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FRONTLINE: The Released (2009)

Will Lyman , Narrator , Miri Navasky , Karen O'Connor  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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FRONTLINE: The Released + OC87:The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie - 2 DVD Set (Amazon Exclusive) + Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness
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Product Details

  • Actors: Will Lyman, Narrator
  • Directors: Miri Navasky, Karen O'Connor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: July 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0027JCWR6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,129 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This year, hundreds of thousands of prisoners with serious mental illnesses will be released into communities across America, the largest exodus in the nation s history. Typically, mentally ill offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 and two weeks worth of medication. Within 18 months, nearly two-thirds are re-arrested. In this follow-up to the groundbreaking film "The New Asylums," FRONTLINE examines what happens to the mentally ill when they leave prison and why they return at such alarming rates. The intimate stories of the released along with interviews with parole officers, social workers and psychiatrists provide a rare look at the lives of the mentally ill as they struggle to stay out of prison and reintegrate into society.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving and Hating a Documentary June 21, 2009
The documentary states that of the 700,000 inmates released from American prisons each year, half of them have mental disabilities. This work focused on those with severe problems who keep entering and exiting prison. This work has my mental wheels spinning; it presented fewer facts than it made me ask a ton of questions.
This work didn't answer something I need to know: "Do we give resources to the severely mentally ill to help them or to reduce their harm to society?" Some of the crimes committed by these men include robbery, assault, property damage, domestic violence, etc. Of course, that stuff can't be tolerated in a functional society. The victims of these men are not interviewed here and something tells me this documentary would upset them greatly. One big problem for these men is that they freely chose to stop taking their meds. Under freedom of choice, that's fine. However, if experts know they will be destructive without their meds, then why hasn't the law or legislators forced them to take them?
This work shows white and Black male ex-convicts in approximately equal numbers. The experts interviewed included whites and Blacks. As an African-American progressive, I would like to see more Blacks enter professions where they can help these people in need. There are no female ex-cons shown. One interviewee said this problem mostly affects men. Fair enough, but while women only make up a fraction of inmates, I once read that female inmates have extraordinarily complex issues. The exclusion of women in this documentary may rub some viewers the wrong way.
Someone very dear to me has done lots of prison time. He described prisons as being very miserly with providing resources.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many challenges for parolees....... February 7, 2010
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This dvd follows the fate of parolees who suffer from various mental illnesses, and the challenges they face; housing, employment, stigmatization, and socialization are just a few of them. The cases they follow do not all turn out for the best. Full of good information for a criminal justice student.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short film October 13, 2012
What's clear from this video is mentally ill prisoners need a consistent, funded way to obtain psychiatric care and medications once released. If not provided with medications and care through either a halfway house or release program, many mentally ill inmates re-offend and quickly end up back in prison.

I think rather than punishing the prisoners, states need to redirect funds into finding a way to provide ongoing medical treatment and support. Many of the prisoners seem to be "throwaway" people, meaning people who have lost ties with family, community and are in need of shelter, work, basic education, medication, and psychiatry. It's sad to see but there is such a lack of safety net, this harms both released prisoners and society.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clear Depiction of a Major Problem - October 18, 2013
Psychiatric hospitals were massively downsized decades ago to provide 'freedom' for their inhabitants to live as normally as possible. Turns out that hasn't worked well - the mentally ill no roam the streets and crowd homeless shelters and jails because they can't function normally enough to succeed. They constantly cycle between jail, where they take their medications under supervision, and release, where they soon stop taking their medications, commit destructive and/or violent acts, and are jailed again. Not working.

I would have liked to also seen how other nations handle the problem.
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