Drama about a young woman, Erica, who is wrongly implicated in a crime and sent to prison for five years, where she faces deplorable conditions. With the aid of the warden, she sets out to prove her innocence.
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Sentenced to 5 years in prison, Erica Hayden is most worried about her unborn child's future. At this prison, they allow the women to keep their children until age 3 but at that point they must be given to a friend or relative outside the prison or surrendered to State authorities who will arrange an adoption. She tries desperately to find someone and the prison doctor even tries to help her out. One person who isn't keen on the arrangement is the new prison warden, Frank Cole, who thinks prison is no place for young children. Her only hope is that she will get parole after three years but when it's refused and her child is taken away without even giving her the chance to say goodbye, the women stage a riot.Written by
Shirley Knight plays Erica, a young pregnant woman who is being incarcerated in state prison. The rules of the prison are that women can keep their children up to age three...and Erica hopes that she can get paroled before her child is over this age limit...otherwise, the child will be put up for adoption!! So, to present herself as good as possible, Erica is a model inmate. She's so good that she's chosen to work as a maid in the Warden's house. But the Warden (Andrew Duggan) is a total misfit...a screwed up man who is much more interested in making Erica his plaything instead of helping her with parole. With this and a very, very hard hand with the women, anger, resentment and rage is building up in the inmates.
In many ways, this is a very good film. The women are not lesbian caricatures like they often would be in later prison movies and the film actually does a good job of portraying the women rather realistically. However, the film also occasionally lapses into dumbness...like they needed to re-write a few things but never got around to it. In particular, the scene where the child dies is utterly ridiculous and otherwise mars a decent film. The scene just makes no sense whatsoever...who would put a nursery on an upper floor and why leave the door wide open so a child could crawl out to their death?!?! Pretty dumb. It's also a bit hard to believe a Warden as screwy as this one and with his family background would exist...see the film and see what I mean.
Overall, the film is worth seeing...even with a few lapses in the writing. As it is, it's very good...but could have been better...easily. Plus, it sort of conveys an interesting message...sometimes violence IS the answer!!
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