POV/PBS National Broadcast / Netflix / Tribeca Premiere

In 2012, California amended its "Three Strikes" law — one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Prop. 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of "lifers" was underway. THE RETURN examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines — prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law.


Directed, Written and produced by Kelly Duane de la Vega & Katie Galloway
Produced by Ariella Ben Dov
Executive Producer Anne Devereaux-Mills
Edited & Written by Greg O’Toole
Cinematography Mario Furloni


"Duane de la Vega and Galloway excel at maneuvering around complicated stories and finding the humanity underneath."
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

"The Return...opens up a world that most of society doesn't want to think about but should."
Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

"Bilal Chatman's...story of redemption is possibly the most heartwarming thing I've seen all year...The Return will take you on a roller coaster of emotion."
Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones


  • Won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Tribeca Film Festival
  • Nominated for a National Emmy for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary
  • Finalist for the 2017 Peabody Award
  • Won the Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary at SFIFF