P1050549.jpg
IMG_0665.JPG
Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 3.46.43 PM.png
IMG_0715.JPG
dark in there72pix-inch.jpg
P1050549.jpg

THE FILM


SCROLL DOWN

THE FILM


LISTEN to Producer/Director talk about the film

 

READ about IN AN IDEAL WORLD

hhdadhttp://http:/   tinyurl.com/IdealWorldSoledadn 

Watch in an ideal world on pbs, april 26th @ 8 PM 

 on PBS' newest prize winning series, America ReFramed

check local listings:  http://worldchannel.org/schedule/localize/

 

IMG_0665.JPG

SOLEDAD CORRECTIONAL FACILITY


IN AN IDEAL WORLD offers audiences unprecedented access to Soledad Correctional Facility, allowing viewers to experience prison directly. As prison policies shift, explore through the eyes of prisoners and staff what change becomes possible.

SCROLL DOWN

SOLEDAD CORRECTIONAL FACILITY


IN AN IDEAL WORLD offers audiences unprecedented access to Soledad Correctional Facility, allowing viewers to experience prison directly. As prison policies shift, explore through the eyes of prisoners and staff what change becomes possible.

A lot of us live in these worlds that we don’t want change. We feel we need to be strong, and we need strong people around us. It goes back to that only the strong survive.
— John Piccirillo, Soledad Inmate

The Project

An intimate and stirring portrait of three men on the frontlines of crime and punishment in America, IN AN IDEAL WORLD goes deep inside a California prison to explore — and honor — the human drama at its core. 

Shot over seven years with unlimited access, the film is an immersive story told firsthand, without outside experts or narration. A white warden at ease with authority, a separatist murderer and a black ex-gang member, all three men come from different worlds. Yet all have spent their entire adult lives in prison, sharing a culture that has, in just that time, institutionalized the American racial landscape in ways that we are only beginning to understand, and that may prove very difficult to undo. Each came into the system very young, learned the convict/cop “codes” from their groups, and over three decades gained power and influence in prison. At the same time, crime control in the U.S. came to rely almost exclusively on locking people up, increasingly and disproportionately people of color.

John, Sam and the warden learned how to navigate prison’s complex, violent and deeply entrenched, racially divided culture, but now they find themselves on the cusp of potentially radical change. 

outside looking in

For the average American, exposure to prison life comes through stereotypes in popular media or political advertising. Even the families of the incarcerated and staff - and most justice professionals - have never been inside.    

on the inside

What happens inside matters, to men and women on both sides of the bars, and to the rest of us who not only foot the bill, but whose values are built into the structure. As Restorative Justice advocate Howard Zehr has said, "Justice is a legal process, but it is also an experience." 

adseg.idboard.jpg

capacity for change

See how change takes place at the broad systems level as policy and legal changes filter down to the mainline, and at the level of the individual through programs like the "Alternatives to Violence Project" (AVP) workshop.


But we’re all prisoners, we all done broke the law! You know, this guy over here is no different than me. When the man says, ‘Stand up!,’ for the five o’clock count, he means him just like me. I don’t care if you’re black, white, Mexican, whatever.
— Ernest Kirkwood, Inmate
Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 3.46.43 PM.png

STORIES


"You have to understand that we are all individuals, everybody has a story." 
– Sam Lewis, Soledad Inmate

SCROLL DOWN

STORIES


"You have to understand that we are all individuals, everybody has a story." 
– Sam Lewis, Soledad Inmate


Sam Lewis / INMATE

Behind bars since he was 18, Sam Lewis was a Blood in south central Los Angeles when sentenced to “15 to life” for a gang-related murder. Eventually, he became a model prisoner: “The person that sits before you today is not the same 18-year-old immature, impulsive kid. I wasn’t a man by no measure at 18.” For Sam, integration may be a core value but it is also a Catch-22. If he resists cell integration, he faces certain denial of parole. If he disobeys his group’s rules, “Prison justice will find me.” A workshop leader, Sam encourages the skeptic, John, and they unexpectedly become friends.



John Piccirillo / INMATE

For towering white inmate John Piccirillo, segregation means dominance. A self-described predator imprisoned for first degree murder, John is a “shotcaller” for the whites. “We live by a certain convict code, and when the rules are broken, it’s expected to be dealt with in a violent manner.” But John’s accidental participation in the mixed race workshop challenges these views. Will his tentative steps toward change hold up under the pressure of cell integration and his hunger for power? 


IMG_0642.JPG


Ben Curry / WARDEN 

Thirty-five years inside has taught Warden Ben Curry that people change. Despite resistance, the Warden embraces both the new inmate program and cell integration. He now believes segregation undermines safety, as it relies on inmates to violently “regulate” their own. Yet staff and inmate pushback, budget woes and an escape attempt sorely test his commitment to change. Close to retirement, he worries, "I won’t have enough time to do the things I want to do here."

IMG_0715.JPG

BACKGROUND


For almost 50 years, crime control in the United States has relied almost exclusively on locking people up. The U.S. imprisons more people, at a significantly higher rate and cost, than any other nation. And the cost has risen exponentially. More than seven million people are in prison, jail, probation or parole in the United States. 

SCROLL DOWN

BACKGROUND


For almost 50 years, crime control in the United States has relied almost exclusively on locking people up. The U.S. imprisons more people, at a significantly higher rate and cost, than any other nation. And the cost has risen exponentially. More than seven million people are in prison, jail, probation or parole in the United States. 

You are paying to keep people locked up in institutions in order to maintain a lifestyle and a comfort zone in your communities.
— Warden Ben Curry

America’s criminal justice policy has been driven and perpetuated by fear. While fear governs, little meaningful discussion, analysis or change is likely, for institutions, communities or individuals. IN AN IDEAL WORLD draws people past fear to experience prison directly, to bear witness to the impact of policies and programs, and to invite deeper conversation about the role of race and power in our “locked down” society, where nearly 1 in 100 Americans are imprisoned (and one in three African American males will spend time behind bars if current trends continue), and where millions of families and whole communities are left hopelessly behind.

 

dark in there72pix-inch.jpg

Pre Order IN AN IDEAL WORLD


To pre order a copy of IN AN IDEAL WORLD, please send name, address, email and planned use (personal, IRS approved nonprofit, institutional) to:  education@backbonemedia.org 

with the subject header "Pre Order IDEAL" (we will be in touch after broadcast)

SCROLL DOWN

Pre Order IN AN IDEAL WORLD


To pre order a copy of IN AN IDEAL WORLD, please send name, address, email and planned use (personal, IRS approved nonprofit, institutional) to:  education@backbonemedia.org 

with the subject header "Pre Order IDEAL" (we will be in touch after broadcast)

Hello, Friends! If you'd like to contribute to outreach and engagement for IN AN IDEAL WORLD, please donate here! Your contribution is fully tax deductible, and when you send your address, you will receive a confirmation letter with our IRS nonprofit EIN number and our great thanks. If you are more comfortable sending us a check, please make it out to Backbone Media and send it to 330 Duncan Street, San Francisco, CA 94131. MANY THANKS!

Help us reach out to as many folks as possible with IN AN IDEAL WORLD to help move the conversation about American justice to one about people and not just punishment!