Last night I went to a viewing of another Rhode Island documentary “Stronger than their walls, Guilty although proven Innocent.” This documentary was produced by the Family Life Center. (The FLC is a non profit organization whose purpose is to support the reintegration of ex-offenders into the community. ) The FLC did play a role in my film “Happy Endings?” as they testified against the prostitution law.
This film was very interesting, and sad. Of course I am interested in social justice documentaries, but in particular the oddities of Rhode Island laws.
“Keeping the Peace.” That is what struck me about this film. There is one man who was sent to prison for seven years, although he was found innocent on the charge of assault, just having a charge was enough to send him to prison. The judge said that even though he did not assault any one, as a man on parole he is mandated to “keep the peace”. This man, who I would say is a victim of RI’s draconian laws, was just trying to get some neighborhood teens off his property. These teens had set fires and harassed his children. He did not push or slap the kids. He told them to go away. (At his violation hearing many neighbors testified on his behalf) I think asking neighborhood bullies to leave with out violence is keeping the peace.
This film is having more local showings, and I urge everyone to see it. After you see the film please call, email, or write your representative. The film while bill H7495/53014 was being voted on. As you will see in the film, the bill is passed but vetoed by the Governor. Please urge your Senate and House Representative to over ride the Governor’s veto.