Distributor:  Scorpion TV
Length:  65 minutes
Date:  2009
Genre:  Observational
Language:  English
Color/BW:  Color
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The Visitors

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Every Friday night about 800 people, mostly women and children, almost all of them African American and Latino, gather in Manhattan for the long journey to rural New York to visit their loved ones in prison.

The Visitors

In 1960, approximately 330,000 people were behind bars in USA. Since then, “three strikes” laws and “zero tolerance” policies have pushed many low level offenders into prison sentences. As a result America’s inmate population soared to 2.3 million with an especially heavy impact on the poor and minorities.

There are now 70 prisons in New York State. Although 60 percent of all prisoners in the state come from New York City, 95 percent of these prisons are located upstate, in remote rural towns and villages, like Attica, Dannemora, and Malone.

Every Friday night about 800 people, mostly women and children, almost all of them African American and Latino, gather at Columbus Circle in Manhattan and board buses for the north. Depending on the destination, the trip can take up to 25 hours. Most of the passengers make this trip every weekend, some for many years, and in some cases, decades. The Visitors reveals a community and subculture sharing common problems, joys and endeavors.

No reviews available.


Best Documentary, Golden Orange Film Festival, 2009


Main credits

Birder, Melis (Director)
Birder, Melis (Producer)

Other credits

Editor, K.A. Miille; cinematography, Suat Kutlug, Melis Birder; composers, Jay Tran, Rob Friedman.

Distributor credits

Melis Birder

Melis Birder (melis@visitorsdocumentary.com)

Executive Producers
St. Clair Bourne and Sam Pollard

K.A. Miille

Docuseek2 subjects

Women's Studies
American Studies
American (U.S.) Studies

Distributor subjects

No distributor subjects provided.


prison; "The Visitors"; Scorpion TV; visitation rights;

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