the released

Discussion Questions


Note to Teachers: You may wish to give these questions to students prior to watching the film and invite them to supply answers as they watch, stopping the tape as needed.


  • Why do you think there are so many mentally ill people in the criminal justice system? Why do you think so many offenders in the criminal justice system are mentally ill?
  • How would you define a "successful" release from prison?
  • According to those who work with the prison population, what factors should exist to ensure a "successful" release from prison?
  • Why do you think there is such a high rate of recidivism (repetition of criminal behavior) for offenders with mental illnesses?
  • What were the deinstitutionalization policies of the 1970s?
  • Identify at least two arguments in favor of deinstitutionalization.
  • Identify at least two arguments against deinstitutionalization.
  • Why do you think that so many mentally ill offenders find themselves homeless after their release from prison?
  • How does being homeless impact their mental health care?
  • What factors account for William Stokes having stayed out of jail for seven months while Jerry Tharp, Lynn Moore, Keith Williams and Bennie Anthony were all re-arrested within a few months of their release from prison?
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