A Sentence Apart

The United States imprisons more people, per capita, than any country in the world - A Sentence Apart follows three families as they cope with the infinite ripple effects of incarceration in the U.S.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
12 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


The U.S.A. imprisons more people, per capita, than any country in the world. Behind 2.4 million prisoners lies an infinite ripple effect of incarceration on the family and community. A Sentence Apart follows three stories of people coping with a family member in prison, attempting to bridge broken relationships, and diligently working to reverse the generational cycle of incarceration.

Featured review

A Sentence Apart speaks volumes about the complexity of issues facing the families and children of the incarcerated. This small gem of a film is a must for criminal justice practitioners and students, teachers, social workers, incarcerated or formally incarcerated parents, or anyone interested in the impact of the criminal justice system on the families left behind. It is an invaluable tool.
Ruth Morgan
Executive Director, Community Works West


Tenea is a high school senior whose father has been in and out of jail for her entire life, while Linda Williams makes a 20-hour bus trip to visit her youngest daughter, who is serving a 68 year sentence. Cheyanne is 16 years old and can remember only one birthday that her dad attended. Soon after her father gets out of jail, Cheyanne confronts him about the emotional toll incarceration has taken on her. These intimate and moving stories start to scratch the surface of the complex toll incarceration takes on the world outside of the prison walls.


Only personal stories can truly convey to students what prison sentences really mean to loved ones left behind and just why we all should care. A Sentence Apart helps do just this by sharing the experiences of three individuals coming to terms with their loved ones' prison terms. A Sentence Apart is an ideal instructional tool that has helped me humanize the social impacts of mass incarceration and generate enthusiastic and meaningful classroom discussion. It will be a mainstay in my lesson plan, and I highly recommend it all those who introduce their students to this important subject.
Paul R. Schupp
Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Niagara University
A Sentence Apart is a wonderful educational resource…this film has been a blessing to our organization and to our community.
Karima Amin
People are Prisoners Too, Inc
A Sentence Apart is a powerful film about the effects of incarceration on family members. Each heart-wrenching story demonstrates the resolve of those on the outside. Cheyanne confronts her father about his self-centered actions that have denied all his children a dad present in their lives. Linda takes an over-night bus to visit her daughter every two weeks and is broken-hearted to see her child in shackles. After years of hiding her father's incarceration, Tanea is now open about his whereabouts. Whether daughter or mother, each is suffering deeply from circumstances beyond their control. This film will stimulate interest in the un-intended victims of incarceration.
Ann Weber
Director of Library and Research Services, Bellarmine College Preparatory

Awards and Screenings

Best Student film, San Francisco IndieFest, 2011
Documentary Channel Broadcast, 2012
Big Sky Film Festival, Official Selection, 2010
NextReel Film Festival, Official Selection, 2010

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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