About The Film

Men incarcerated for murder inside San Quentin Prison struggle to transcend the barriers of the punitive prison system by working with survivors of violent crime to unearth the root cause of their violence - untreated trauma. Each character undergoes a radical transformation, revealing how every human being, on both sides of the wall, can break out of their own personal prisons to stop the cycle of violence.

We are asking the audience to set aside what they think they know about incarcerated people. Most people in prison are first a victim. Anger and violence stem from untreated trauma. When our justice system excludes the notion of rehabilitation, it necessarily perpetuates the cycle of violence by failing to address trauma. The fallout from untreated trauma ultimately affects the entire community. This film serves as an example of how all people can change, how we can evolve as a community, and the power of connecting to the humanity in others, even those who have committed harm.

Team & Supporters

Creators and Supporters without whom this film would not be possible.

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Watch THE PRISON WITHIN teaser at Vimeo.

The Prison Crisis

Reformation of the criminal legal system is the next great civil and human rights battle.

An invisible nation lives within our own country: we have 2.2 million people behind bars, and the highest incarceration rate in the world. That enormous number has ballooned over the last 30 years as a result of the War on Drugs, long and inflexible sentencing, and the growing demands of the Prison Industrial Complex, or businesses that profit from incarceration. It is a system that creates barriers to equal opportunity, perpetuates cycles of crime and discrimination, and undermines entire communities.

The Project

THE PRISON WITHIN shatters the illusion of the prison walls designed not only to keep people in, but to keep society out under the belief that those imprisoned are fundamentally different and therefore justifiably warehoused and forgotten.

If our society is a collective externalization of our inner selves, then the prison system is a map to the darkest areas of our heart, where we lock away that which is most difficult to confront - the poor, the addicted, the other; anything that threatens our sense of self or safety. As these stories unfold, viewers will gain an understanding of the social, racial, economic and psychological factors shared by men and women inside and outside of America's jails and prisons.