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Review: 'Time' Reveals Persistence of Judicial Inequities

by Noe Kamelamela
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Oct 13, 2020

Interspersed with home videos, as well as more recent documentary footage, "Time" tells the story of the Richardson family's personal experience with mass incarceration in Louisiana. Piano accompaniment ties together the various segments, which themselves are spread throughout twenty-odd years. While nearly every family member, including cousins and church friends, appear on camera, it is primarily Sibil Fox Richardson's character arc and strength which are highlighted throughout this long period. The family inches towards what they hope will be Robert's freedom after being sentenced to 60 years in state prison.

The documentary, as well as all of the information which the family has shared since the late 1990s, does include the fact that both Fox and Rob did participate in a robbery, and they both did time for the crime they committed. However, Robert was held prejudicially over a decade longer, as so many poor Black men are, for being unable to buy himself into a better deal as well as to be granted any leniency for a first time offense. Fox also suffered while incarcerated, although the film wisely focuses on the pain of separation, which the entire family feels. The inclusion of snippets of her various appearances for abolition events and gatherings in Louisiana, as well as her persistence on phone calls to talk with members of the criminal justice systems to advocate on her family's behalf, are hopeful and very inspirational.

Witnessing this level of frustration, honed over two decades, which still make room for such courtesy and spiritual steadfastness, is very moving and also will hopefully encourage people to educate themselves on long-needed prison reform. The knowledge that these kinds of justice systems are very destructive to families, in particular families with lower incomes who are already struggling, may not be common. "Time" does not contain violence, strong language, or sexuality, but it does present concepts that may be unfamiliar to younger viewers. This could be a humane introduction in why abolition is still so necessary today.

"Time" opened October 7th in select theaters and premieres on Amazon Prime Video on October 16th.

Noe Kamelamela is a reader who reads everything and a writer who writes
very little.

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