Criminal Justice • Restorative Justice • Sociology
Education • Human Rights • American Studies
2017. Director & Producer Richard O’Connell and Annelise Wunderlich. Producer Linda Peckham.
55 Minutes. Transcript Available.

THE CORRIDOR shows the inner-workings and challenges of San Francisco’s Five Keys Charter School − the first high school of its kind in the United States that provides incarcerated adults the opportunity to earn a high school diploma to prepare them for successful reintegration into their communities. Designed upon the premise that the key to reintegration is education, Five Keys Charter School strives to create alternatives to the revolving door of incarceration. Enrollment is mandatory for all incarcerated adults who never received a high school diploma. In addition to classes that range from algebra to civics, the school also offers lessons in art and meditation. For many of the students, the experience validates their humanity. As these adults begin to think about turning their lives around, THE CORRIDOR invites viewers to ask: is education the first step along the pathway to restorative justice?

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Inside the nation’s first high school inside an adult jail.
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Reviews & Quotes

"When the San Francisco County Jail launched its Five Keys Charter School, it was more than an experiment. It has become a model for restorative justice.

The Corridor takes viewers down the halls of this unique learning environment – the first high school in the nation built inside an adult jail – and explores the enormous effort required to make it work. Inmates there who do not hold a high school diploma are automatically enrolled. They participate in a holistic learning experience designed to prepare them for re-entry into society – essential academic subjects alongside vocational training and group counseling. This educational approach has translated into lower recidivism and inspired correctional facilities throughout the country to make charter high schools a centerpiece of their rehabilitation programming.

Beyond detailing the school’s operation, The Corridor effectively captures the human impact of educating the imprisoned. From multiple vantage points – students, teachers, and correctional officers – the film probes the root causes of incarceration and their unrelenting grip. It profiles those who triumph as well as those who relapse.

Highly recommended for all libraries, The Corridor is an excellent resource for courses in education, criminal justice, and sociology."

The Corridor does not offer a rosy picture of the program or make sweeping claims of success. It does offer compelling profiles of those involved — teachers and corrections officers as well as students. [...] Near the end of The Corridor is a metaphorical shot — prisoners in orange jumpsuits separated by bars from the black graduation gowns they are about to don. Their lessons in overcoming hopelessness have paid off."

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