RELEASED - DVD
RELEASED - DVD
Two-thirds of released convicts return to prison within three years. RELEASED showcases the inspiring stories of four parolees who demonstrate that recidivism can be reversed if former prisoners receive the necessary support to reintegrate into society.
The four individuals—Vilma Ortiz Donovan, Kenneth Karrigan, Casimiro Torres, and Angel Ramos—spent a combined total of over 70 years in prison. After being released, they faced the challenge of having no homes or jobs for support. They found themselves at "The Castle," a prisoner reentry facility in New York City established by The Fortune Society and operated by former convicts. Through the assistance of The Castle, all four overcame their traumatic pasts and chronic criminal behavior, ultimately transforming into exemplary citizens.
As part of their rehabilitation, they worked on developing their life stories into a spoken word play that had a successful Off-Broadway run for 14 months. In the play, each individual exposes their souls in an honest and painful retelling of their personal experiences, ranging from childhood and their crimes to life in prison and the factors that facilitated their transformation.
All four participants highlight how the supposed final chapter of redemption—release from prison—often presents the most formidable challenge. Reentering society with little or no preparation and support significantly increases the likelihood of failure. Angel Ramos, who spent 30 years in prison, poses a poignant question: "How can I live like a normal human being when I have no concept of what 'normal' entails?"