Synopsis by Mark Deming
In this prison drama, a woman makes the ultimate sacrifice for her child. Sarah (Catherine Oxenberg) is a nurse whose husband, after losing his job, becomes an abusive alcoholic who batters Sarah and their eight-year-old son Jason (Zach Gray). When Sarah's husband attacks her in a drunken rage, Jason finds his dad's gun and shoots him dead. Hoping to spare her son, Sarah claims to have pulled the trigger herself, and her court-appointed attorney, Patrick Burlington (Jeff Fahey), proves no match for Judge William Engstrom (James Handy), known as Maximum Bill for his severe sentences. Engstrom sends Sarah to a women's prison for eight years, where cold-hearted warden Ms. Reineke (Louise Fletcher) and sleazy guard Duane (Scott Schumacher) inform Sarah that the prison has an unusual "work release" program: the female inmates can reduce their sentences and make money by dancing topless (and turning tricks) for Mr. D. (Bo Hopkins), who runs a strip joint just outside the county line. Those who refuse to play along are subject to violent abuse from both the authorities and the other inmates.
alcoholism, corruption, domestic-violence, inmate, nurse, prison, prison-warden