What turns a young person into a drug mule?
Locked Up Abroad - Plane Crash Marijuana (National Geographic Channel, Tuesday at 10pm) attempts to answer that question through the story of Jim PapRocki, a college graduate who, in 1972, was persuaded by his brother-in-law to fly a tonne of marijuana out of southern Mexico and, you guessed it, ended up becoming a guest of the country's notorious prison system. That he survived to pay for his crime is incredible given that so many things went wrong.
First the payload in their converted biplane catches fire (talk about flying high), then the plane crashes and the survivors find themselves stranded on a deserted island. What follows highlights the theory that accidents are not caused by one thing, but rather a systemic chain of events. The two smugglers clearly did not do a thorough risk assessment or method statement - a failure of basic project management, really. Tut, tut!
In By Reason of Insanity (TVB Pearl, Thursday, at 9.35pm), award-winning journalist Louis Theroux (Paul's youngest) explores the social, medical and legal issues that surround those who have committed crimes, often horrifically violent, while suffering severe mental illness. In this fascinating two-part series, Theroux (above) explores the sometimes confusing and socially subjective nature of mental illness in relation to violent crime; "subjective", because mental illness and crime are a potent mix, drawing out highly polarised opinions.
These opinions define how societies deal with the criminal end of the psychiatric spectrum in determining preventative responses. Theroux spends time with sufferers in Ohio's state psychiatric hospitals who have found themselves in the criminal justice system through the nature of their illness. He meets patients who, "by reason of insanity", have been found not guilty of crimes that include homicide, and detained in secure facilities to receive treatment in the hope of their eventual reintegration into society.
In the first episode, Theroux talks to patients attempting to come to terms with their crimes as well as the clinicians entrusted with helping to make them safe. Theroux admits to wanting to see more emotion from the patients, exposing what must be a normal social response that equates crime with guilt. Perhaps a lack of emotional connection is the defining factor of many psychiatric conditions, which makes it difficult for clinicians to decide on the tricky question of when a patient with a serious crime in their past is ready to be returned to the outside world.
Theroux spends time with patients whose personalities are so intertwined with their illness, it makes them especially difficult to treat. He examines the grey area between criminal actions and medical symptoms, and investigates how we define insanity.
And we're not talking drug smuggling without a proper management plan.