Watch the trailer at: http://www.pbs.org/frontline/released
Five years ago, FRONTLINE’s groundbreaking film, The New Asylums, went deep inside the Ohio prison system as it struggled to provide care to thousands of mentally ill inmates. This year, FRONTLINE filmmakers Karen O’Connor and Miri Navasky return to Ohio to tell the next chapter in this disturbing story: what happens to mentally ill offenders when they leave prison. The Released—airing on Tuesday, April 28, at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), is an intimate look at the lives of the seriously mentally ill as they struggle to remain free.
As communities across the country face the largest exodus of prisoners in history, the issue has never been more pressing. This year alone, over 700,000 people will leave prison, more than half of them mentally ill. Typically, these offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 in cash, and two weeks’ worth of medication. Studies show that within 18 months, nearly two-thirds of mentally ill offenders—often poor and cut off from friends and family—are re-arrested.
In 2007, Lynn Moore, armed with bottles and bricks, broke into a house looking for Osama bin Laden. A paranoid schizophrenic with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, he was arrested more than 20 times and sent to prison for the fourth time. After serving eight months, Moore was released without supervision. FRONTLINE follows him from his first day of freedom to a homeless shelter in Canton, Ohio. “I don’t think people understand how hard it is to transition from prison life back to everyday life,” says Scott Schnyders, program director at Refuge of Hope, the shelter that housed Moore.