The United States spends $80 billion on incarceration a year, and yet more than half of people who leave prison return there within 5 years. Which brings us to ask the question, why do we incarcerate people in the first place? This question is what drives Vera Institute of Justice. Their mission is to urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities. And as advocates for social justice reform, we were honored to partner with Vera on a video that would raise awareness about our current system and ask us to reimagine the prison experience in the United States.
Since the narrative focused on transforming our incarceration system, we chose an artistic approach that would also provide a transformative opportunity. Using a hand-drawn approach, animator Catherine Mehringer was able to humanize the story through abstract shapes and delicate silhouettes to create a broader picture.
The response was well received. In its first 24 hours, #Reimagineprison was shared thousands of times by organizations, celebrities, and activists including the ACLU, Judd Apatow, and Ava Duverney. Even Justin Bieber gave his approval. There may never be a better time to rethink our incarceration programs than now, and we are humbled to be part of the conversation. To learn more, visit reimagine.vera.org, and let’s #Reimagineprison.
Production: Mighty Oak
Direction: Catherine Mehringer
Animation Assistance: Marisha Falkovich