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Spotlighting the Devastating Effects of Incarceration on Mothers

The fastest-growing segment of the prison population in the United States is women. It’s no surprise, then, that thousands of children are heading off to school, losing their first baby tooth, or attending their school proms without their mothers by their sides.

Since the “War on Drugs” began, the number of incarcerated women has increased by more than 800%, and a new documentary film showing on PBS puts a spotlight on three of them. Called Apart, the three-part film focuses on three young women in prison in Cleveland, OH, filmed while they were incarcerated and through the first year after their release.

Apart shows how the three women seek to reconcile with their children and families through an innovative prison program and to overcome the stigma of incarceration.

“With the majority of women imprisoned for drug-related offenses, their journeys to recovery and redemption are more common than you’d think,” said Jennifer Redfearn, director of Apart. “We hope this film sheds light on how incarceration impacts mothers, children, families, and, as a result, entire communities, and inspires audiences to give second chances.”

At Family Reconciliation Center, we’re all about second chances. We applaud PBS for shedding a light on this issue. Tomorrow is also March 1, the first day of Women’s History Month, and we’re grateful that Apart is centering the voices, stories, and experiences of women who are often overlooked.

Apart premiered on February 21 at 9AM (CT) and will continue through the Independent Lens program on Monday, February 28 and Monday, March 7. For more information, consider listening to this interview on National Public Radio at or at The film is also available through the PBS Video app.


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