Some of my bad traits: prideful, vain, overly sensitive, dramatic, anxious, judgmental, and preachy.
Try to forgive me for being preachy cause I'm about to talk about another incredible documentary I just saw that has to do with prison injustice.
Yoav Potash's Crime after Crime is one of those films that will make you feel like you've done something important and powerful with your day. My students and I were lucky enough to see an advance screening today, as well as have a Q&A session afterwards with Yoav and some of the major players in the film.
Debbie Peagler flanked by her two pro bono attorneys
In a nutshell: Deborah Peagler was abused by her boyfriend, Oliver, from the time she was 15. He was extremely violent toward her, forced her into prostitution, and sexually abused her daughter. When she finally escaped with their daughters, he and his cronies came to her door with guns blazing (and issuing death threats). Feeling like there was no way to escape, Deborah asked two of her friends to rough him up a bit. Unbeknownst to her, they killed Oliver. Deborah was charged with first degree murder and given a sentence of 25 to life.
About 26 years into her incarceration, Deborah was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Her two attorneys, Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa, had been working (for free!) for years toward her release. Watch the film to see what happens--it's a gut-wrenching, inspiring, unbelievable story that leaves you astounded, among other feelings, that the fate of people's lives lies in the hands of folks like, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This story hit a serious chord with me, as it reminded me so much of a story I heard first-hand last summer.
Did you know that over 80% of women in prison are there for a crime directly related to their abuse? It is astounding. As is the lack of empathy among so many court officials. What exactly would they do if their lives, and those of their children, were being abused and threatened daily?
Check out this woman's story. The filmmakers need all the support they can get so that this documentary gets into the hands of lawyers, judges, and the general public (and not just the advocates for prison reform and social justice who seek out films like this). If you're in the Bay Area, you can catch it at the SF International Film Festival now, the website is here, it's on facebook and twitter, and the film will be out this summer (in theaters, on Netflix, at festivals, etc.).
What inspiring stories have you heard lately?