Mass incarceration: it’s a fact of American life. We jail more of our people than any other country in the history of the world. But, sad as it is, it’s not the end of the story. Because at least 95% of all state prisoners will be released from prison at some point; nearly 80% will be released to parole supervision. It is known that for about half of released inmates, it took less than two years for them to run afoul of the law again. The negative pull of gravity in their lives is too strong. When we as a society release them back into society after their debt has been paid, for the most part, we offer them no opportunities, no dignity, no hope, no chance. But there are some who do get a hand, get compassion, get help. There are people who are stepping up and leading the way to break the cycle. These are the stories of those trying to help.


Brian O’Reilly (Executive Producer/ Director) is co-creator and executive producer of the PBS series The Whole Truth with David Eisenhower, and was the creator and executive producer of Food Network’s “Dinner: Impossible!” He is author of Mission: Cook! of Impossible to Easy and of the novel Angelina’s Bachelors. He has written and produced political ads for both sides of the aisle, winning the prestigious Gold Pollie award in 2012, and written, produced and directed series and pilots for PBS, including Arlen Specter’s The Whole Truth, as well as the PBS travel documentary Eliza Dushku’s Dear Albania.

Paul Butler (Host) is the Albert Brick Professor in Law at Georgetown University Law Center and a legal analyst on MSNBC. Professor Butler is one of the nation’s most frequently consulted scholars on issues of race and criminal justice. His work has been profiled on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and The ABC, CBS and NBC Evening News. He lectures regularly throughout the United States, and his scholarship has been published in many leading scholarly journals, including the Georgetown Law Journal, Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review and the UCLA Law Review. Professor Butler’s book “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice” received the Harry Chapin Media award. The Washington Post named his book “Chokehold: Policing Black Men” one of the 50 best non-fiction books of 2017. The New York Times described Chokehold as the best book on criminal justice reform since The New Jim Crow.