POV: The Return

About This Episode


In 2012, California amended its “Three Strikes” law — one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Proposition 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers” was underway.

The Return examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines — prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law. At a moment of reckoning on mass incarceration, what can California’s experiment teach the nation?