Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, "The Work" follows three men from the outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. "The Work" offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.
Dark Cloud is a member of “The Skins” or the Native American Brotherhood (NAB), which unites all Native Americans inside the prison system. For the last several years in group, Dark Cloud has struggled with the space between his impulse to perpetrate violence on any perceived emotional threat and his obligation to protect his brothers from the very real threats of the yard. In the hopes of finding this balance, he and the other NABs walk the “The Red Road”; a common set of overlapping beliefs and principles held by all Indigenous Americans in prison.
Rick was once known as on the yard by names such as “Crazy Snake” and “The Painted King”, a patch-holder of a motorcycle club on the outside who became a ranking member and white supremacist of the Aryan Brotherhood on the inside. Patrick Nolan, the inmate responsible for starting the groups inside approached Rick when no one else would go near him and sat beside him. Pat told him that he knew exactly what he was feeling because he’d been there and if Rick needed to hit someone to feel better, he volunteered. Impressed, Rick became one of the first convicts to join the circles and he’s been there ever since.