John Horn, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, leads a panel discussion after the movie Released was shown at the Rialto Center for the Arts, Atlanta. (John Disney/ALM)
Horn’s office commissioned the film, which his announcement said “explores the challenges faced by returning citizens when they are released from prison and reflects upon how they continue to pay for the mistakes of their past while still holding out hope for the future.”
Horn, Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia State University hosted the premiere of the movie downtown last week at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Deal spoke before the show started and sat down with his wife to watch it. Horn led a panel discussion afterward with some of the people who appeared in the movie—”returning citizens” and advocates working to help them. The film noted that more than 95 percent of people in prison eventually return to private life and need jobs and housing to help them avoid going back.
The second screening will be Monday at 6:00 p.m., 12Stone Church, 1322 Buford Highway in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The 12Stone Church screening will focus on the employment, mental health, substance abuse and housing barriers related to successful reentry in Gwinnett County. “Join us for dinner, networking, and resources for currently incarcerated loved ones or formerly incarcerated individuals, immediately followed by a screening of the film and panel discussion,” Horn’s office said in a news release Friday.
The newly formed Metro Atlanta Reentry Coalition and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office will join Horn’s office in hosting the event. It’s free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Additional screenings are planned around the state and the country, and Horn said he is hoping to do more. Frank Fernandez of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation presented a $15,000 grant at the premier for the reentry group, meant to support more screenings. In the process, he mentioned that returning citizens have helped build the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We want this movie to be the start of a conversation,” Horn said.