This precursor to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) and NO ESCAPE (1994), takes place in the near future of the late 70's, in which the death penalty has been abolished in the United States. So violent murderers are dropped off on an island sixty-something miles off the California Coast. They're given basic supplies and have to fend for themselves. An African American woman, Carmen, is shuttled over and sees some dead bodies on the beach. At first she's alarmed by this, then meets Dr Norman Milford (Tom Selleck), who seems like a good guy. He confides in her that he's innocent of his crime. There's also A.J (Don Marshall), Joy Land (Phyllis Davis of SPENSER FOR HIRE) and Lee Philips (Marta Kristen of LOST IN SPACE) among others. The "bad guy" is Monk, who thinks he rules over everything. There's basically two factions of prisoners and we side with the one against Monk and his gang.
It's an odd movie and for some reason has the feel of another 70's movie released that same year, BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. I think it's because it's all outside and has a similar landscape.