We are preparing content for a seamless experience. In the meantime enjoy our twitter feed or sign up for our mail list.

Best Experienced With Sound On - Click Here to Mute

Phoun Yu

"I am working on trying to find out who I am"

Serving 35 to Life
San Quentin State Prison, CA

Dionne Wilson, Survivor

Dionne's Husband, a Police Officer in California,
was killed in the line of duty

Michael McKiearnan

Sentenced to Life Without Parole
under the Three Strikes Law in Washington State.
Monroe Correctional Complex, WA

Sam Johnson

Sam is married with 5 children and 4 grandchildren.

Serving 25 to life
San Quentin State Prison, CA

Eddie Herena

"When I get out I will be a middle age male
with no real life experience"

Serving 15 to life,
San Quentin State Prison, CA

Sorry, your browser is not fully compatible.
This site is best experienced on a modern desktop browser :
Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer 10+
Check us out on facebook : http://facebook.com/theprisonwithin


An upcoming documentary exposing the failure of the US justice system
to restore justice through the stories of those most impacted
- prisoners with life sentences, survivors of violent crime, and the communities left behind.

This site has multimedia elements best experienced on a desktop browser.


The Prison Within: A Feature Length Documentary Currently In Production


The gun-carrying widow of a murdered police officer finds healing and a new mission with two inmates convicted of murder in San Quentin prison.


It was love at first sight when Dionne Wilson met her future husband, Dan, in an Oakland gun shop. When Dan, a policeman, is murdered, she wants blood. Brimming with grief and rage, Dionne seeks out media attention, and almost overnight becomes the charismatic darling of the hard-on-crime, pro-death penalty movement. But when a death sentence for her husband's killer brings her more pain instead of relief, Dionne goes searching for answers behind the razor wire of San Quentin.

In THE PRISON WITHIN, a feature documntary, Dionne meets Eddie, 29. and Sane, 40, two men convicted of murder who are part of the innovative Insight Prison Project. Transcendent moments are captured with Eddie and Sane as the men face their unforgiveable crimes. They look for meaning in lives that began in poverty and violence, and in futures sure to be warehoused and forgotten. By grieving together in one of the darkest, most desperate places in America, Dionne and the men find hope.

"I didn't realize that watching these men find redemption would give me my healing," says Dionne. "This is what true crime fighting looks like, getting to the root cause of violent crime and stopping it by healing the individual."

As Dionne begins to doubt her old beliefs and view execution as the another form of murder, she lobbies for criminal justice reform. Sane and Eddie study for Associate of Arts degrees and look for purpose inside prison walls. Together they offer an intimate look at justice that heals .

Project Description:

The Prison Within aims to shatter 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 contained, warehoused, and forgotten. It will show that 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, anybody or anything that slightly 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.

The Prison Crisis: The issues and the need.

Through an independent documentary film and interactive website, the project aims to advance 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. Many now see the incarceration epidemic as a fatal cancer itself. It demonstrates, replicates and amplifies the structural racism and classism of our society: men of color are locked up at such alarmingly high rates that there is little defense against descriptions of the system as a New Slavery, or The New Jim Crow, or prison apartheid. It is a system that creates barriers to equal opportunity, perpetuates cycles of crime and discrimination, and undermines entire communities.

A Raw Love Production

For Inquiries : info@rawloveproductions.com




The Filmmakers

Katherin Hervey - Producer and Director

Katherin Hervey is a multimedia producer and social justice activist. She is also a former Los Angeles Public Defender and volunteer college instructor to people in prison.

As a Public Defender she worked as a trial lawyer for individuals charged with criminal offenses who could not afford an attorney. As a law clerk she also worked with Human Rights Watch attorneys to develop and implement the California Juvenile Life Without Parole Reform Act, eliminating the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole in California, and with Lambda Legal, advocating on behalf of LGBTQ communities on civil rights impact litigation cases before the California Supreme Court. As a member of Seattle Restorative Justice she helped to create alternatives to the current punitive system using community-based restorative practices.

As a multimedia producer she was the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of "Shades of Contradiction", a nationally distributed arts and culture magazine; and has produced, directed and art-directed award-winning short documentary and narrative films including "The Cocktail Waitress" for PBS broadcast. She currently produces work with her partner Massimo Bardetti under Raw Love Productions, a multimedia production ensemble dedicated to visual storytelling with social and artistic value, working with nonprofits and other organizations to share their stories through photography and multimedia narratives.

Massimo Bardetti - Co-Producer and Co-Director

Massimo Bardetti is a videographer, photographer and digital artist with over fifteen years of hands-on experience focusing on media content management and distribution. As a VP of Software Developent at AccessIT (now Cinedigm) he was a key contributor to the first successful large-scale deployment of studio certified digital cinema systems in the country. He worked with major Hollywood studios, exhibitors and standard bodies to advance the digital cinema standard now in use. As a Chief Architect at ANN Systems he developed media management software for the news broadcast industry. He currently resides in Seattle where he produces work with his partner Katherin Hervey under Raw Love Productions, a multimedia production ensemble dedicated to visual storytelling with social and artistic value, working with nonprofits and other organizations to share their stories through photography and multimedia narratives.

