Over 70 people gathered at the George Mason University auditorium in Arlington October 20th to view a new documentary film, “In Your Hands.” The film, which follows two young people through the difficult journey back from incarceration, tells it like it is: there is typically no straight line between coming out of prison and becoming a law-abiding, productive citizen. Second and third chances to get it right are usually required. OAR was featured as a place where returning citizens can get help in that journey.

Xavier and Kim have different life stories. He grew up in DC, homeless at age 13. Kim sought love from the wrong crowd in Arlington. Both have drug abuse problems. Both have been in and out of jail. Their stories certainly reflect bad choices that they have made. But their stories also reflect bad choices that our society continues to make.

Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur moderated a lively discussion following the film, raising questions about why so many people are sent to prison in the first place, and what are the new, innovative approaches that are being tested with those on probation to offer positive incentives, not simply negative consequences. Other panel members included former Arlington Judge Dorothy Clarke, George Mason University Professor Danielle S Rudes, and OAR Executive Director Gail Arnall.

OAR is especially grateful to Aramark™ for sponsoring the reception prior to screening the film. Aramark™ provides food for the inmates in the Arlington County Detention Facility. They also train individuals in food preparation and provide Serve Safe accreditation so that the individuals can find jobs once they leave the facility.

Check out the following website to view the film trailer and hear from Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and OAR’s Executive Director Gail Arnall, among others, who speak of the role the community has in supporting returning citizens: http://inyourhandsdocumentary.com

If your faith community or civic organization would like to view the film, please be in touch with Gail Arnall at garnall@oaronline.org.