At once insightful and disturbing, THE RELEASED examines the high rate of recidivism amongst mentally ill prisoners. The powerful documentary looks at both the effect of incarceration on these individuals, and the consequences and challenges they face when released back into society.
This year, hundreds of thousands of prisoners with serious mental illnesses will be released into communities across America, the largest exodus in the nation's history. Typically, mentally ill offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 and two weeks worth of medication. Within 18 months, nearly two-thirds are re-arrested. In this follow-up to the groundbreaking film "The New Asylums," FRONTLINE examines what happens to the mentally ill when they leave prison and why they return at such alarming rates. The intimate stories of the released — along with interviews with parole officers, social workers and psychiatrists — provide a rare look at the lives of the mentally ill as they struggle to stay out of prison and reintegrate into society.