The United States has the highest prison population in the world. Over 2.25 million people are incarcerated, with an additional 5 million on parole or probation; two-thirds of those released from prison will return behind bars within three years. Released, directed by tonight’s guest Philip F. Messina, follows the stories of four parolees who prove that the implacable tide of recidivism can be reversed–under the right circumstances.

Released is based on the Off-Broadway play The Castle, developed from the real life stories of Vilma Ortiz Donovan, Kenneth Harrigan, Casimiro Torres and Angel Ramos, who combined spent over 70 years in prison. After leaving prison with no homes to go to and no jobs for support, they found a unique program known as “The Castle”, a 62-bed reentry facility run by former prisoners in New York City.