Since 2012, several correctional institutions in the Greater Montreal area have hosted the RIDM’s two-part cultural outreach program. The first visit involves a screening of a documentary from a previous edition of the festival, followed by a discussion with a member of the film’s crew. The second part is a critical writing workshop led by an expert facilitator. These activities give inmates the opportunity to learn more about the different steps in making a film, but above all such initiatives expose them to interesting cultural material at a time when they are largely cut off from the world. This program encourages the inmates to reflect, develop their critical thinking skills and open their minds to different ways of seeing the world.
These activities are supported by the Quebec chapter of the Elizabeth Fry Society and Médiations culturelles MTL program, thanks to the 'Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal' between the Ville de Montréal and Quebec government. To learn more about RIDM in Prison, you can read the article published by Culture pour tous, Le documentaire à travers les murs, and Martin Bilodeau’s article in Le Devoir (in French only).
Here are some of the pieces the inmates wrote during the writing workshops at Leclerc (women) and Montreal's (men) detention centers :
Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshops did not take place in 2020, in 2021, nor in 2022.