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High Risk Offender
A Film by Barry Greenwald
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film stillSooner or later, most criminals get out of prison and are reinserted into civilian life. What happens next?

For ten months, filmmaker Barry Greenwald followed the lives of seven men on the brink of freedom - six deemed at high risk to reoffend - as they struggled to remain on the right side of the law.

These men were imprisoned for everything from white-collar crime to murder. Now, their parole officers - the human face of the criminal justice system that imprisoned them - are trying to keep their clients out of jail and their failures off the files. Many of the men try too, submitting themselves to urine testing for drugs, random curfew checks, and therapy sessions. Others feel hopeless and merely go through the motions. Their stories are at turns disturbing, tragic, endearing, and downright bizarre.

Steven Craig, eager to comply with the conditions of his release, stuns everyone when he suddenly commits a violent crime. Doug Coveney, convicted for armed robbery, battles against addiction and longs for a date. Christopher Horne, dapper and smooth talking, was the mastermind behind a seven million dollar fraud. Barry Proctor, a convicted bank robber with a prison record spanning three decades, has successfully completed his parole. His parole officer bids him with a cautionary farewell: "Please Barry, don't rob a bank. They'll bury you so deep you'll have your own postal code."

High Risk Offender is a gripping, unadorned look into the universe of the parole office, and the tenuous relationships between offenders and their parole officers and therapists.

"This amazing documentary shares the experiences of a handful of parole supervisors and their clients. Seemingly unobtrusive… the directness of the professional supervision brings the intensity of the film to a dramatic pitch as we witness the parolees' self-destruction, or desperate struggle to salvage their lives. A solid recommendation for criminal justice students and personnel."—Library Journal

"Greenwald's films are marked by the extraordinary access he gets to his subjects. [He] allows us to visit, vicariously, places beyond the velvet ropes of the status quo, beyond the private boundaries; to meet people we might never have expected to meet."—POV Magazine

"Amazing ... funny, weird, tragic, and filled with insight."—Montreal Gazette

"Brilliant...remarkable...The year's best Canadian documentary."—Toronto Star

Gold Apple, 1999 National Educational Media Network
1998 Montreal World Film Festival
1999 Rencontres International du Documentaire de Montreal
1999 Nominee, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television - Best Documentary Direction

60 minutes / Color
Release: 1999
Copyright: 1998

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Canada, Criminal Justice, Law, Prisons and Prisoners, Psychology, Sociology

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