The Effects of Parental Incarceration: A Documentary Film

Presented by Resilience Beyond Incarceration, A Program of the Lamoille Restorative Center       

Downstream is a documentary about an individual and her agency’s partnerships to address the needs of children whose parents are incarcerated. As the viewer quickly learns, behind the otherwise picturesque landscape of Vermont lies considerable poverty. Although Vermont has a low incarceration rate compared to other states, the effects of imprisonment can be felt throughout communities: fifty percent of incarcerated Vermonters have children back at home.

Downstream focuses on both the challenges the program faces and the hope it provides, from individual mentoring to a relationship-based camping experience. Throughout the documentary, we hear the voices of the children, their parents, and various professionals. This includes the prosecutor who acknowledges that the legal system rarely sees the individuals involved, and that his role is often to “prosecute what’s on paper.” Likewise, we hear the case manager who describes herself as, “not in the business of telling people what to do,” but instead focuses her efforts on helping them to explore options.

Any professional working with at-risk children and teens will wish to see Downstream. Beyond the ideas that viewers can take away to apply elsewhere, it also shows the power that individuals can have when they unite around a common goal.

Here for our readers to view is Downstream’s trailer.

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