Rikers Island in New York City is one of the largest correctional facilities in the world. It houses 15,000 inmates, 2000 of whom are 18 years old or under. Rikers High tells the story of three of those youths: 18-year-old William Santiago, who is serving 6 months for robbing a woman with a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun; 17-year-old Shawn Johnson, who is sentenced to 12 months for robbing two groups of teens with a gun; and 18-year-old Andre Blandon, who was convicted of arson after being hired to set a car on fire in an insurance scam. Banished to society's rock bottom purgatory, the young men now seek redemption through education, by studying math, language arts, and even attending barber school, in preparation for their GED exams. This emotionally gripping documentary also tells the story of the dedicated teachers who serve as de facto parents for many of the inmates, going far beyond their job descriptions to try to make a difference in their lives. Victor Buhler's astute and probing lens takes viewers beneath the surface details of this trio's rap sheets, relating the human stories that resulted in their becoming misguided victims of circumstance. Witnessing the sweetness, vulnerability, and sensitivity of these young men, you're reminded just how strikingly closely they resemble a gaggle of boys playing in schoolyard, more than the teen convicts that they actually are.