Hard Road Home

Odds are that if you go to prison and are lucky enough to get out, you’ll be going back some time soon. When Julio Medina was incarcerated, he was a drug-dealing gang leader who ought to have died countless times. When he was freed 12 years later, he was a changed man. Upon his release from prison, Julio committed himself to being a different kind of leader – helping people live, instead of making people die. He created Exodus Transitional Community, a program in Harlem dedicated to breaking the cycle of incarceration that ensnares so many people of color on the streets of New York. The trick to Exodus is that its staff knows firsthand what it’s like to go to jail. They’re ex-cons – a badass group of do-gooders who are reaching their clients like no one could who hasn’t walked a mile in prison shoes.

Throughout HARD ROAD HOME, the characters aspire to freedom and security “on the outside,” while grappling with the constant challenges posed by poverty, racism, addiction, peer pressure, suspicion, the immediate needs of loved ones, and the relentlessness of rage, despair, and the desire to escape. Just when things look good, someone you’ve come to care about falls apart. Just when you have given up hope, someone beats the odds and hangs in. This is life at Exodus. HARD ROAD HOME represents the extraordinary amount of energy, resources and strength of character required to turn the fate around of one person born poor on the American street.

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HARD ROAD HOME premiered at SXSW Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens

2009 Emmy Nominee - Best Long Form Documentary