Women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985. The IF Project explores the reasons behind these staggering numbers by intimately following a heroic Seattle police officer and the writing workshop she created with a group of inmates at a maximum security women’s prison.
Filmmaker Kathlyn Horan will be present for the film screening and engage audiences in a question and answer session afterwards.
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“When I first began this project, I thought it would be completed in just over a year’s time. It was my first experience in a prison, so I had no idea what was in store for me - or what it was like to film in a maximum security facility. Change doesn’t happen quickly behind those walls and every day is very much the same. In terms of filming, it became clear that in order to build a story with real depth about the experience of these women, it was going to take some time…..eight years to be exact.
With great support from the Washington Correction Center for Women, we were able to spend a great deal of time getting to know the women’s stories (often brutal), create the writing workshops and bare witness as they deeply examined themselves and worked towards growth — even though the odds are stacked against them. You can’t come away from that experience without the knowledge that something more needs to be done.
About 700,000 inmates are released from federal and state prisons each year, and approximately two-thirds will reoffend within three years. I believe the future of our communities and our nation rests on how we rehabilitate and reintegrate former prisoners back into society. The answers to the IF question as brought to life in the documentary show us that we are returning people to our communities broken and unprepared.
We are in an important moment in time for this conversation. The topic of mass incarceration is constantly in today’s headlines. At the same time, criticism of American policing is the highest it has ever been. The IF Project demonstrates that both populations can serve each other and ultimately, our communities as a whole.
I am hopeful that the conversations started across the country as part of this project will influence policy and practice on a variety of topics: addressing social issues that lead to incarceration; improving policing practices; increasing support for successful transition to post-prison life; increasing access to employment and housing for felons through “ban the box” initiatives; and reinstating voting rights for felons nationwide. By putting a human face back on these inmates, telling their stories in an intimate and rarely seen way, The IF Project documentary lays the groundwork for change.” [Source: The IF Project Press Kit]
“I totally agree with its nutritive value as a story of prison reform’s human side, but I also think it’s a genuinely solid movie movie that plays really well on a big screen. It’s got the story thrust, colorful characters, nuance, and gradually unfolding structure of a great narrative fiction feature for me.” – The Sun Break