Visionaries - Changing the World One Story at a Time

Celebrating our 15th Season!

Seascape, How the Oceans of the World Suddenly Became Safer

Episode #1501

This is a story about how a few people inside a nondescript government office building in Cambridge, MA discovered a simple solution to a huge global problem thereby making the oceans and harbors of the world safer. Our story begins in Naples Italy in 2005. The Admiral in charge of the 6th Fleet asked, "how come we know the exact location of every airplane in the world, but don't have a clue about the thousands of ships roaming the seas and entering our ports?" The big defense contractors said they could solve the problem in a decade and it will take tens of millions of dollars. Then somebody called the Volpe Center, a research facility run by the United States Department of Transportation. They said, "Oh, it will take a couple hundred thousand dollars, and is two weeks okay?" This is how they did it.

Getting Ready - A Prison Program that Works

Episode #1502

Getting Ready is a prison program that simply works. The numbers don't lie. Inmate-on-inmate violence is down by 37 percent, inmate-on-staff assaults by 51 percent, and inmate suicides have been reduced by 33 percent. But the real change comes when the inmates are released. An inmate who has gone through the program is 35% more successful on the outside. That means they are more likely to get jobs, stay drug free and reunite with their family. It also means they are far less likely to commit another crime. How does it work? It starts on day one. From the moment inmates enters the Arizona Department of Corrections the quest is to prepare them for the day they leave.

Visionaries takes you inside the Arizona prisons where you experience the powerful transformation that occurs when Administrators, Corrections Officers and Inmates work together in a system designed to mirror how life works on the outside. That means inmates must earn privileges and compete for good jobs by getting an education, participating in rehabilitation programs and contributing to the community.

Learning to Change - Two Stories of how the act of acquiring knowledge can change the world


Civilian Joint Duty Program- 9/11, never again

Episode #1503A

Just when you thought all the news about the intelligence community was bad, here comes a new program that is inspiring the next generation of leaders toward a more open and cooperative approach to national security. It is called the Civilian Joint Duty Program. It is built on the realization that the tragedy of September 11th might have been avoided if our nation's 16 intelligence gathering agencies had shared crucial information. As a prerequisite for promotion, the program requires senior level employees to spend a tour of duty in a sister agency where they can develop the relationships and perspective that form the cornerstone of mutual cooperation. Visionaries takes you inside the National Intelligence Community where you will discover that the concept of sharing has made our nation more secure.

Learning to Earn a Brighter Future

Episode #1503B

The idea is simple; students will earn more if they learn more. In North Carolina, 20,000 high school students across the state can earn up to a two full years of college credit, free of charge, while still in high school. They can take the courses online through their local high school or they can attend one of the 60 "Learn & Earn High Schools" where they can earn both a high school diploma and an associates degree or two years of college in just five years. The program is a bold response to the realization that North Carolina will need an educated work force if it is going to prosper in the new and highly competitive global economy.

Bar None - Rehabilitation vs. Punishment

Episode #1504

This story will shatter everything you thought you knew about juvenile crime and punishment. In Missouri they have no bars in the juvenile detention facilities. No juvenile convicted of crime is locked in a cell. There are no physical restraints, no isolation rooms; in fact, the word "punishment" is never used. In this groundbreaking documentary, Visionaries takes you inside youth facilities across the state of Missouri where you meet young people in the midst of a rehabilitation approach to Juvenile Justice that has produced startling results. You discover that a place built on compassion, group therapy and a profound belief in the inherent ability of young people to change, is not only a much safer place, a startling 70% of the of the young people who complete the program never get convicted of another crime.

Big Cities - Big Solutions

(two-part series)

New York tackles Affordable Housing, Philly's answer to Domestic Violence.

A Philadelphia Story - Ending Violence Against Women

Episode # 1505A

Women Against Violence was one of the first battered women's programs in the country and operates the only shelter in Philadelphia exclusively for battered women and their children; the nation's first legal center for domestic violence victims; and the region's first transitional housing program for abused families.

Today they are still breaking new ground by building a system that integrates the care and protection of woman into the very fabric of life in Philadelphia. The Mayor, city councilors, and police officers work with Women Against Violence to maintain a network of programs across the city.

NYC Acquisition Fund - Financing for Affordable Housing

Episode # 1505B

The New York City Acquisition Fund is a unique $230 million partnership that finances the purchase of land and buildings for affordable housing. The fund gives smaller developers the financing they need to compete against big investors with "deep pockets". Without this funding, affordable housing risks being replaced by luxury housing built by speculators who have no qualms about displacing tenants and their families. Many of these renters have lived in the same apartment building for decades, faithfully paid their rent and taxes, sent their children to nearby schools, and contributed to the unique character of their neighborhoods. The NYC Acquisition Fund team is currently consulting with the cities of New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles, each of whom is developing similar programs.

Season 15 Filming Locations

This years season took place in Naples, Italy ~ Boston, and Cape Cod, MA ~ Dominican Republic ~ St. Louis, Fulton and Kansas City, Missouri ~ Phoenix, Arizona ~ New York City ~ Philadelphia, PA ~ North Carolina ~ Washington DC ~