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2|A SENTENCE APART | Discussion Guide | INTRODUCTION & SYNOPSIS There is a crisis affecting one in every 28 children in the United States—2.7 million children have a parent behind bars. Incarceration affects the fabric of our families and communities, and disproportionately affects families of color. More than 60% of those behind bars are racial and ethnic minorities, and the rates of incarceration among women is on the rise. These numbers represent parents, children, siblings, and neighbors. More needs to be done to understand those most affected by the experience of separation between parent and child, and the generational impact incarceration has on families (children of incarcerated parents are more than seven times more likely to go to jail than children whose parents have not served time behind bars). A Sentence Apart seeks to bring a human face to these statistics, and provide an intimate lens into the lives of those impacted by a family member’s incarceration to dispel stereotypes, and start to crack the surface of what can be done. This guide serves as a framework to spark reflection and discussion, and presents sample activities to go deeper with a group or classroom. SYNOPSIS A Sentence Apart follows three stories of people coping with a family member in prison, attempting to bridge broken relationships, and diligently working to break the generational cycle of incarceration. The United States 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 weaves three intimate stories exploring how families cope and live with a loved one in prison. Tanea is a high school senior, and her father has been in and out of jail for her entire life. As a child of a prisoner, Tanea has a 70 percent chance of going to prison herself. The film chronicles Tanea’s passion to avoid the generational curse of incarceration, and let the world know that she can be a successful woman. Three Sundays a month, Linda Williams makes a 20-hour bus trip to visit her youngest daughter in prison. Her daughter Natasha was tried as an adult at the age of 17 and given 68 years in prison for involuntary attempted manslaughter. Linda comments on coping with the grief of a daughter in prison, keeping hope alive that Natasha will be released, and continuing to be the best mother she can. Cheyanne is 16 years old and can remember only one birthday that her dad attended. Soon after her dad gets out of jail, Cheyanne confronts her father about the emotional toll his incarceration has taken on her. These intimate and moving stories, told with striking images, start to scratch the surface of the complex toll incarceration takes on the world outside of the prison walls.