Two government reports over the last 12 years have definitively concluded that short term custodial sentences for women aren’t working, but the number of women serving them in the UK is rising.
I produced this documentary with my incredible friend, Brenda Birungi – AKA Poet Lady Unchained. We interviewed four women with experience of the criminal justice system, then used Brenda’s poetry to weave through their testimonies.
Brenda and I had only ever heard documentaries about prison and prisoners presented by people who hadn’t been anywhere near a prison. Seeing as clearly no-one is listening to government reports either, we decided to platform the voices of those most qualified in this matter: people with lived experience.
I then worked with the amazing Axel Kacoutié to develop a soundtrack for the piece – using unique music for Brenda’s poetry as well as each woman sharing their story. I’m particularly proud of the opening sound design – I chose music and SFX that sounded mechanical – complimenting the car metaphor, designed at catching and holding the listener’s attention. Seeing as the idea started from the art of poetry – I wanted this documentary to feel like a crafted piece of audio – one full, complete piece rather than voices joined by narration.
This doc was made with the Prison Radio Association. Would recommend to a friend.
Resources / people to follow if you’re interested in Women’s Centres & Prison Abolition:
We won some awards!
In 2021, Unchained was anonymously nominated for and won Expert Citizens‘ INSIGHT Through Journalism Award! This was judged by a panel of people with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System, which made it all the more special.
In 2020, we also came runner up for Outstanding Documentary at the Criminal Justice Alliance Awards!