Life on Parole — FRONTLINE and The New York Times' investigation of one state’s effort to reduce recidivism and lower prison populations by rethinking how parole works.
With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, the film follows four former prisoners as they re-enter society and navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — including finding work, staying sober and parenting -- all under intense supervision from the state.
From Vaughn Gresham, who was arrested for the first time at age 16, to Jessica Proctor, who spent nearly a decade behind bars for assault with physical injury, Life on Parole is a remarkable, firsthand look at why some people stay out of jail, why some go back, and how one state is trying to break the cycle of recidivism.
"I make a living on second chances — that’s what parole is," Officer Katherine Montoya says in the documentary.
Don't miss this inside look at how one state's experiment with second chances has played out for offenders, the communities they return to, and the system that's responsible for supervising them.
CNI Micro Finance Group by Erica King
One hundred twenty-five men and women recently released from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will be given a real chance to transform their lives thanks to an innovative new program forged by a dynamic public/private partnership fueled by CNIMFG with support from Citi Community Development. The program will provide training and start-up capital to help returning citizens open a business and create jobs and economic opportunities for themselves and underserved Chicago communities. Studies show that only 17.5% of returning prisoners who find regular employment, or create jobs for themselves, return to prison.
Erica King, VP Lending, CNIMFG, recently joined Governor Bruce Rauner and other state officials to launch the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC), the new privately funded program designed to provide recently incarcerated citizens with in-depth training, personal coaching and mentoring from its program partners: Bethel New Life, Chatham Business Association, North Lawndale Employment Network, The Safer Foundation and Sunshine Enterprises. Once the training is successfully completed, participants will be eligible to receive up to $50,000 in start-up capital from CNIMFG to open a business.
Watch or listen to the segment on line.
PERC's partners include the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority, IDOC, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and CNIMFG. More than $1 million was raised to fund the program from Citi Community Development, The Chicago Community Trust, the Perry Family Foundation, US Bank Foundation and the Hughes Foundation.
For additional information about PERC or CNIMFG's micro-lending products and financial services, contact Erica King, Vice President of Lending, CNIMFG, firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.341.2072.
Solitary Nation - April 22, 2014
With extraordinary access this film takes you to the epicenter of the raging debate about prison reform. Solitary Nation brings you an up-close, graphic look at a solitary confinement unit in Maine’s maximum security prison.
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Breaking Down the Box
"Breaking Down the Box" examines the mental health, racial justice and human rights implications of the systemic use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. It is a call to action for communities of faith to engage in the growing nationwide movement for restorative alternatives to isolated confinement that prioritize rehabilitation, therapeutic interventions, and recovery.
The 40-minute documentary was produced by filmmaker Matthew Gossage. More resources at nrcat.org
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After Solitary - FRONTLINE
When Kenny Moore was convicted of aggravated assault, burglary and theft and sent to Maine State Prison at age 18, he expected to serve an 18-month sentence. But after a series of fights and disruptive behavior, he was sent to solitary confinement, where his disruptive behavior only worsened. All in all, Kenny spent five-and-a-half years in solitary confinement and nearly 20 years in and out of prison.
Inside solitary, Moore ripped the hair out of his body. He bit chunks out of himself. He started hearing voices. He wrote messages on the wall of his cell with his own blood.
“It turns you into an animal,” Moore says in After Solitary, a new virtual reality film from FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group.
In After Solitary, follow Moore as he narrates an immersive, 360° tour of a solitary confinement cell, recounting what his
life was like on the inside — and how that experience has impacted his life now that he’s a free man.
The film is a visceral window into the practice of solitary confinement, which Maine State Prison began reducing the use of while Moore was locked up. The prison also started offering rehabilitation classes to inmates, and says that since 2011, rates of violence and self-harm have dropped dramatically. But studies show that inmates who have spent significant time in solitary are more likely to be sent back to prison.
Meanwhile, Moore, who was released last fall, is struggling to adjust to life on the outside. He rarely leaves his bedroom. It is, he says, his “own personal prison” — and the place where he feels most safe.
Last Days of Solitary - Frontline April 18, 2017
Inside one state’s ambitious attempt to decrease its use of solitary — and what happens when prisoners who have spent considerable time in isolation try to integrate back into society.
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RIKERS: An American Jail
Bill Moyers PBS 8-21-2017
The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80 percent have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face.
All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. RIKERS: An American Jail, a riveting new documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told directly to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience — from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.
Since the initial release of RIKERS last fall, there has been widespread discussion and debate about the future of the prison complex. In April 2017, The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform released its recommendations and called for closing Rikers and replacing it with smaller jails in the city’s five boroughs.
Just prior to the report’s release New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his prior position that closing Rikers Island Jail was not feasible and announced his support for closing Rikers, but said it will take a decade to do so.
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(Scroll down to see the full film)
Please be sure to visit the official RIKERS website for more information about the film, mass incarceration in America and efforts at criminal justice reform. Also, please like @RIKERSfilm on Facebook and follow @RIKERSfilm on Twitter to get the latest information and contribute to the already robust online community talking about the film.
RIKERS, which recently won a 2017 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award, is a production of Schumann Media Center, Inc. and Brick City TV LLC, in association with Public Square Media, Inc. Produced by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, with producer Rolake Bamgbose. Edited by Jason Pollard. Director of Photography Mark Benjamin. Executive Producer, Judy Doctoroff O’Neill. Executive Editor, Bill Moyers.
Adam Benforado @ the Commonwealth Club - Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice
A child is gunned down by a police officer; an investigator ignores critical clues in a case; an innocent man confesses to a crime he did not commit; a jury acquits a killer. The evidence is all around us: Our system of justice is fundamentally broken.
But it’s not for the reasons we tend to think, as law professor Adam Benforado argues in this eye-opening, galvanizing book. Even if the system operated exactly as it was designed to, we would still end up with wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and unequal treatment. This is because the roots of injustice lie not inside the dark hearts of racist police officers or dishonest prosecutors, but within the minds of each and every one of us.
Around half of all the inmates put on parole in the U.S. end up violating the terms of their release and are sent back to prison. But across the country, states are trying to change the way their parole systems work in an effort to lower recidivism rates and reduce prison populations.
A new documentary called Life on Parole, FRONTLINE and The New York Times go inside one state, Connecticut, to examine its ongoing effort to rethink parole: a condition that offers a taste of freedom but comes with strict prohibitions on whom you can live with, where you can go, what time you have to be home and more.
“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”
"With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state:"
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Writing my wrongs: Shaka Senghor
"Making the best out of a bad situation." Writer, mentor and motivational speaker, Shaka Senghor gives us a candid, behind the scenes peek into his life leading up to and during his incarceration for second degree murder. Witty and eloquent in his delivery, Shaka offers sobering firsthand accounts of redemption, the power of hope and how literature changed his life.
Shaka Senghor's story of redemption has inspired young adults at high schools and universities across the nation. While serving 19 years in prison, Senghor discovered his love for writing. He has written six books, including a memoir about his life in prison, Writing My Wrongs. In 2012, Senghor's Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project won a Black Male Engagement Leadership Award from the Knight Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Foundation's Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Senghor has also recently been named a Director's Fellow at MIT for his work.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive