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WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS: Children of Women in Prison
What happens to children when their mothers are incarcerated? In prisons throughout the United States, 80 percent of all female inmates are incarcerated for non-violent offenses, and 80 percent are mothers of vulnerable children. This sensitive documentary is an up-close look at children coping with their mothers’ incarcerations.
As the children lay bare their longing for love, each story illustrates policy gaps between the judicial and social service systems that are supposed to serve them. In the US, more than two hundred and fifty thousand children suffer daily separation from their mothers, and are often left in the custody of extended family members where they may suffer poverty, neglect, and abuse.
Such children are six times more likely than their peers to end up in prison, victims of a justice system that perpetuates the very problems it seeks to prevent. When the Bough Breaks—Children of Mothers in Prison is a powerful reminder that the system must be changed if these children are to have an emotionally healthy future.
A presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with additional support from Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis, Roblee Foundation, and others.
"This film transports the viewer to the heart of a world most of us never experience. . . Its honesty and sensitivity allows no easy answers."
Ruth R. Ehresman, MSW, LCSW, Policy Director, Citizens for Missouri’s Children
"An excellent introduction to the impact that incarceration has on the children of mothers in prison and the families attempting to provide childcare for these kids. Recommended for academic collections focusing on criminal justice administration, social work, or women’s studies."
MC Journal: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship
"This film is powerful, poignant and unsettling. . . There are no easy answers, but we have to do something better to meet the needs of these children."
Ann Jacobs, Women's Prison Association
"This documentary involved viewers intimately so that one could not dismiss the consequences. Petzall's approach takes up an important and hidden problem as she interviews vulnerable subjects in ways that preserve their dignity."
Pat Aufderheide, Center for Social Media, American University
"Provocative production. . . Good catalyst for classroom and other group discussions."
Midwest Emmy Award for Best Documentary, 2002
Western Psychological Association, 2002
International Women in the Director’s Chair Festival, 2001
Finalist, American Film Institute Festival, 2001