The 3,000 Project

Do formerly violent offenders deserve a second chance after serving their time?

Project type: Documentary Feature
Project status: Production
Director/Producer: Keith McQuirter
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In one of the most incarcerated states in the nation, hanging in the balance are 3,000 men and women in the Wisconsin prison system lost between two changing parole laws, creating an of inferno of activism and debate from the high offices of government to the streets of Milwaukee, as the state grapples with solutions to curb its alarming rates of mass incarceration.


In recent years, national discussions of criminal-justice reform and mass incarceration have largely revolved around non-violent drug-related convictions. In a sense, these offenders are low-hanging fruit: They are arguably the most politically palatable inmate demographic, and many lawmakers can champion their cause with limited risks. But are people who committed very bad crimes capable of reform and deserving of a second chance after they have served their time?

In Wisconsin, there are 3,000 men and women eligible for parole. In 1998, when the state laws changed to the policy of truth-in-sentencing, the inmate population sentenced prior to 1998 were suddenly caught in a permanent loop between two changing parole laws, unjustly tripling or quadrupling their prison time.

The 3,000 Project (working title) is a multi-character 90-minute documentary chronicling the lives of formerly violent offenders, who have been convicted of serious crimes, but who are no longer a threat to public safety and are eligible for parole.

The documentary slips into the shoes of several stories representing the 3,000 incarcerated men, women, their families and the tireless advocates as they fight for a statewide judicial review of the old law cases. Through these stories we will examines the parole board and parole procedures practiced in Wisconsin and widely across the United States as it compares to practices in other western countries.

The story asks audiences is it right that people are languishing in prison in perpetuity because of our collective fear to confront the difficult question of can people change?

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Meet the Filmmaker

Keith McQuirter — Director/Producer

Keith McQuirter is an award winning producer and director with credits in TV documentary, new media and commercials. His documentary Milwaukee 53206 won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Documentary at the 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival and won the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s 2017 Media for a Just Society Award. Keith also co-produced the five-part Peabody Award winning and Prime Time Emmy nominated docu-series Brick City for the Sundance Channel. Having worked a number of years as an executive producer in advertising, Keith produced commercials for national and international brands in entertainment, apparel, beauty, food and consumer products.

Keith studied film and television production at New York University Tisch School of the Arts where he was awarded the Martin Scorsese Young Filmmaker Award. He also studied directing at the National Theater Institute. His production company Decoder Media is based in New York City.

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