What first began as a sense of helplessness, turned into a driving motivation to avert the human cost of incarceration and keep families together.
As a young woman, Rebecca Grace watched helplessly as a close family member was denied desperately needed drug rehab and was instead sent to prison for a drug-related crime. The situation was all too common, but the outrage of such backward problem-solving followed her for a decade.
A filmmaker and storyteller at heart, she decided to use the power of storytelling to introduce more context into the legal process. Rebecca, her husband John and their daughter began traveling on weekends to interview defendants awaiting sentencing and their families on camera.
REBECCA INTERVIEWING DAISY
Across the board, interviewees expressed a deep sense of powerlessness and an overwhelming feeling of being voiceless in our current system.
They often broke down and cried when conveying how appreciative they felt knowing that at last there was this small chance that their full stories and circumstances would be conveyed to the court.
While it was a hardship on many levels for Rebecca and her family to travel so much and to dedicate so much time to helping these families, with each new story it became increasingly clear that there was an urgent necessity for the humanizing video portraits they were creating.
As a non-profit organization, they can focus on creating these videos for underprivileged people who otherwise would not have access to this resource. While it is not their primary mission to save the government money, one important by-product of the reduced sentences is substantial savings to taxpayers, -- money that is much better spent on education, drug rehabilitation, housing for homeless and mental health care.
A year later, Rebecca and John were overjoyed to discover that their first six videos were instrumental in achieving a collective prison time reduction of 235 months for the six defendants. Realizing just how effective and powerful these video portraits are in giving judges the information and confidence to proceed with more humane sentencing, Rebecca and John founded Complete Picture.