Mothers of Bedford

About This Episode


Eighty percent of women in US prisons today are mothers of school-age children.

Many a parent would find it difficult to be away from their child for a day, or even a week. But imagine being separated for ten to twenty years? Filmed over four years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Jenifer McShane's Mothers of Bedford explores the effects of a long-term prison sentence on the relationship between a mother and child.

The documentary follows Melissa, Tanika, Mona, Rosa and Anneathia, five prisoners and mothers who are dealt with struggles and joys. It shows the normal frustrations of parenting as well as the surreal experiences of a child's first birthday party inside prison, the cell that the child lives in with her mother and the biggest celebration of the year, Mother's Day in prison!

A mother herself, Jenifer was drawn to the universal themes of motherhood and the staggering power of the mother-child relationship. As we watch the mothers inside Bedford trying to become their better selves, we see parts of our own selves – and that gives us all hope. Is it possible to become a better mother while serving time in a maximum security prison?