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The Prison Within

United States

by Katherin Hervey & Massimo Bardetti

Published September 2023

These photographs were taken inside San Quentin Prison during the filming of The Prison Within documentary; contrasting the healing and community created by the men inside, with the cruelty and isolation of mass incarceration. 

Prisons represent the darkest parts of ourselves, where we lock away that which is most difficult to confront—the poor, the addicted, the other, anybody or anything that slightly threatens our sense of safety.

Using trauma-informed restorative justice models based in accountability and compassion, the men pictured here — Sam J., Eddie, H., Michael N., Nate C., Phoeun Y., and Barry S. — are showing us another way. Their courage and commitment to healing and forgiveness reveal how every one of us, on both sides of the wall, can break out of our own personal prisons.

Katherine Hervey

Katherin Hervey is an artist and award-winning filmmaker interested in what is hiding in the dark crevices of the American landscape and collective psyches, believing truth is found in the dark before it shines in the light. Her first feature film, The Prison Within, won eight awards. A thought leader in criminal justice reform, Katherin has been featured in various media publications. Her mixed media artworks and creative fiction have been showcased in galleries and literary journals.

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