APART: Parole Project teams with LSU’s Tiger Prison Project and Represent Justice to host documentary screening 

A documentary about three women transitioning from prison to their communities and families, “Apart” highlights the challenges and obstacles they face as they confront the causes of their incarceration and life their release.

On April 26, Parole Project partnered with Tiger Prison Project and Represent Justice to host a special screening of the film at LSU’s College of Energy, the Coast, and Environment theater. “Apart” follows Tomika, Lydia and Amanda as they prepare to leave prison and rejoin their families. The film was followed by a discussion panel designed to kickstart a conversation about the unique family, housing, and employment issues women face as they try to rebuild their lives after incarceration. It is an emotionally powerful portrayal that mirrors the journeys of our female clients as we help them rebuild their lives.

Parole Project Deputy Director Kerry Myers started the post-viewing discussion by introducing the panelists to the audience. Audience members were able to participate in an online survery by using the QR code shown on the screen.

The panel, moderated by Parole Project Deputy Director for Client Services Kelly Garrett, brought together five women with distinctly different perspectives. It included two formerly incarcerated women, Christie Cheramie, Parole Project Reentry Manager, and Vikki Jackson, a Parole Project client who in the seven months since her release has maintained a stable job and moved into her own apartment, joined Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women Warden Kristen Thomas, professional corrections consultant Mary Livers, and state Senator Beth Mizell to share their thoughts on the issues raised in the film.

On the panel (left to right) were Christi Cheramie, Kristen Thomas, Mary Livers, State Senator Beth Mizell, and Vikki Jackson.

Over the past 25 years, women have been the fastest growing segment of the nation’s prison population,  triggered by the War on Drugs, more punitive sentencing laws, and a systemically poor policy response to issues like intimate partner abuse and sex trafficking. Cheramie and Jackson shared their personal experiences, audience members asked panelists insightful questions, and panelists conceded that there is plenty to work to do to improve post-release outcomes for women.

Staff, clients, and interns get together with Tiger Prison Project members for a photo at the pre-screening reception.