Fite Film
School to Prison Pipeline

FITE Film Features Prison to University Success Stories

“Inmates can rise above their criminal records.” This is the beautiful message of FITE film, which premiered at the University of California, Berkeley on October 12.

FITE (From Incarceration to Education) is a documentary that narrates the way to success in higher education of four previously incarcerated UC Berkeley students.

FITE FILM: Success Stories of Ex-Prisoners

Fite FilmThe documentary is produced by alumna Skylar Economy and co-produced by Tristan Caro, Clarence Ford, Sheila Wagner and another alumnus Christian Collins.

It follows the stories of:

  1. Clarence Ford – a first-year master’s candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy and one of the co-producers of the documentary
  2. Ph.D. student David Maldonado
  3. undergraduate Shalita Williams
  4. undergraduate Richard Rodriguez-Leon

These people share one thing in common: they did not let their previous criminal records hinder their educational aspirations.

Producers of the film hope that FITE can be shown in county jails, juvenile detention centers and prisons across the state and even beyond.

Ultimately, they want to inspire other inmates that they too can achieve something great in their life despite their past.

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Ford, who had spent three years in prison, wondered how he might have reacted if he had seen a movie such as FITE at some point during his incarceration.

He said:

“It would have had a big impact. It would have had me thinking differently.”

Today, Ford is taking his master’s degree and dreams of becoming a policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Justice. He also aspires to help other previously incarcerated individuals live a better life.

UC Berkeley Supports Previously Incarcerated Students

FiteFITE is just one of UC Berkeley’s initiatives to support previously incarcerated students.

Economy and her colleagues are also building an online resources network to help incarcerated individuals as they transition back to the society.

To achieve this, they have teamed up with mentorship and advocacy organizations including the Berkeley Underground Scholars and Root & Rebound.

Melanie Macinas holds a BS degree in Computer Science. She found her passion for writing when she took a content writing position for a BPO company. In 2011, she started her freelancing career as a writer and since then has successfully completed several writing projects for US/UK clients. She now writes news stories for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.