Inside the nation’s first high school in an adult jail


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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | SF FILM CRITICS AWARD - Mill Valley Film Festival | Featured at the 2019 Harvard Black Policy Conference

Criminal Justice • Restorative Justice • Sociology • Education • Human Rights • American Studies

Date of Completion: 2017 | Run Time: 55 minutes​​ | Language: English | Captions: No | Includes: Transcript & Community Discussion Guide | Directors: Richard O’Connell & Annelise Wunderlich | Producers: Richard O’Connell, Annelise Wunderlich & Linda Peckham

THE CORRIDOR shows the inner-workings and challenges of San Francisco’s Five Keys Charter School − the first high school of its kind in the United States that provides incarcerated adults the opportunity to earn a high school diploma to prepare them for successful reintegration into their communities. Designed upon the premise that the key to reintegration is education, Five Keys Charter School strives to create alternatives to the revolving door of incarceration. Enrollment is mandatory for all incarcerated adults who never received a high school diploma. In addition to classes that range from algebra to civics, the school also offers lessons in art and meditation. For many of the students, the experience validates their humanity. As these adults begin to think about turning their lives around, THE CORRIDOR invites viewers to ask: is education the first step along the pathway to restorative justice?

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Margaret M. Reed, Riley-Hickingbotham Library, Ouachita Baptist University
"When the San Francisco County Jail launched its Five Keys Charter School, it was more than an experiment. It has become a model for restorative justice.

The Corridor takes viewers down the halls of this unique learning environment – the first high school in the nation built inside an adult jail – and explores the enormous effort required to make it work. Inmates there who do not hold a high school diploma are automatically enrolled. They participate in a holistic learning experience designed to prepare them for re-entry into society – essential academic subjects alongside vocational training and group counseling. This educational approach has translated into lower recidivism and inspired correctional facilities throughout the country to make charter high schools a centerpiece of their rehabilitation programming.

Beyond detailing the school’s operation, The Corridor effectively captures the human impact of educating the imprisoned. From multiple vantage points – students, teachers, and correctional officers – the film probes the root causes of incarceration and their unrelenting grip. It profiles those who triumph as well as those who relapse.

Highly recommended for all libraries, The Corridor is an excellent resource for courses in education, criminal justice, and sociology."

The Boston Globe Peter Keough, Globe Correspondent
"The Corridor does not offer a rosy picture of the program or make sweeping claims of success. It does offer compelling profiles of those involved — teachers and corrections officers as well as students. [...] Near the end of The Corridor is a metaphorical shot — prisoners in orange jumpsuits separated by bars from the black graduation gowns they are about to don. Their lessons in overcoming hopelessness have paid off."

Download the Community Discussion Guide


Director & Producer of THE CORRIDOR 

Richard O’Connell is an Emmy ® award-winning Filmmaker, creative producer and educator. Richard worked for 15 years as Head of Production at the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and later as Senior Producer of National Productions. His work has appeared on national television in the U.S, and has been released theatrically and exhibited at major film festivals. Additionally, Richard has worked as a journalist, freelance editor, cinematographer, and lectures at Berkeley City College. He is currently producing a series of 40 short documentary on Integrative Health and Wellbeing.


Director & Producer of THE CORRIDOR

Annelise Wunderlich is a filmmaker and media educator. She is Executive Producer for the Education department at KQED, and the YouTube series Above the Noise, and has produced educational content for the Emmy® award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens, and other PBS programs and non-profits. She also coordinated the refugee program at Amnesty International USA and has a dual masters degree in Journalism and Latin American Studies from University of California, Berkeley.