Most of us have the fortune of being unable to understand what it's really like to be in prison. We watch the news and see people handcuffed and sent off to jail. We read studies of the psychological effects of prison, as well as the economic impact it has on our country. We hear about a friend whose brother is behind bars. We watch television dramas and specials depicting the lives of people locked away. But while the proportion and number of the U.S. population behind bars grows, so does our misunderstanding of what it means to an individual, their family, their community, and the country. How can we possibly have empathy for something we have never experienced? Rather than telling you a story as in traditional media, each film creates a world for you to experience the story first-hand. The moment you put the headset on, you become the hero of the story.
We assembled many of the world's best journalists, researchers, writers, policy experts, creative directors, social workers, producers, artists, designers, engineers -- and most importantly, those on the inside: Current and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, as well as those working for the Department of Corrections -- to recreate a virtual world that captures the real world with more integrity and emotional honesty than ever before possible.
Each world we created provides a new access point to understanding the lives of millions of people in our communities. Just as the experience of incarceration is layered with complexity and nuance and is unique to each individual it affects, the politics and legislation have the same complexity. Because of this, we have actively sought out a variety of perspectives and experiences that provide different points of entry into the broader experience of mass incarceration and by doing so, we hope to begin to illuminate the infinite shades of grey that color this story.
- Jamie Wong, Creative Director