BOSTON — More than 50 legislators and staffers participated in a Massachusetts Senate screening of “Beyond the Wall,” a locally-produced documentary focused on reentry, co-hosted by Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian on Tuesday, June 21.
The film was produced by Northern Light Productions and primarily filmed in Lowell, Lawrence and the Middlesex Jail and House of Corrections. It follows several men attempting to reenter society following terms of incarceration and looks at the competing influences of family, addiction, employment and mental health that fragment attempts to rebuild their lives. The film also features community members Luis Diaz and Billy Cabrera, two former inmates who spend countless hours helping newly released men gain employment, remain sober, and avoid re-incarceration.
“This film makes very plain why we need to continue to work for criminal justice reform, and that our work must not stop at the end of a prison sentence,” said Rosenberg. “Louie Diaz and Billy Cabrera deserve tremendous credit and thanks for not only getting their own lives back on track, but for working so hard to keep giving back.”
“The truth is that everyday speed bumps can quickly become major barriers for those reentering the community post-incarceration,” said Koutoujian. “This documentary accurately captures that, as well as the work of those inside and outside the criminal justice system trying to make a difference.”
The screening of the documentary comes as the legislature considers a number of pieces of legislation related to criminal justice and as the Council of State Governments’ (CSG) works with state leaders to conduct a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in the Commonwealth. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a repeal of the automatic license suspension law, breaking down a significant barrier to successful reentry for thousands of residents each year.