The Return

PBS Premiere: May 23, 2016Check the broadcast schedule »

Take Action

  • Help create pathways for employment for returning citizens in your workplace. Talk to your human resources department and arrange a screening of The Return for your staff/co-workers. Discuss how you can create opportunities for returning citizens.
  • Conduct an education campaign for local employers about employing people who have served time. Share stories of people (especially locals) who have been incarcerated but have succeeded after release because people were willing to give them jobs. Create a list of employers who would be willing to provide a job for someone coming out of jail, then share that list with reentry programs and social service and employment agencies.
  • Having a positive connection with their local communities can be a big help for those anticipating reentry. Look up prisons/jails in your local area and write letters to those who are incarcerated.
  • Look up and join a volunteer program at a local prison. Offer to share a hobby, talent or area of expertise.
  • Meet with local legislators to discuss policies that ban people who have felony records from voting, receiving student loans or obtaining publicly subsidized housing. Let them know how you think those problems should be addressed.
  • Based on what you see and hear in the film, join together with others in your community to create "care packages" for people being released from prison to help them through their first few days back in the community. Work with existing reentry initiatives and prison officials to distribute the packages.
  • Inquire about the education and reentry programs at your local prisons. Are they being implemented and meeting the needs of those incarcerated? Discuss with the warden, local reentry/education programs and government officials how to support the prisons in implementing these programs.
  • Partner with a local reentry organization to form support groups in your local community for returning citizens, their families and those who are most often interacting and working with them (employers, for example).
  • Hold a fundraiser to support local reentry programs and/or increase available spaces in local substance abuse treatment facilities.
  • Form a book club or study circle to read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (to look at racial disparities) and/or examine the shift to privatization of prisons in the U.S. and the impact of the "prison industrial complex." Go online or host an event to share what you learn with people outside the group.
  • Help prevent incarceration by supporting local at-risk youth. Volunteer with a local school, mentorship organization and/or youth program (e.g., Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, City Year).