Segments in this Video

Nation of Women Behind Bars: Introduction (03:40)


In the U.S., 200,000 women are behind bars. Drug charges are closing the gap between the numbers of black and white women incarcerated. Nicole Koester is serving 13.5 years.

"Toe Tagger" (03:47)

Eraina Pretty has been in prison for 36 years. She once asked to be executed, but now would like a second chance. Diane Sawyer enters the cell block for newcomers and more rebellious inmates.

Prison Contraband (02:46)

Diane Sawyer compares a prison to "Orange is the New Black." Officers search cells for contraband; Suboxone is the hot prison drug. Learn how inmates smuggle in contraband.

Prison Life (04:16)

Inmates make $0.17 to $2.50 an hour. They often engage in the barter system and purchase items from the commissary. Inmates discuss physical relationships in prison.

Mental Health (02:35)

Sawyer reports on allegations of sexual pressures from officers in the Tennessee Women's Prison. Lowe is in prison for killing her newborn twins. She takes medication, along with 63% of Tennessee inmates.

Prison and Mental Illness (02:46)

Approximately 60% of women in prison are victims of physical or sexual abuse. Sawyer discusses suicide watch at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women and bare cells for inmates with anger and impulse control issues.

Sirlilar Stokes (03:16)

Stokes, diagnosed depressive bipolar, was convicted of three attempted murders; she shares her dream of freedom. Warden Margaret Chippendale believes most prisoners are capable of change. Tina Hutchison leads prisoners in song.

Youngest Women Facing the Death Penalty (03:30)

Throughout the U.S. 55 women are on death row. Tiffany Cole and Emilia Carr discuss life on "the corridor;" hear their crimes.

Death Row Inmates (01:50)

Sawyer cites death row statistics. Carr reflects on equality and asks about the media's portrayal of women. Cole and Carr believe in forgiveness and hope.

Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (02:49)

Betty Brown leaves Maryland Correctional Institution for Women after serving 29 years. Education reduces recidivism by 43%. Warden Chippendale believes it is important to keep prisoners connected to humanity; some compete in a dance competition.

Tennessee Prison for Women (03:06)

The state of Tennessee believes in rigid prisoner control; the recidivism rate is 46%. Jessie Thomas discusses her mental health medications. See her first day out of prison; 34 days later she was charged with robbery.

Women in Prison (03:57)

Koester, Pretty, and Stokes visit with loved ones; Koester and Pretty have upcoming parole hearings. Sawyer reflects on possible prison reform.

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ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer takes you on a journey into the world of women living behind bars in America’s prison system. The United States has larger populations and longer sentences than much of the world. The women and their crimes and sentences pose tough questions. Sawyer gives us an inside look at the issues of mental health in women’s state prisons where 73% of the inmates have mental illnesses. She also explores the daily duel of wits between inmates and guards and the intricacies of contraband, currency and conspiracy. Inside these walls, the women still find ingenious ways to get the food they crave, the makeup they miss, and sometimes even sex. Sawyer and her team traveled to Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, and the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida. An ABC News Production.

Length: 39 minutes

Item#: BVL95267

ISBN: 978-1-68272-754-6

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

CINE Golden Eagle Award

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.