"It’s important that not all the subjects look alike or sound alike. We must emphasize this is not a New York problem; the stigma of incarceration is a national problem. So, it is imperative that we look to a number of states in order to give the audience a real variety of ideas and illustrate different problems that former prisoners are going through. Some of those problems are going to be state specific; that variety is going to be an important aspect for people to understand."

"When some people are set free from prison, there’s no home, there’s no basic job... so when we talk about recidivism in America, there are limited resources to access for survival on the outside.  For me, that was very disturbing and something this country needs to deal with on many levels."

-Ron Haviv

 Photojournalist
 

"There have been a lot of stories and documentaries about prison – about the wrongfully accused and the exonerated – which are all important stories, but I don’t feel like I’ve seen many documentary treatments about the reintegration process."

"In movies, we often see an opening scene in which the prison gates open, the main character walks out and that’s the beginning of a character arc. It is a trajectory commonly used in fiction. I realized I didn’t know what the real life version of that was, or is."

- Jessica Dimmock​

  Photojournalist

 

"This work appealed because it was looking at a project in a way that offered solutions, with stories of people who were actively getting out of the problem, trying to create solutions to it. That is compelling."

-Ashley Gilbertson

 Photojournalist

"Ultimately, the goal of this work is to further break down the stigma of people who have been in prison and – as is the case with any journalism – to educate people. We have to look at the formerly incarcerated in a different light and in a sense we need to look at how the structures of our society deal with the formerly incarcerated.  At a functional level, that is more important for former prisoners – so that when they go for housing or employment, they don’t face hurdles that basically leave them in a self perpetuating negative cycle."

"Progress occurs when a few minds who actually have some influence on the system are changed.  You hope those people go into the next hearing, congressional meeting or classroom and open up others’ eyes.  It is something I believe in – even despite all the cynicism and the over-mediated world we are living in, I absolutely believe in that, because I’ve seen it happen.  You change one mind and then there is a ripple effect."

-Ed Kashi

 Photojournalist

"There is an urgent need for legislating smarter public health policy in the United States.  Mass incarceration and reintegration are not only social issues, they are economic issues.  This film documents marginalization and the costs - both human and economic - to society when marginalization is implemented as decades-long policy."

"Policies that perpetuate unparalleled and irrational profiteering while throwing away millions of dollars-and persons-is not good for public health.  The U.S. mass incarceration experiment has failed.  It's time for new thinking."

-Kimberly Soenen

 Producer | Director of Business Development & Special Projects