This present issue deals with "Rehabilitation" from crime and drugs. "Stevie" is an interesting film that brings into light, not only problems concerning "rehabilitation," but also child abuse and further on issues like "accompaniment" that are basic to Jesuit apostolate.
The director of the film, Steve James, after a lapse of 10 years meets with Stevie who during his university studies had performed the "Big Brothers." When he was a child, Stevie was left alone by his mother and raised up by his step grandmother. Later on, moving from one institution to the other, Stevie suffered sexual abuse and ended in a mental hospital. After leaving the hospital at the age of 24 years, he went to live with his sister-in-law and step grandmother and became a problematic boy going to jail from time to time because of minor offenses. During the space of 10 years after Steve went to study cinematography, he lost all contact with Stevie, but feeling responsibility for him decided to confront him. This film is a record of the confrontation with Stevie during a period of 4 years and a half.

"Big Brothers" refers to a guiding system where adults confront personally youngsters that are facing risks of crime and drugs, domestic violence, poverty and sexual abuse. In 2004, there were 5,000 communities all over the United States with 225,000 big brothers. According to public studies, 46% of the cases were drug addicts, 26% alcoholics and 52% students not attending school. The situation has ameliorated recently.
Certainly, Stevie's family atmosphere was terrible. Bernice, his mother that had been violently treated by her alcoholic father exercised violence against him and refused to raise him. His step grandmother who did not like her son getting married with Bernice made fool of Stevie and indoctrinated in him rancor against Bernice. The sister-in-law cares warmly of him but, having had past sexual experiences with Stevie, is suffering from the impossibility of having a child because of a disease of the womb. Tonya, her boy friend, has suffered a minor cerebral stroke and her parents do not allow her to continue the relationship. The situation changes abruptly when Stevie is jailed for the sexual abuse of an 8-year-old girl, his own cousin.
The court sentence took 2 years and Director Steve tries to lend a helping hand for the rehabilitation of Stevie, together with his wife, a counselor of sexual offenders, but he refuses to recognize his crime.

Bernice, repented from her bad misconduct towards her abandoned son, goes often to the detention center to meet him. Tonya absolutely refuses to leave his girl friend. On the other hand, when the sister-in-law realizes she is pregnant keeps at a distance with him. The ant, mother of the victim, hates strongly Stevie for his behavior but, at the same time feels sympathy with him because of the abuses he had received from her elder sister Bernice.
All kinds of people were related to him. A jobless carpenter goes with Stevie fishing and grumbles to himself "his life is not so bad after all." A person returning to jail again talks big, assuring him that if he joins his organization, Association for the Supremacy of White People, he will guarantee his safety in prison. A close friend of Tonya with heavy infant paralysis while praising Stevie and Tonya can not forget the sexual abuse from her father-in-law. Stevie's foster parents, when he entered the first institution, still love him unconditionally and feel sad for his crimes. The Church people who attended his baptism and claim his innocence: "you were reborn, you have been saved." Surrounded by such people, I went inside the world of Stevie. He is not a monster he became a "lost son nobody can hate.
In Japan we can often hear loudly "there is no need to try to understand the heart of criminals" or "let's isolate those criminals that show no repentance." But, doing so, we cut off not only others, but also the darkness of our own heart and, at the end, what is left in us? Only a society that is pure and just, with people without misconduct. I do not know why I feel I could not survive there.

Stevie remains in jail serving his 10-year sentence. He is supposed to leave the prison in the year 2008. How can he manage to live there? He is questioning the Director of the film as well as myself.

(The movie finished showing in Tokyo. It is showing in Osaka [Dainana Geijutsu Gekijo] till April 21. Please refer to the web:
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