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ANATOMY of an Act 

Excerpt   

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This is an act from an episode of Judgment Day, a documentary about the parole system in the United States. We profiled three inmates who were up for parole and intercut their scenes. The goal is to give each character depth,while advancing the overall narrative.  

The first inmate, James Sturman murdered his young wife.  It was a horrible crime. He served out his original sentence and was released, only to violate his parole and return to prison.  Life on the outside was hard and his short scene captures that experience. Next is Josh Buckles, who was sentenced to serve his time in a highly-structured boot camp.

At his parole hearing Buckles admits to beating his fiancé and young son.  His grandmother believes that he is on the road to redemption.  But there are complications.

Finally we dip into a scene with Jordan Epperson, the proverbial boy next door. Epperson, a former heroin addict, struggles to explain his case to a tough-minded parole officer.  

 

These stories draw you in and eventually pay big dividends at the end of the documentary.   

 

Many thanks to director Joe Berlinger and editor Dave Marcus. 

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