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Rebound 2021


Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Tamara Perkins and Jason Ritchie
Directed by Tamara Perkins and Jason Ritchie
Streaming, 58 mins

College - General Adult
Higher Education; Incarceration; Rehabilitation

Date Entered: 09/12/2022

Reviewed by Erica Swenson Danowitz, Chat Reference Librarian –Pennsylvania’s Chat with a Librarian (CWAL), Independent Contractor at Hosting Solutions & Library Consulting (HSLC); Retired Professor/Reference Librarian, Delaware County Community College

This short documentary features the personal and academic lives of two previously incarcerated women from different generations. These women participated in Project Rebound, a program that assists formerly imprisoned students in applying, enrolling, and graduating with a degree from San Diego State University. The senior of the two women, Laura, has been jailed more than once for different offenses but within four years of being paroled has obtained an advanced degree and has been admitted to a doctoral program. The younger student, Bella, struggles with motherhood, completing her college assignments, and the trauma she continues to suffer from her conviction of felony assault that separated her from her young children. Portions of this documentary were also filmed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic which further complicated the academic and personal lives of these individuals.

According to the research center, The Sentencing Project, the number of women incarcerated in the United States has increased by more than 475% and since 1980 that rate has risen at a rate 50% higher than men (Laura highlights these statistics in a scene where she visits her former prison, the Las Colinas Detention Facility, with Bella to recruit women inmates for the Project Rebound program. She informs the audience that in the California prison system, “Women are being locked up more now, that’s the highest population.” The two women encourage women inmates to “get it together,” focus on their futures, and consider applying for the Project Rebound program to improve their prospects so that they, as Laura states, “don’t get caught up in this system that’s being designed against you.”

Rebound offers an encouraging story of hope and rehabilitation. It allows the viewer to learn about these inspirational women’s stories and the trauma they encountered. These women experienced extreme stress, feelings of dehumanization, and despair while behind bars but they both surmounted many obstacles. In addition, this movie provides a great message related to the power of believing in and supporting others. This documentary could have presented a little more information about the two featured women and the inmates they visit. What classes did these individuals take? How did Bella, who at one point in the film, appeared to miss a lot of classes and fall behind in her coursework, manage to graduate and move on to a master’s program? Did any of the inmates who attended the presentations by these two women enroll in Project Rebound? A "Rebound Part Two" that revisits these individuals in a few years would make an excellent sequel.

Rebound is recommended for both college and advanced high school levels. It might also inspire individuals struggling to find motivation or who might feel unsure about their futures because of past mistakes. This film is available for internal use, with a public screening license, and with a public fundraiser license. Rebound could be screened during a class lecture or assigned as homework. It would support many academic courses including criminal justice, education, sociology, psychology, trauma studies, and women’s studies.

Published and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Anyone can use these reviews, so long as they comply with the terms of the license.