Survivor’s Guide to Prison (2018)

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You think you know all about prison life through TV and movies? Then this documentary will bring you a sense of how to really survive it.

Prison life is not what you expect. There are many factors that can be played out that can result in prison time, from the cop simply not liking someone to how to survive inside the prison cell to how to move on once you are released. Bruce Lisker was a man who was accused of murdering his mother and spent 26-years in prison. He spent those 26 years trying to clear his name. Reggie Cole was another man accused of murder and spent time in prison and like Bruce, spent his time trying to clear his name. These two, like others, have endured and persevered over time as they faced adversity over the years before finally getting released when their innocence has been proven.

The film is a series of interviews with the likes of Danny Trejo, Busta Rhymes, writer-director Matthew Cooke, Patricia Arquette, Danny Glover, and a slew of other celebrities who are making a statement with this documentary. The result of crowdfunding back in 2015, this is a look at what to do if you are being questioned, being interrogated, forced to stand trial, go to prison, and how to move on if and when you are released as seen through the experiences of subjects Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole.

A notable person on the film is executive producer Jeff Deskovic, who after being wrongly convicted in 1990 of murder, has dedicated his life to expose all wrongdoing and help innocent people clear their names. The film also takes a look at the idea of forgiveness, in the case of a widow whose police officer husband was killed in the line of duty and in a bold move, she ultimately forgave her husband’s murderer. Rosa, a mother who lost her son in a drive-by shooting, conducts seminars across the nation as her motive of forgiveness as she speaks to prisoners as a way to feel her pain and in some cases, it helps changes them.

There are some harrowing facts about the justice system that may astound viewers, such as how much money it costs to put someone in prison and what the money could be used for. The film also takes a look at the potentially negative aspects of post-prison life as well, such as the case of one man who after his experience, went through paranoia involving law enforcement and ultimately faced tragedy. Nevertheless, this is a film about what to do and how to ultimately survive.

Survivor’s Guide to Prison is quite a documentary that takes a look inside the justice system and how to survive and move on once released. Definitely worth a watch.

WFG RATING: B

Gravitas Ventures presents a Saturday Entertainment production in association with Deskovic Productions. Director: Matthew Cooke. Producers: Steven DeVore, David Arquette, Christina Arquette, Robin C. Garvick, Adrian Grenier, Bryn Mooser, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Cooke, and Gina Belafonte. Writer: Matthew Cooke. Cinematography: Matthew Cooke and Steve Minor. Editing: Matthew Cooke.

Cast: Danny Trejo, Bruce Lisker, Reggie Cole, Busta Rhymes, Matthew Cooke, Patricia Arquette, Susan Sarandon (narrator), Danny Glover, Jesse Williams, Quincy Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Ice-T, RZA, Q-Tip, Tom Morello, Russell Simmons, Deepak Chopra.

Gravitas Ventures will be releasing this film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23.

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