Indiana prison documentary earns award

Saturday, January 28, 2012
Breaking Down the Bars" follows the dramatic transformation of a group of female prisoners during their time at the Rockville Correctional Facility in Indiana. Pictured above is female prisoner Hannah working on her Wall of Shame during rehabilitation therapy.

Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Bruce Lemmon announced Tuesday that 44 Blue Productions and the Oprah Winfrey Network have received the American Correctional Association's (ACA) 2012 Outstanding Journalism Award for the documentary series "Breaking Down the Bars."

The award was presented Tuesday to Adriane Hopper, co-executive producer from 44 Blue Productions, at the 2012 ACA Winter Conference in Phoenix.

"Breaking Down the Bars" is a seven-episode docu-reality series filmed inside Indiana's Rockville Correctional Facility by a production crew from 44 Blue Productions.

The series follows the dramatic transformation of eight female offenders during their time at the Rockville Correctional Facility.

The women share personal stories of self-discovery and redemption while trying to make peace with their families, wrestle with the weight of their crimes, learn to take responsibility for their decisions, and work on rehabilitating their lives. The series also reveals the stories of the families of these eight women as they deal with the changes brought on by the incarceration of a loved one.

The documentary also gives viewers an inside look at the day-to-day life of an offender and the many programs provided at Rockville to help these women in their rehabilitation as they prepare to return to society. The series debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Feb. 15, 2011.

Established by ACA's Public Information Committee, the Outstanding Journalism Award recognizes the editor or news director of a media outlet viewed by ACA as having done the most in the past year to increase public knowledge about correctional issues.

"Shot with the tireless cooperation and on-camera presence of Rockville staff, 'Breaking Down the Bars' is truly revolutionary television," Commissioner Lemmon said.

"Unlike previous attempts to capture the reality of life in a women's prison through gritty action sequences and inter-offender conflict, this documentary takes straight aim at the goal of most women, getting out of prison and being successful on the outside. The Indiana Department of Correction is proud to have been a part of such groundbreaking and inspiring television and is thankful to ACA for their recognition with this prestigious award," Lemmon added.

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