The movie focuses on the grassroots program Common Good Atlanta and its journey to taking larger education programs in prisons.
ATLANTA — After years of filming, a brand new documentary highlighting mass incarceration and jail education is screening Wednesday in Atlanta.
“Breaking Down the Walls of Incarceration: Common Good Atlanta” focuses on the grassroots program Common Good Atlanta and its journey to taking larger education programs into prisons.
The program began in 2008 when at-the-time Ph.D. scholar Sarah Higinbotham wished to volunteer to train at native prisons. It began off with simply a few classes, however in a short time, CGA expanded to the place present and beforehand incarcerated people can now obtain faculty credit score.
“We teach writing, literature, U.S. history, philosophy and art theory with a heavy emphasis throughout all of that on critical thinking and writing skills. These are the same courses that are taught inside colleges across Georgia, across the United States, and they are accredited by Bard College in New York,” CGA Co-founder Higinbotham mentioned.
In 2010, filmmaker Hal Jacobs heard about CGA from co-founder Bill Taft and from then on he was hooked. He quickly had the thought to doc the efforts of CGA and present the impression that providers like these have on people.
“I think there is a need to tell the stories of people in our community. People to me who are heroes – people who just don’t talk the talk, but are walking the walk with their lives. And that’s what Sarah has done,” he mentioned.
Over the previous 13 years, CGA has come to accomplice with a number of professors and universities together with Emory University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse College and plenty of extra. They have alumni and a number of success tales the place CGA has made a path for a greater future outdoors of jail.
Currently, CGA volunteers train inside three males’s prisons and one lady’s jail. They have a waitlist of individuals wanting to get into the program. However, Higinbotham needs folks to know at CGA is there to assist and to be a group for people who find themselves, or have been, incarcerated.
“We’ll help you with your statements, with letters of recommendation and with other hurdles that a lot of people face when they’re applying to colleges. And then we also do a lot of enrichment activities. We go hiking together. We have a running and a cycling group. We do road races together, we play music together, we have picnics. So it’s a lot of close friendships that were forged inside prison between faculty and students who continue to bring out the best in each other,” she mentioned.
Both Jacobs and Higinbotham are excited to inform the world their tales and the tales of these incarcerated, they usually hope the viewers will take as a lot away as they put in.
“When you watch this brilliant documentary and you hear these people’s stories, you hear their voices, you hear their deep wells of humanity. It can’t be us and them anymore. It’s there’s a sense of deep and profound connection of community that comes out of a broader definition of citizenship,” Higinbotham mentioned.
Jacobs echoed Higinbotham, including that their work helps kind a extra united group — particularly for many who are working to change and wanting to contribute.
“One factor is to take away the stigma of what folks in jail are like and realizing that they are coming again into our communities and that we will not simply shut them away,” Jacobs mentioned. “We want them to grow to be a part of the group and grow to be leaders in the group.”
The documentary “Breaking Down the Walls of Incarceration: Common Good Atlanta” airs Wednesday at the Plaza Theater in Atlanta at 7 p.m.
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