Produced by Pantagraph photo editor David Proeber and reporter Edith Brady-Lunny, Shortchanged was borne of a two-year debate following McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery’s statement that jail might not be the best place to rehabilitate inmates with mental illnesses. The film interviews those who live with the challenges of severe mental illness, and also talks to jail staff who currently provide treatment to mentally ill inmates. The conversation surrounding this issue is unquestionably a sensitive one, but the fact that Shortchanged was made is in itself encouraging: the problem has been identified, and people are talking.
People are also watching: the Shortchanged premiere on October 28th in Bloomington, IL was standing room only, and more than 80 people were turned away when the theater reached its capacity. A second showing was being scheduled to accommodate the overflow, which is hopefully a reflection of the community’s dedication to improving the current situation for mentally ill inmates.
A first move in that direction is profiled in the film by way of a$700,000 state grant given to Chestnut Health Systems for the development of a residential crisis center.
Says Shortchanged filmmaker David Proeber, “The real, long term benefit to those with mental health issues is what happens when government works to find real solutions.”
You can watch Shortchanged in its entirety here.