey and Billy Smith drive down a desolate highway toward a prison in East Texas. They've all been there before, serving hard time — 63 years among the three of them.
But this time it's different. They're driving a Hummer. They're dressed to the nines. And they're on a mission. They aim to get an inmate out — a friend of Scott's named Jimmy O'Steen, aka Big O. But this will be a slow-motion prison break. Scott, Lindsey and Smith are all exonerated prisoners.
Every year 10 million people funnel in and out of America's jails and prisons. And every year some of them get lost. Recently there have been two high-profile cases of such inmates — one who got out years too early, and one who stayed years too long. Both had disastrous consequences.
In January, Evan Ebel walked out of a Colorado prison four years too early. Two months later, he allegedly rang the doorbell of Tom Clements, the head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, shot him in the chest and killed him. Ebel was shot and killed by police two days later.