Below is a blog post from Neil Hutton, Professor at the Centre for Law Crime and Justice, University of Strathclyde.
First, congratulations on the film. A very moving and professional looking piece of work which will be a very useful resource for teaching, training and raising awareness more generally.
The film unashamedly told the story from the offender perspective, but did not seek sympathy for offenders but instead focused on the negativity of imprisonment. “A prison sentence starts when you walk out of the prison gates.” The film showed how prison disqualifies and excludes far beyond the term of the sentence.
Almost inevitably, most of the ex-offenders interviewed were highly articulate, intelligent, perceptive and even charismatic: extraordinary people. I was struck again by how difficult it must be to radically change your life, how brave to take the responsibility to be the author of a new life. Most of us bumble along, only rarely required to make the kind of courageous decisions or demonstrate the kind of steely determination that these guys have had to do. But they show that it can be done, that there is hope alongside the poverty, unemployment, drink and drugs and all the rest of it. But if it is hard for these guys to succeed, how much harder for the less gifted offenders. Amongst other things, desistance requires patience from the authorities and a willingness to give offenders a second chance (or even a tenth chance) to make the changes which they want to achieve but find difficult. The challenge is to find ways not just to stop less serious offenders going to prison in the first place but ensuring that those sentenced to community payback are not returned too swiftly to prison when for whatever reason they breach a condition of their order. Desistance takes time.
Alan Weaver does a very fine job as presenter and the music is great. I will definitely be using this for teaching next year. Thanks to all involved for a great idea brilliantly executed