After Incarceration, There’s Life
The U.S. incarcerates Americans at globally unprecedented rates. What’s more, within three years of release approximately two-thirds of the formerly incarcerated are rearrested and sent back to prison. After Incarceration, There’s Life is a social impact campaign for the documentary Beyond the Wall. Both the film and campaign take a close look at the journey from incarceration to community, from behind the wall to beyond the wall. The journey is often riddled with road bumps and uncertainty. After Incarceration, There’s Life seeks to make the journey beyond the wall successful and permanent.
Today JAILS are, with limited exceptions, city or county-level facilities that are governed by local law enforcement or departments of correction. They provide short-term confinement for individuals awaiting trial, sentencing or both and individuals serving a term less than one year. In contrast, PRISONS are facilities run by the state or federal government, typically confining felons or individuals serving sentences longer than a single year. The statistics gathered and presented on this site differ between jails and prisons. WHY? Basically, individuals spend less time in jails than in prisons. As a result, more people cycle through the jail system and are therefore recidivating at higher rates.
Beyond the Wall highlights one of the most critical issues in criminal justice reform: the many prisoners returning to their communities each year where they face tremendous challenges and barriers. The film follows five formerly incarcerated men who are attempting to rebuild their lives on the outside with little support from the U.S. criminal justice system. Through this compelling and personal account, the film vividly shows their struggles and strategies for survival beyond the walls of jail and prison.
Beyond the Wall highlights one of the most critical issues in criminal justice reform—the flood of prisoners returning to our streets and communities each year where they face tremendous challenges and barriers. The film follows five formerly incarcerated men who are attempting to rebuild their lives on the outside with little support from the U.S. criminal justice system. Through this compelling and personal account, the film vividly shows their struggles and strategies for survival beyond the walls of jail and prison.
After Incarceration, There’s Life: Film Campaign
Beyond the Wall humanizes the social, economic and emotional barriers encountered by citizens (and their families) returning to their communities following incarceration. The After Incarceration, There’s Life campaign aims to illuminate these realities and provide opportunities for best-practice strategies to be shared in targeted locations. The film and campaign will be influential in assisting with more successful reentry, ultimately reducing the number of our citizens returning to jails and prisons.
Provide a forum for best practice sharing among key stakeholders and bring together coalitions of support to create new solutions.
Increase availability of comprehensive and treatment focused reentry programming for returning citizens.
Educate communities about the realities of incarceration and offer opportunities to get involved, featuring formerly incarcerated individuals as potential leaders in their community.
Beyond the Wall forces you to experience the overwhelming challenges that need to be overcome by returning citizens. Court personnel, judges and prosecutors should see Beyond the Wall to help them empathize and understand the support that is necessary to those they are sentencing.
Carmen M. Ortiz
United States Attorney
District of Massachusetts
Q&A With a Second Chance Citizen
Carlos Cervantes was incarcerated at the age of 16, facing a sentence of 35 years to life. While in prison, he took steps to put his life on a more positive path, and became one of the first inmates to graduate from the Palo Verde Community College program at Ironwood State Prison, with an Associate of Arts degree. He was released from prison in 2011, and now works with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition as a Mentorship and Ride Home Coordinator. His story was featured in The New York Times, in a short documentary called A Ride Home From Prison. We asked him about recidivism in the United States and how the stories in Beyond The Wall resonated with his own experience as a returning citizen.