"In an Ideal World makes the most challenging issues of American incarceration come alive. By telling the human stories behind the headlines, we come to understand the complexity of human behavior and the prospects for redemption."
Marc Mauer, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project
"In an Ideal World is heroic filmmaking. Told through the eyes of the warden and three inmates, we learn about the stark realities of prison life and maintaining the racial order. But the film also finds glimmers of hope behind the walls. In an Ideal World is rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking. This is a must see film for anyone who cares about prison reform, prisoner reentry, and racial tensions in America. It is a film I will not soon forget."
Joan Petersilia, PhD., Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
"In the U.S. prison system, relations between the races can be a raw primordial extension of the world outside. Protection is enhanced by racial alignments, vulnerability exposed by those few who dare to go it alone. Noel Schwerin’s latest film provides a unique, insightful analytic lens on how both prison officials and inmates deal with this issue, somehow giving viewers a ray of hope for human resilience."
Troy Duster, Chancellor's Professor & Senior Fellow, Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley
"Noel Schwerin gained unprecedented access first to Soledad prison and then to inmates, staff and the Warden. In an Ideal World captures the essence of life in an American prison, where rigid control, imposed regulations and unwritten inmate rules barely stave off chaos but where dedicated coaching transforms inmates’ anger and blind self-centeredness into insight and empathy. If you haven’t been inside a prison, see this film. If you have, take people who haven’t been inside to see it."
Malcolm C. Young, Justice Consultant, Founder and former Executive Director, The Sentencing Project, Washington, DC, Former Executive Director, The John Howard Association of Illinois