January 25, 2023

Watch: Documentary explores pre-pandemic program enabling video visits with loved ones on Rikers

A documentary released online for the first time on Gothamist examines a unique program at the Brooklyn Public Library that enabled relatives of people incarcerated on Rikers Island to visit their loved ones via video.

The short film from Field of Vision and Firelight Media, titled “Video Visit,” was shot in 2017 and 2018 and was previously shown in film festivals. It opens by laying out the difficulty of visiting loved ones at Rikers because of the jails’ relative inaccessibility via public transportation, invasive security practices and frequent visit cancellations due to lockdowns. It focuses on one mother and her jailed son, illustrating how family separation is inherent in incarceration.

“The fact that it is so hard to visit Rikers — there’s a violence in that,” said director Malika Zouhali-Worrall. Even the Brooklyn Public Library program was imperfect, she said, because “human touch was lost.”

Read more at Gothamist.

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