How to Prepare for Prison

‘How to Prepare for Prison’ focuses on the lives of three vastly different people who are steeling themselves against the daunting prospect of serving prison sentences for the very first time. Shot over three years, the film captures their growing psychological trauma as their children and families face poverty and social shame, and the individuals charged face their fears about violence in prison and whether or not they can survive the loss of freedom. All three experience protracted waits for their trials and, whether they’ve really done the crime or not, feel the enormous power of the law. The film goes beyond the notion of guilt or innocence. By offering an intimate look at the lives and states of mind of those awaiting judgement—filled with regret, defiance and stark fear—it deepens our understanding of the legal system and cultural ideas about crime and punishment. The stakes are high. Lives are changed forever.


  • Year: 2016
  • Duration: 83 & 58 mins
  • Production: Cornelia Principe, Matt Gallagher
  • Director: Matt Gallagher
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: Canada



  • Calgary International Film Festival (Canada), Windsor International Film festival (Canada), HotDocs (Canada), Docs MX (Mexico),

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