Visiting Prison and Changing Inside

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Visiting Prison and Changing Inside

Post  Yoke on Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:07 am

Ryan Jenkins of the Innocence Project of Florida pointed me to two criminal justice documentaries he saw at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival a few days ago. I'm particularly excited about the film above, "The Visitors," which tells the stories of hundreds of people who travel from New York City to prison towns upstate every weekend to see their loved ones. This is a tale that's replayed around the United States and the world.

I've heard from countless former prisoners that the support of family and regular visits got them through long years inside (more than once, people have told me that family support was the reason they survived prison). I haven't seen this film yet, but it is clear from the trailer that it's a portrait of people who are serving as lifeline to the outside. Meanwhile, their struggles are living proof of the destruction long sentences can cause in our communities. Here's what Ryan wrote on the Innocence Project of Florida's Plain Error blog:

"The Visitors" follows a bus-full of women who travel from New York city upstate to visit their loved ones in prison every weekend. It was a powerful portrayal of love, devotion, and loneliness, as one of the women remarks, "I'm doing my time, too."

After the jump, a bit about the Argentinian documentary "Unit 25."

Again, from Ryan Jenkins:

Unit 25 (Unidad 25) follows Simon Pedro, an Argentinian convicted of stabbing a man. What makes Simon's story interesting is that he has the right to choose where he will serve out his sentence. His family convinces him to choose Unit 25, which gives prisoners "relief from customary prison horrors" in exchange for their embrace of Christianity while in prison.

Read more about Unit 25 on the Full Frame website.

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