Bismarck corrections, law enforcement officials view 'Beyond the Wall,' a film to change prison patterns

BISMARCK, N.D. - Often prisons and jails become revolving doors for people battling addictions. The journey to a new life after incarceration can be difficult.

People in North Dakota and beyond are working to change that.

Pictures and characters in the film "Beyond the Wall," that takes place in Massachusetts, display the struggle that many ex-convicts face when released from jail or prison.

It was played in Bismarck Thursday, to corrections and law enforcement officials. The film is being shared nationwide by a man in the film who has been in their shoes.

"It's been quite a journey, and I'm excited that I've been given a second chance, and I thank people that give people second chances," said Louie Diaz, central character in "Beyond the Wall"

Louie Diaz is a former addict and convict who now works to connect people to resources to overcome addiction, and break the cycle. He says it can't be done alone.

"it's helpful working with these guys cause it kind of connects me with them because they can relate to me," said Diaz.

Cathy Short and Adam Martin are doing similar work in the area.

They have also spent time behind bars. They say inmates need more addiction treatment and mentoring.

"Getting on TV and saying you're a felon, people react to that and it had a pretty good impact so loved ones of people who are in prison, people who are in prison are reaching out," said Adam Martin, F5 project founder

"You got to be ready to make a change and that's what they were talking about here people in the prison system, people in jail, people in prisons, they have to want to and if they have that support and the resources they will change," said Kathy Short, judicial outreach coordinator.

These mentors say connecting convicts with resources to place them in jobs, find them housing and keep them clean, can make the difference between a prison stay being simply punishment rather than recovery.

The film took five years to make and was completed about a year ago.