America ReFramed

A Woman on the Outside

Season 12  Episode 2


Statistics reveal that one in four American women has a relative in prison, a rate that doubles for Black women like Kristal Bush.

Kristal, a dynamic social worker from Philadelphia, is the founder of Bridging the Gap, a van service dedicated to helping families visit their incarcerated loved ones in distant prisons. This mission is personal for Kristal, as her own father has been in prison for 25 years, and her brother, Jarvae, for 11. Her eldest brother, Jabo, and other relatives also have histories of incarceration.

Structured in three acts, this vérité film explores how the criminal justice system has shaped every aspect of Kristal's life, despite her never having been behind bars herself. Starting from the period of her father and brother's incarceration, the film vividly portrays the complex realities of their freedom. The narrative weaves together interviews and Kristal's cell phone footage, adding layers to her perspective. Throughout, Kristal’s passion, humor, and resilience shine as she strives to create a better future for herself and her young nephew, Nyvae.

Filmed over four years, A WOMAN ON THE OUTSIDE is a deeply American story about the legacy of mass incarceration.