72 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2013. $99. ISBN unavail.
Gr 9 Up—Two-thirds of convicts freed from prison return to incarceration within three years, and Released presents the stories of three men and a woman, all former prisoners, who are currently tax paying citizens. The four, with no place to go to upon their release after many years behind bars (as many as 16 years), ended up in a New York City reentry facility called the Castle, run by ex-convicts. They tell their stories simply and powerfully to various audiences, including men in a correctional facility. Intercut with family photos, a real portrait of who these people were and who they became emerges. As children, they had parents who were addicted, mentally ill, or absent. One of them was forced to find the instruments of his torture when his father would beat him. Another was put in a ring to fight while adults bet on him. Some became addicted to drugs, some lived on stolen food. One man remembers the terrifying time he lived in a juvenile hall: "It was almost like you had to be a child molester to work there." Each spent a significant part of their lives incarcerated. All reveal how they did their time, what led to change, and their later accomplishments. Teens and teachers interested in social justice will want to see and utilize this honest, empowering, and inspirational film.—Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CA

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