to main pagesend e-mail

Broken Places


FIRST DEGREE takes viewers inside the maximum security Sing Sing Prison and introduces them to a cast of unforgettable inmates. One memorable prisoner is Jermaine Archer, whose reputation changed from being a feared gang leader to being a role model for students attending college at Sing Sing. Another is Clarence Maclin, who got his college degree shortly before he was paroled and participates in a reentry program that helps him acquire work-appropriate clothing, write a resume, and find a job. Perhaps the most remarkable character is Sean Pica, who served 16 years for murder, but unlike most paroled inmates who reoffended and quickly returned to prison, Sean came back to run Sing Sing’s college program. Nationwide, over half of released inmates return to prison within 5 years, but for the past 14 years, less than 1% of the inmates that received a college degree at Sing Sing returned to prison.

PBS Website

1-page synopsispress roomvideo for educational use dvd for home use

Watch Now

Host a Screening

FIRST DEGREE played at thirteen film festivals across the country and won four top awards. Thanks to several generous foundation grants, we are able to make the film available at no cost to organizations involved in prison education and criminal justice reform as well as groups focused on re-entry, probation, diversion, and delinquency prevention. Our goal is to enable these stakeholders to use FIRST DEGREE to spark discussion and action aimed at reducing recidivism and mass incarceration.


Download Viewer Guide

  • background information about the issues raised in the film
  • resources for planning community screenings
  • in-depth discussion questions
  • action steps
  • resources including books, films and organizations that work on the issues covered in the film

Screening Toolkit Elements

planning a screening guide
general discussion questions
feedback form

press release template
digital flyer template
sample invitation letter to legislators
social media posts

Produced and Directed by Roger Weisberg

For screenings and latest news, please visit us on
Find us on Facebook.
Follow First Degree on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter.
Follow First Degree on Twitter!

Public Policy Productions, Inc.
P.O. Box 650
Palisades, NY 10964
(845) 398-2119
Email Public Policy Productions