At a time when many Americans are demanding harsher penalties for convicted criminals, the question of how better to bring felons who have served their time back into the community has largely gone unanswered. In California, it is estimated that more than half of all prisoners released on parole will wind up back behind bars -- and most of them will do so within three months. Filmmaker Goro Toshima explores this dilemma in A Hard Straight, a documentary in which he follows the progress of three prisoners released on parole who find themselves balancing the pleasures of freedom with the challenges and responsibilities of starting a new life, and the temptations of falling back into the habits which led them into a life of crime in the first place. A Hard Straight was screened at the 2004 South by Southwest Film Festival.
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