Turn a New Page
The “Turn a New Page” documentary follows the experience of fathers incarcerated at the Baltimore County Detention Center (BCDC) as they participate in Turning Pages, a local literacy and family reunification program that is the only way BCDC inmates can have contact family visits; all other interaction is over the phone or through glass. The three main characters, inmates Jeff , Jody, and Daniel, share their experience of being separated from their families and how a local program that allows them to have contact visits and read to their children is making a difference in their lives.
However, while the film gives voice to these men and their families who are often not heard in a larger context, it's relevance extends beyond these individuals. Right now, 2.7 million U.S. minor children have a parent who's incarcerated. In 2016, the Annie E. Casey Foundation published “A Shared Sentence,” stating that incarceration creates an unstable environment for kids that can have lasting effects on their development and well-being. Families are destabilized both financially and emotionally, and multiple incarcerations only compound this. Recidivism rates are also around 70 percent in Baltimore, but studies have shown family visitation in general can reduce recidivism by 13%. Additionally, about 90% of the inmates at BCDC are convicted of non-violent offenses, which is significant when one considers the disruption to the family units.
I began working on this project which has a verite style -- shooting most of the film thus far myself -- in the winter/spring of 2017. I have also begun to edit a rough cut.