Hard Road Home tells the story of Julio Medina and the Exodus Transitional Community (ETC), the center he created to help ex-offenders navigate the transition from prison to life on the outside. ETC is situated above a storefront church in the East Harlem section of New York City. It was founded and is run by ex-offenders for ex-offenders. By following the lives of its director Medina and three ex-offenders as they prepare to leave prison, Hard Road Home will provide a unique and unprecedented look at the staggering challenges ex-offenders face when they return to citizenship with a resumé and a record that make it nearly impossible to survive without returning to a life of crime.
At the age of 19, Julio Medina was arrested for dealing drugs. He did 12 years for the crime and, during those years, experienced the worst that prison life has to offer. By chance, he also encountered one of the more extraordinary educational opportunities available in the American prison system - the New York Theological Seminary Masters Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Medina says the program gave him more than he can name - his education, his faith, his vocation, his life back. When Medina was released from prison and found himself facing overwhelming obstacles to reintegration, he knew that, if he made it, he was going to commit his life to helping the thousands who faced the same challenge every day - most of whom return to prison within five years of their release. Since he founded ETC in 1999, Medina has helped one person after another acquire the skills and the faith they need to build a life for themselves apart.
Hard Road Home premiered at South by Southwest and was broadcast on Independent Lens in 2007.