"A Hard Straight" traces the lives of three paroled prisoners after their release into society, and how they inevitably end up breaking parole. I saw this at the LA Film Festival in June 2004, and after the movie, there was a Q&A with the director, some of the audience turned out to be ex-cons! The parolees are a black man in his forties, a black woman in her forties, and a Latino gang member in his twenties. All of them have a hard time staying within the restrictions set by their parole officers, and the black man and Latino both end up going back to prison (I'm not sure if the black woman did). On the one hand, as I watched the parolees continually break parole, I kept wondering "Did they want to go back to prison?" On the other hand, there seemed to be few resources to keep them from going back. I think the director wanted us to feel sorry for the parolees, but I never felt sorry for them, they never seemed to want to stay within their parole restrictions. This should make a good PBS Frontline documentary.
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