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Convictions: Prisoners of Conscience

Why risk your freedom?



Since 1990, tens of thousands of Americans have made pilgrimages every November to the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia, to call for the closing of the Pentagon’s School of the Americas (SOA), now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

Convictions: Prisoners of Conscience focuses on some of the hundreds of SOA protesters who collectively have served close to 90 years in prison for non-violent civil disobedience—some receiving sentences as long as 18 months and fines up to $10,000.

Sarah Jobe
Sarah Jobe

They give up their freedom as a matter of conscience and in the hope that doing time in federal prison will call attention in their home communities—and in Congress—to the grassroots campaign to shut the school.


Profiled are Father Joe Mulligan of Detroit; seminary student Sarah Jobe of Durham, NC; teacher Shirley Way of upstate NY; and Leisa Barnes, a Sacramento mother of five sons, whose brother was killed in action in the US military.

Written, directed and produced by Robert Richter.

20 minutes

Study Areas: Social and political history, American studies, U.S. foreign policy, developing nations, Latin American studies, human rights, peace studies, sociology of religion, religion and politics, Catholicism, American religion, contemporary religious thought, anthropology of religion, psychology of religion, culture change, cultural and social anthropology,