Eric Frith - Story Producer and Editor

Eric Frith (Producer, Writer, Director, Editor) creates films that have screened at top festivals including Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), South by Southwest (SXSW), Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and numerous others around the world. His projects have received multiple awards, including Best International Feature Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh for “The Breach” (Editor and Co-Writer), Audience Awards at Milan International Film Festival and SXSW for “Eden” (Editor), six best documentary awards, including the Audience Award and Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival for “A Lot Like You”, (Co-Producer, Editor, Co-Writer), and Best Mid-Length Documentary, Montreal International Film Festival, Audi- ence Award and Best Documentary Feature at the Napa Valley Film Festival for “Finding Hillywood” (Story Producer and Editor). His projects have been acquired for distribution, both nationally and internationally, by Miramax, Dream Entertainment, Cinema Management Group, Off the Fence, Independent Lens, American Masters PBS, and Phase 4 Films.

Leah Warshawski - Distribution Consultant

Leah Warshawski is a producer/director specializing in documentary storytelling around the globe for commercials, branded entertainment, reality shows, narrative features, and documentaries. She has worked for major television networks on shows including LOST and HAWAII, and has filmed in more than 30 countries. Her most recent feature documentary Finding Hillywood (2013) has won six awards since its premiere, including the Critic’s Award (Sebastopol Documentary Festival) and the Audience Award (Napa Film Festival). She is also the co-founder of rwandafilm.org, an outreach and job site created in partnership with Bpeace (Business Council for Peace) and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. She enjoys helping filmmakers develop and implement effective marketing, outreach, festival, and audience engagement strategies. Warshawski’s next feature documentary in production is called Big Sonia, slated for release in 2016.

Social Media And Outreach

Ada Vokat - Social Media

Ada Vokat has a multi-disciplined background in graphic arts, accounting, interior painting, small business management, landscaping, and justice advocacy. She is a surrogate parent to two small, funny dogs, sings alto in a church choir, enjoys a simple life, and laughs loud and often. Her husband, her beloved, is a prisoner.

Scott Dillon - Creative Director

Scott has over 20 years of experience in the web development world. He has provided creative direction and extended brand narratives for a diverse array of digital campaigns for award winning art (Liss Fain Dance), mission driven non-profits (Data Driven Detroit) and privately-held / Fortune 500 Companies (The Melt, Daimler Chrysler Financial). His understanding of story comes from a writing/editing background with a personal penchant and unending desire to know and push boundaries in all things tech.


Mari Navarro Borrero

Mari Navarro Borrero is a veteran of the armed forces and an award-winning elementary school teacher. In 2013 she married Aaron Borrero, who has been serving 15 years in prison. Since 2009 Aaron has received two unanimous decisions for release by the Washington State clemency board. Yet he is still in prison. Despite his incarceration Mari and Aaron have continued to educate the public on the subject of criminal justice reform and give back to the community by helping youth, most recenlty collaborating to write "Daddy Has a New Home, Not a New Heart," by Tate Publishing. They are currently writing a second book.

Gary Idleburg

Gary Idleburg is co-founder of University Beyond Bars (UBB) in Washington State and teaches African American History at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, Washington. He is also the host of KSER’s “America’s Disappeared,” an independent public radio show that looks at the justice and criminal punishment system in America and its effect on human lives. Gary has served on the board of UBB since its inception.

Cindy Anderson

Cindy spent 13 years at Microsoft where she was instrumental in managing numerous enterprise level cross group programs. Her expertise in software development as well as her human potential skillfulness ensured many successful product launches. She has also been successful in creating product strategy and vision. Her focus on social justice lead her to complete Seattle University‘s Leadership EMBA program. She co-funded a social enterprise in Nigeria that created economic development through access to clean water. In her efforts to bring voice to the voiceless, she advocates on behalf of the incarcerated and is leading the effort to establish parole in Washington state. Finally she is working to get her partner, Arthur Longworth, relief from his life without parole sentence and bring him home.

Anthea Karanasos

Anthea serves as Poet-in-Residence for the Black Dog Arts Coalition. As a poet, teacher, and community organizer, she is committed to inspiring people of all ages to discover the pleasures of poetry and creative writing, as well as the power of the written word to transform lives. Anthea works to expose the economic and social impact of the Prison Industrial Complex and the classroom-to-prison pipeline, and to help people understand how access to quality education impacts a person’s likelihood to serve time in prison. She recognizes the painful hardships of prison life, as her brother is serving an indeterminate sentence in California.
Anthea believes each experience, no matter how small, shapes us as individuals, and that as members of society, we have a responsibility to help one another and to contribute as we are able to creating a more vital, equitable, and compassionate society.

Ernest Kirkwood

Ernest Kirkwood is a formerly incarcerated man who contributes his personal and professional experiences with long-term incarceration, re-entering society, behavior modification, and cognitive thinking to address the transitional needs of long-term prisoners being released. Ernest was released from Soledad State Prison in January 2012 after serving 29+ years. While at Soledad he served as Chairman for the Higher Education Library Project, the Inmate Advisory Council, and was founder and chairman of the Balanced Reentry Activity Group (BRAG) his last five years of incarceration. Ernest is currently on staff with HealthRight360, and doing a Caseworker Internship with the Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco. He also does volunteer work at the Juvenile Justice Center through the Omega Boys Club, and is a Board of Supervisors appointee to the Reentry Council of San Francisco. When asked about his proudest accomplishment in prison Ernest says, “to leave prison knowing that over 250 men are actively involved in the various BRAG self-help classes and programs”.



Donate! (It's Tax Free)

Click on the "Donate" button to make a tax free donation to The Prison Within Project via Paypal. No Paypal account required.


Sign-Up to receive emails with updates about The Prison Within project

* indicates required