Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall represents a natural step from the issues explored in my previous film, A Sentence of Their Own, which chronicles the damaging impact incarceration has on families. In Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall the incarceration of a loved one is also a concern, but of central importance is the ultimate dilemma faced by the incarcerated and their families - death behind bars.
As a documentary filmmaker I have had a notable record of successful production in very stressful prison environments. Over the years I have established supportive relationships with both prison authorities and prisoners themselves – among the most important elements for ensuring a successful film project. Additionally, I have also connected on a very personal level with the families and loved ones of prisoners, who, through no fault of their own, have been plunged into the American criminal justice system.
Following the release of A Sentence of Their Own, many concerned family members shared stories with me about their imprisoned loved ones. The vast majority of them were lifers or long-termers essentially sentenced to die in prison. With over 2.5 million people incarcerated in the U.S. one can readily see why dying while incarcerated is quickly becoming an enormous problem not only for the U.S. correctional system but also for the millions of family members beyond the walls.
I take great satisfaction in my ability to tackle large-scale problems within the American criminal justice system and present them on a very personal level so that the destructive impact of a dysfunctional correctional system can be made more palpable to the viewer.
I took on the mission to document one of the few positive programs that exists today behind bars in hopes that other facilities will emulate the prisoner run hospice program and lessen the impact and instill much needed dignity to dying in prison for all concerned.