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The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and Shine Global bring you a screening of "Virtually Free." This documentary is about unlikely allies in Richmond, VA who partner to transform the juvenile justice system and stop mass incarceration.

RSVP at this link to join us for a live Panel on Friday, January 29th at 4pmET.

Every year about 300,000 kids are confined in youth detention in the US, limiting their potential to succeed in life.

- 70-80% will be re-arrested within 2 or 3 years of being released

- Nearly ⅔ will never complete high school.

Richmond, Virginia’s families, police, judges, artists, and activists have united to change this in their own community. 

Virtually Free is a documentary about unlikely allies who partner to transform the juvenile justice system and stop mass incarceration. Produced by the non-profit media company Shine Global, Virtually Free is directed by André Robert Lee

In the film, we meet Sid, Taee, and AR, three teens currently being held in a Richmond, VA detention center who are offered the chance to become activists speaking truth to power. Participating in a local arts organizations’ program, Performing Statistics, they are taught by different artists to deliver their powerful, authentic messages to the public, law enforcement, and government officials using their art, including a virtual reality jail cell they’ve helped create. 

We also hear from Richmond police officers, including Richmond Chief of Police Alfred Durham. He’s requiring all officers to go through a special training that incorporates the VR jail cell experience the teens created. We meet the first officers in the rookie police class as they go through the training, and hear them reflect on how it relates to their new job.

Virtually Free ultimately looks at how a community can work together to create a city that is livable for all its citizens and the challenges they face in doing so. Knowing that youth in trouble need education, guidance, and a network of support to get back on track, Richmond’s families, police, judges, artists, and activists are trying to work together to empower teens. 

  • Year
  • Runtime
    40 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    André Robert Lee
  • Producer
    Susan MacLaury, Alexandra Blaney
  • Executive Producer
    Albie Hecht, Hiry West, Dawn Porter
  • Co-Producer
    Charlie Sadoff, Graham Raubvogel
  • Cinematographer
    Brendan Hall
  • Editor
    Nick Clark
  • Animator
    Whitney Hudson
  • Music
    Rick Witkowski