© 2019 annasteenson

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TO THE LOSS OF FREEDOM

Crossroad of Iowa's mission is to give a voice to the voiceless. They strive to give incarcerated individuals marginalized by society a second chance. Crossroads of Iowa is a volunteer-based organization and they need financial donations in order to develop more programs for the jail and halfway house. I volunteered to create this video for Crossroads of Iowa in order to share the voices of the inmates and to also help raise awareness about Crossroad of Iowa and in turn, help raise more funds for the organization so they can continue to make an impact in the Des Moines community. 

The United States is one of the world’s leading countries in incarceration rates. Statistically, Iowa has one of the highest drug incarceration rates in the nation and the cycle of recidivism has been found to be mostly perpetuated by an increase in drug-related crimes. The prisons are overflowing and recidivism rates are increasing. There are systemic issues at play, but Crossroads of Iowa is working to help the people who are most vulnerable to recidivism cycles. It is easy to overlook people marginalized by society and through this project, I hope to heighten awareness of the social issue.

 

This video is created in two parts. Since gaining access to film inside of the jail was out of the question, I found a different way to share the voices of the inmates. The first portion of the video is a poem I created from the writings of the inmates in the Polk County Jail. I took key phrases from the inmates' reflections and writing to create a narrative that could help tell their story. I also filmed streets of Des Moines as the background for the video poem. The second portion of the video is an educational component which explains the structure of recidivism and drug-related incarceration on both the state and national levels.