Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Director Lisa Cohen's gritty yet heartfelt documentary Serving Life takes viewers inside one of the most brutal of all U.S. prisons, the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. It's a maximum security facility conceived and designed for violent offenders, and most residents end up serving sentences in excess of 90 years - which means that 85% of them die behind bars. Intriguingly, though, a wellspring of compassion exists inside of the prison, which forms the narrative basis of Cohen's film. This is a hospice program, where jaded, seemingly unreachable criminals are assigned to care for fellow inmates on the prisoners' deathbeds. The result is often a journey of personal and spiritual transcendence that may give participants the only conceivable possibility of rehabilitation.
hospice, imprisonment, life-sentence, maximum-security, prison