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Women Behind Bars

Where to Watch Women Behind Bars

Confessions From Death Row
Jealousy and addiction drove Emilia and Patricia to commit the bloody and violent murders that landed them on Death Row.

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Murder In Paradise
Uncover how greed and passion led Jennifer, Tammy and Melissa to betray their men.

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Fatal Attractions
Tiffany, Brenda and Leah reveal how in a moment of passion they were driven to commit three violent murders.

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Till Death Do Us Part
Belynda, Julie and Cynthia reveal how the things they did for love landed them in prison

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The Real Life Thelma and Louise
Bernadette and her lover make tabloid headlines when they lure men to their hotel rooms to rob them at gunpoint. Instead of filing for divorce, Leilani coerces her children to kill her husband.

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Deadly Love Triangles
Shiana, Tammy and Heather each find themselves tangled in toxic love triangles where the odd person out ends up murdered.

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Women Behind Bars, a gripping documentary series that aired on WE tv from 2008, delves into the deep, dark corners of America's women-only prisons, bringing to light the untold stories of females convicted for serious crimes. Offering a close, candid view of the life of female inmates, this program puts a face to the statistics, breaking stereotypes, and giving voice to some of the most isolated individuals in our society.

What makes Women Behind Bars stand out in the crowded landscape of true-crime TV shows is its format. Each episode focuses on the stories of two women. It’s not just a retelling of their crimes but goes beyond just documenting their acts. It takes a deeper look, literally 'behind the bars', to explore the women’s backgrounds, their path to crime, and their life inside the prison. It emphasizes their human side—even in the most unpalatable circumstances. In doing so, it invites viewers to view these inmates not just as numbers in the prison system, but as individuals with personal histories, struggles, and emotions.

The subjects of the series range from first-time offenders to hardened criminals, all of whom share their personal experience in on-camera interviews. The crimes they are incarcerated for are as diverse as murder, robbery, drug trafficking, and arson. The series aims to show how these women, who now inhabit the harsh confines of prison, once led normal lives, had families and held jobs. The alleged crimes that changed their lives are narrated in their own voices, often intercut with reenactments that bring their journeys to life.

While the series does not shy away from showcasing the severity and gruesome nature of the committed crimes - it does so not in the spirit of sensationalism, but in an attempt to showcase the harsh realities. The testimonies of these women who recall the moments that altered their life trajectories invariably include details about their backgrounds, losses, or triggers that led them down this path, inviting viewers to consider the larger societal issues at play and the contributing factors that result in such extreme choices.

Another compelling aspect of Women Behind Bars is how it showcases the environment within female prisons — the relationships, the unique hierarchy, and the very different methods employed by women to cope with prison life compared to their male counterparts. It highlights the vulnerabilities, the bonds formed amidst adversity, and the unwelcome lessons learned in a place where one's freedom is stripped away.

However, Women Behind Bars does not exclusively focus on the dark side of life. Despite setting in the harsh realities of inmate life, it also unearths moments of redemption, forgiveness, and growth, which can be both heart-rending and inspiring. It documents the internal battles of these women, their strides towards self-improvement, seeking educational opportunities, exploring newfound talents, or embracing rehabilitation programs.

The series also includes input from various correctional officers, lawyers, family members of the victims and of the inmates, which provides a multifaceted view of the crimes, their aftermath, and the far-reaching impact on the lives of all parties involved. Importantly, it explores the concept of justice and punishment, scrutinizing the effectiveness of the system and its ability to reform and rehabilitate.

Women Behind Bars often leaves its viewers with critical questions to ponder on long after the episodes end: What leads these women to commit such heinous crimes? Can a prison term truly rehabilitate an inmate? What is the psychological toll on the women, their families and victims? Can there ever be redemption and forgiveness, despite the gravity of the crime committed?

Ultimately, the show does not seek to pass judgment nor glorify crime; instead, it encourages a deeper understanding of the complexities of the human condition, the societal issues leading to crime, and the intricacies of the penal system. By turning its lens on the unseen aspects of prison life and the personal stories of the incarcerated, Women Behind Bars offer a sobering, comprehensive, and often profound exploration of a segment of society largely left in the shadows. The show is part crime drama, part social study, making for an unsettling, thought-provoking, and unusually engrossing viewing experience.

Women Behind Bars is a series categorized as a canceled. Spanning 4 seasons with a total of 48 episodes, the show debuted on 2008. The series has earned a moderate reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 6.7.

WE tv
Ashley Crary, Kay Bess, Elizabeth Higgs
Women Behind Bars is available on .