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Aimee's Crossing

Format: 1 x 52
Broadcaster(s):  PBS
Available in HD

In the U.S., female juvenile offenders have the fastest growing rates of incarceration, yet media access to their stories is extremely limited because they are minors. However, the Governor of Illinois granted veteran documentary filmmaker Tod Lending (Nomadic Pictures) unprecedented access to a female juvenile correctional facility outside Chicago in order to tell this story.

In this layered character study, Lending focuses on Aimee Myers through her incarcerations and releases. Lending has filmed her therapy sessions, parole board reviews, and staff case meetings. He examines how the juvenile justice system contends with her history of domestic and sexual abuse, substance abuse, and mental health issues (she is diagnosed as bipolar). The film is unique in its comprehensive presentation of the justice system’s attempt to enforce punishment, yet assist youthful wrongdoers in finding a productive path. The successes and failures of this system are exposed throughout the story. By focusing only on Aimee, Lending achieves a level of depth and intimacy that could not be achieved by focusing on multiple characters.

Aimee’s distinctive voice, and the multiplicity of issues that her story embodies (mental health, abuse, addiction, family dysfunction, education, juvenile criminal justice), provide viewers with deeper insights and understandings of why some young women’s lives lead them to prison.

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