Jamaican Film company tackles Caribbean prison documentary

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Local independent film company, Real Entertainment Production (REP), is attempting to wade through red tape to shoot a Caribbean prison documentary that will showcase the hardships that Caribbean nationals face in institutions across the region, Jamaica’s Star reports.

REP boss and film producer Andrew Pryce will direct the documentary, which he hopes to showcase at a film festival or distribute directly via the Internet.

“Caribbean countries have some of the highest incarceration rates, 15 are former British Caribbean colonies or current ones where high levels of violence are partly to blame, but there are other factors, like the criminalisation of cannabis use and harsh sentencing laws which often lead to overcrowding in prison buildings,” he said.

He said the dirty, crowded prisons add to the misery of inmates, many of whom were impoverished before they turned to crime.

“All of this makes for a fascinating case study which we want to travel across the Caribbean to shoot,” he said.

It’s the second time Pryce will be tackling this subject as he had directed a short prison documentary in 2009, dubbed Columbia Prisons and released straight to DVD.

A release sent from REP managing director Karl Whyte, supported the documentary.

“We need to highlight the problems and seek solutions, not just to blame the system, but to sensetise the society to the fact that that prison is not a place of choice regardless, said Mr Whyte.

Sharon Sayles Belton, an American human rights activist, also pledged her support to the venture.

“This is a great opportunity for lawmakers to get an inside look and a different view on what life is like incarcerated and come up with

better ways to improve humans and really push rehabilitation,” she said.

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