Why “Prisoner of Hope”? Part I

My new show, “Prisoner of Hope,” follows the journeys of families healing from the effects of mass incarceration from both sides of the bars. It’s a raw and in-your-face look at how families and communities grapple with the devastating effects of imprisonment in America. It’s not an exaggeration to call it an epidemic. If you aren’t affected, chances are you know someone who is carrying this burden.

Consider the following alarming statistics:

  • The United States spends over $80 billion on incarceration each year.
  • Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, one in every 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control.
  • Blacks are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate 10 times greater than that of whites, despite the fact that blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same rates.

The American criminal justice system is flawed, no doubt. But you may be left wondering: why am I taking on such a lofty issue, and why now?

I’ll explore that in the first of a three-part blog series about why this passion project fuels my soul.

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. One driving motivation is that there’s not enough television about the justice system, at least not content that leaves you inspired or hope-filled. “A Prisoner of Hope” is uplifting and serves as a reminder that families affected by this issue are ordinary people, just like your’s and mine. They need our love and support as they walk this journey. They need light to come out of the darkness.

The same goes for the incarcerated individuals themselves. The great awakening has begun. The current model is broken and families and society writ large pays the price for recidivism. Stringent parole conditions and a lack of support for those re-entering the community only exacerbate the problem. We must begin to move away from punitive thinking to “restorative thinking.”

In the meantime, I encourage you to share the pilot episode of “Prisoner of Hope” with your friends and family, especially on social media. Together, we can start a movement and demand the prison system make the necessary changes so we as a society can become more whole and equitable.

What are you waiting for? Tune in to the first episode of “Prisoner of Hope” today and be sure to join the conversation on my social channels.

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