CRIMINAL follows one family’s journey through America’s criminal justice system, offering a personal perspective on the motivations and challenges of the system and the gentle power we all hold to turn tragedy into transformation.
How do you reconcile your love of a family member, son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend with anger for the crime they committed? How do you let go of the self loathing and abuse that comes with the cycle of addiction and being branded a “criminal”? How do you find an outlet for the anger – at yourself, friends who turned you in, a broken system – while being held inside prison walls? And when does punishment for a crime cross the line into exploitation of a marginalized segment of society?
CRIMINAL tells the story of this journey through this system through the eyes of two brothers incarcerated on federal drug conspiracy charges and the outside support network of family and friends from a small town in Maine. The film follows the filmmakers family over 5+ years on this transformative journey – from pre-trial release, to sentencing hearings, family vacations to prison and the joys and struggles of coming home, staying sober and creating a life after prison. What follows is a cracking open of a family in the fish bowl of a small town, and the surprising, incredible way perhaps the biggest tragedy the family had faced opens up the doorway to become closer and more real with each other than before.
It is a personal story with far reaching implications as over 2 million Americans are currently behind bars and 1 in 33 are under supervision of the correctional system – in jail, in prison, or on parole, probation or supervised release.