YOU WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO WATCH ONE OF THESE DOCUMENTARIES DURING OUR SCHOOL THEME FILM FESTIVAL. PLEASE MAKE YOUR SELECTION IN YOU ENGISH CLASSES BY TUESDAY, MARCH 5TH. See Ms. O’Brien with questions.
Option #1: Serving Life
Serving Life documents an extraordinary hospice program where hardened criminals care for dying fellow inmates. Narrated and executive produced by Academy Award®-winner Forest Whitaker, the film takes viewers inside Louisiana's maximum security prison at Angola, where the average sentence is more than 90 years. Premiered on July 28, 2011.
Option #2: Troop 1500
At Hilltop Prison in Gatesville, Texas, a unique Girl Scout troop — Troop 1500 — unites daughters with mothers who are serving time for serious crimes, giving them a chance to rebuild their broken bonds. Facing long sentences from the courts, the mothers struggle to mend their fractured relationships with their daughters.
Troop 1500 follows five young Girl Scouts — sisters Caitlin and Mikaela, Jasmine, Jessica, and Naomi — whose mothers are serving time. Once inside the prison, the girls of Troop 1500 fall into the arms of the mothers they seldom see — Kenya, Melissa, Ida, and Susan — crying and laughing while pulling out report cards and pictures and passing along hellos from grandparents and absent brothers.
OF SPECIAL NOTE: A representative from a local Girl Scout affiliate that runs a similar program in the Portland area will be at this screening to answer questions.
Option #3: When Teens Get Life
This documentary, created in 2007, profiles the cases of five juveniles sentenced in Colorado to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The film explores whether juveniles should receive sentences that, in effect, end any possibility of life outside of prison.
The film makes the point that in 2007 the United States was one of the only countries in the world that allows persons under 18 to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to Human Rights Watch, over 2,200 of the inmates in the United States who were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole received those sentences for crimes they committed when they were under 18 years old. By contrast, according to self-reporting numbers from the rest of the world, only 12 people serving the same sentence were sentenced as juveniles.
Current updates on this legislation will be available after the screening.
Option #4: The Real CSI
How reliable is the science behind forensics?
Frontline investigates the flaws in some of the best known tools of forensic science.
2012-2013 School Theme: Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice: Is the system working?
"We are still a long way from the time when our conscience can be certain of having done everything possible to prevent crime and to control it effectively so that it no longer does harm and, at the same time, to offer to those who commit crimes a way of redeeming themselves and making a positive return to society. If all those in some way involved in the problem tried to . . . develop this line of thought, perhaps humanity as a whole could take a great step forward in creating a more serene and peaceful society."
--Pope John Paul II
July 9, 2000
School Theme Mission
To honor the Lasallian call to respond to the poor and overcome injustice, we at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory have introduced an annual school-wide theme centered on a topic of social concern. We hope that through the integration of this theme into the appropriate curricular areas and other school programming, students will not only develop the ability to understand deeply and think critically, but also become seekers of justice in a world that needs our compassion and action.
In a January 2012 article in the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik offers the following statistics:
The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States made the following statement in 2000:
As bishops, we believe that the current trend of more prisons and more executions, with too little education and drug treatment, does not truly reflect Christian values and will not really leave our communities safer. We are convinced that our tradition and our faith offer better alternatives that can hold offenders accountable and challenge them to change their lives; reach out to victims and reject vengeance; restore a sense of community and resist the violence that has engulfed so much of our culture. (Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice)
While recognizing that protecting communities from those who inflict harm is of utmost importance, during the 2012-2013 school year, we will ask the La Salle community to take a hard look at our current criminal justice system through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following policy foundations and directions:
- Protecting Society from those who threaten life, inflict harm, take property, and destroy the bonds of community.
- Rejecting simplistic solutions such as “three strikes and you’re out” and rigid mandatory sentencing.
- Promoting serious efforts toward crime prevention and poverty reduction.
- Challenging the culture of violence and encouraging a culture of life.
- Offering victims the opportunity to participate more fully in the criminal justice process.
- Encouraging innovative programs of restorative justice that provide the opportunity for mediation between victims and offenders and offer restitution for crimes committed.
- Insisting that punishment has a constructive and rehabilitative purpose.
- Encouraging Spiritual Healing and Renewal for those who commit crime.
- Making a serious commitment to confront the pervasive role of addiction and mental illness in crime.
- Treating immigrants justly.
- Placing crime in a community context and building on promising alternatives that empower neighborhoods and towns to restore a sense of security.
Key Dates for this year's school theme:
September 26th - School Theme assembly
March 11th - 15th - School Theme week