MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new documentary focusing on Alabama’s only women’s prison makes its world premiere Wednesday at the Hot Springs Film Festival in Arkansas.
“Tutwiler,” produced by Frontline and The Marshall Project, goes inside Tutwiler Prison for Women, located in Wetumpka, to shine a light on pregnancy and parenthood behind bars.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine say roughly 1,400 pregnant women are admitted to 22 state prisons, as well as all federal prisons, annually. Alabama Department of Corrections officials say they see between 45 and 50 pregnant women come through Tutwiler Prison in a year’s time.
The documentary follows pregnant women incarcerated at Tutwiler leading up to the birth of their babies, and what happens next.
For many of those children, the Adullam House is the next stop. It’s a place to live for children whose parents are incarcerated and have nowhere else to go. It also provides a school for the children who live there.
“We worked in the prison system for so long, and became so aware of the plight of inmates’ children and how they were often left in dire circumstances when mom was arrested," explained Director Angela Spackman. "And it became our great desire to raise them like we’d raise children while mom was incarcerated, to raise them in a protected environment where they had all the hope in the world, knew the Lord and knew that he was the answer to all of life’s problems. So we provide a home, we provide a private school, and try to provide an environment that provides life and joy for these children.”
The Adullam House is featured in the new film, which will air on PBS this winter.
“They did a great job interviewing and following the progress of one of our mothers from prison, to release, to being employed in our thrift store, being re-united with her children. It’s been a great experience,” Spackman said.
A preview for the documentary can be seen below.