On October 1, Northampton Community College held a daylong Peace and Social Justice Conference, including a screening of Professor Nandini Sikand’s film, Inside/Outside.
Inside/Outside (2019, 94 minutes) is a feature length documentary film about women and mass incarceration in the United States as they struggle with the challenges of sexual assault, substance abuse and often, motherhood. Seen through the lens of a predominantly white, county jail in a rapidly gentrifying town in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, this film explores challenges the women face inside and outside jail. Limited programs, rampant sexism and racism on the inside, and the lack of job opportunities, housing and healthcare on the outside contribute to high rates of recidivism for many women and their families who are caught in a revolving door of poverty and incarceration. As the primary and secondary stories unfold, we hear from a chorus of women who share what it is like to be in Northampton County Jail, and experts and correction workers to help stitch together different aspects of the criminal justice system. Inside/Outside addresses the hard and cold facts of the prison industrial complex experienced through a microcosm of local stories that affect families and communities.
The film has been completed over a seven-year period, with a deep commitment by the filmmaker to work with the subjects of the film beyond the frame, to engage various members of the local community affected by the criminal justice system, and to continue volunteer work as a yoga instructor at Northampton County Jail.