At a time when the California State Prison system was dangerously overcrowded, and more than 85% percent of its inmates were involved in drug use, one unlikely program looked inward for the answer and took a chance on 50 men serving life inside.
For these men, what seemed simply to be a longshot for parole transformed into a radical journey of healing themselves and the prison they served time in.
The 50 is a feature-length documentary that asks how a group so underestimated became agents of radical change and the first men to become California certified counselors while inmates of that same state’s prison system. We step alongside these men in an exploration of trauma, redemption, and the complicated humanity of their stories.
In 2008, over 300 inmates serving either life or long-term prison sentences at Solano State Prison applied to be part of the inaugural Offender Mentor Certification Program class. Of the 300 that applied, 50 were accepted into the program.
What appeared to be merely an opportunity to get in front of the parole board upon graduating from the program, became an agent of radical change for these 50 men and the prison they served time in.
As a group that spanned a spectrum of different races, gang affiliations, criminal histories, they were forced to confront the sinister nature of prison politics and their pasts by entering into a process of introspection led by the nation's top clinical psychologists and addiction experts.
Today, 43 of the 50 are living on the outside. These are a few of the men.
“Can the corrections system offer an opportunity for healing?”
“Can the most hardened criminals transform to become valuable members of society?”
“What does rehabilitation look like in a system designed to punish and break a human being?”
“Can rehabilitative programming change prison culture?”
Director of Photography
The 50 is currently in post-production and expecting to complete the film by the end of 2020.
Join us in our journey to tell a story that will challenge our core beliefs about humanity and inspire us into action!