These photographs accompany an article I wrote for Gothamist (“Photo Essay: 10 Hours On A Bus With Newly Released Prisoners,” by Amy Finkel) about my time on a bus traveling from Upstate, New York, to Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, with a group of recently released prisoners. The article explores various aspects of the justice system as well as issues with prison re-entry and recidivism, all told via first-person interviews. After the experience, I began working on a feature length documentary about rehabilitation in prisons.

The feature article and photo essay was shared by many journalists, including Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s Lockup, Gizmodo, and the Huffington Post, as well as numerous organizations involved in prison reform. The article was also picked as one of that year’s best by Gothamist (“The Best Of Gothamist, 2014,” by Christopher Robbins).

“After three hours we stopped at a roadside deli. They’d each been given a $40 stipend along with their discharge outfits, and they were thrilled to be able to freely buy whatever they wanted. Perspective roars when you watch a man relish sunflower seeds, his favorite food, for the first time in nine years. The same can be said for watching a parolee play with an iPhone, a device that simply didn’t exist when he was imprisoned.

The first thing my new friends searched for on my phone was Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance with Robin Thicke. They, too, were unimpressed; it was much tamer than they expected. They also used my phone to call some friends. Hours later I would receive a message from someone who identified himself as Fat Man, and another from a mother inquiring about her son’s safety, and if he’d caught the correct connecting bus.”

August 28, 2013 / Bus traveling from Upstate, New York to Port Authority Bus Terminal, NYC