This “Spaces” segment is dedicated to the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in New York City. I spent several weeks documenting and witnessing first hand the critical work this non-profit organization performs, touching the lives of those returning from prison, their families and society at large.

Each year, more than 700K men and women are released from prison in the United States. They return to communities across the country, often ill-prepared for the challenges they will face re-entering society. Sadly, many do not succeed and are re-incarcerated within just a few years. The challenges to successfully re-entering society can be overwhelming, but perhaps the most daunting is finding employment. Men and Women with criminal records have difficulty in finding employment and many employers are reluctant to hire people with criminal convictions. Not having a job could mean the difference between making the transition to a stable, productive life or resorting to crime and returning to prison.

Like so many other cities and towns across America, New York sees thousands of men and women return home from prison each year. But New York has long benefited from a unique resource in the Center for Employment Opportunities – or CEO.

The actual documentary I worked on profiling CEO was never completed. Around the time I got to the first draft, the leadership at the funding agency changed and I believe they didn’t have the same sympathetic view on justice reform, so there was no more talk about the documentary. I was paid, but there was no release party or screening.

I took the creative footage and made a short piece and paired it with the electric violin from Wytold, a DC based musician.

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