by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Living life free in front of bars can sometimes lead people to forget those behind bars — especially if they are sentenced to life. On July 28th at 9 p.m. a documentary debuted on OWN striving to bring attention back to those who must live the rest of their life in prison.
Executive producer Forest Whitaker is also the narrator for the production appropriately called Serving Life, and Lisa R. Cohen was the director. The documentary takes place in Louisiana at the Angola maximum security prison where 85 percent of inmates are serving life. BlackAmericaWeb.com reports:
“Serving Life focuses on the prison hospice at Angola, where inmates care for their own who are near death. The program has been in existence since 1997, and inmates say it has helped them find more compassion and love for themselves and others in the unlikeliest of circumstances….Given the crimes that lead most prisoners to life in jail, it may be hard to find sympathy for those sentenced to spend the rest of their lives locked away from society. But the purpose of the documentary is to show that everyone – even those who have made grievous mistakes and caused enormous harm – retain their personhood.”
Reports say that Winfrey and Cohen debated for a bit about how much the production would cost, but apparently they arrived at a consensus. Not only that, Whitaker says that ultimately those involved had the opportunity to be a part of forgotten yet valuable lives. He adds, “Serving Life reveals the humanity that exists inside each and every one of us…We meet inmates who decide to take an opportunity for redemption, reminding us of the connection that exists between each and every human being.”
Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.