Drama in the Big House
News 12 gets a rare look behind the walls of one of America's most notorious maximum security prisons - Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining - where a unique theater program is giving hardened criminals a second chance at life.
For the first time in the program's 20-year history, family members of the prisoners were allowed inside to witness one of the productions come to life, and our cameras rolled on the emotional journey from practices to the big day when relatives reunited.
Is redemption truly possible for killers/rapists/drug dealers? Do they deserve this second lease at life? What are the advantages of this unique program called 'Rehabilitation Through the Arts'? We answer all those questions in this exclusive three-part investigation, as the concern over prison security and relationships between prisoners and staff is at an all-time high. Tune in starting at 5 p.m. on August 3 through August 5, only on News 12.
Part 1 - 'The Lion'
Shaquan committed an unthinkable crime against a younger sibling a decade ago and hasn't spoken to or seen his mother ever since... that is, until 'The Wizard of Oz' production was staged inside Sing Sing. We were there interviewing Shaquan when his mother surprised him with a visit. She showed a mother's love can break through any wall...even at a hulking maximum security prison. But how would he react to her after a decade of silence?
Part 2 - ' The Scarecrow'
Lawrence is the shooter behind the infamous 1990 movie theater massacre on Long Island, but says a life in the theater behind bars has left him a changed man. For the first time, this convicted killer opens up about the young life he cut short, his hopes for his own young children and the breakthrough arts program that transformed him.
Part 3- 'The Good Witch'
What would cause a wealthy, successful businesswoman from an affluent Westchester town to give up her lucrative marketing company and commit to a life serving hardened criminals behind bars? We examine the motivation behind 'Rehabilitation through the Arts' and why studies suggest it's a powerful tool in cutting down the high recidivist rates that plague New York state.