Breaking Back the Bars brings us into the worlds of women in jail. We see their struggles, their thoughts on their crimes and their roads to recovery. We also get to meet some of their family members and understand their roles in each inmate’s recovery.
In my opinion, Nicole, Hannah, Tiffany and Lisa are the most fascinating people on the show.
Nicole was a drug addict, and when she left the bathroom one day with her ten month old son in the tub, she returned to find that he had drowned. Nicole seemed to have trouble accepting herself and the situation even though she relived it every day. Fortunately, throughout her course in prison, she started to face her life situation more and move on. She was released to work release, in which she lives in a home for inmates but is free to get a job and move toward a normal life. Nicole is easy to root for – you can see where she struggled and how she’s moving on to a more positive life.
Hannah was a drug addict who is in a drug rehabilitation program. Her boyfriend, Joe, was also an addict. Hannah, who is only 19 years old, was eligible for release from the rehabilitation program, but lied about her boyfriend’s addictions. For this, she could not be released. In addition, she refuses to go anywhere but the home she and Joe shared after her release, which is preventing her from leaving. Hannah struggles with drugs because her mom was on drugs, so she thinks going back to her parents’ house isn’t any healthier because her mom has pills at home. We find out that part of Hannah’s problem may be that she got involved with much older boyfriend Joe at sixteen, and that clearly isn’t healthy for her since they both had drug problems. However, Joe seems to have been an escape that Hannah needed because her mom never connected with her as a young child. It seems from the meeting we saw with Hannah and her parents that her parents don’t listen to her as they should and they had a very skewed version of Hannah’s life, possibly one that they wanted, not the one that was real.
Tiffany came from a difficult background – she was hurt by many people. Her mother killed her father because of the abuse he showed her, and the fact that he wanted daughters so he could put them into prostitution. Tiffany was also sexually abused. It’s natural that Tiffany had a lot of anger, which caused her problems both at home and in jail. Tiffany, in her jail term, has overcome so much. She found ways to cope with her anger, got her GED and plans to move on to a college degree. From watching the show, you really want Tiffany to succeed. You know that she can – she’s clearly very intelligent – and hope that she takes the right path.
Lisa had a great life except for an abusive marriage. After years of abuse, she killed her husband. (Her husband’s mother claims that she does not believe that her son was abusive.) She seems to still have trouble truly thinking about what she did, although she did have a breakthrough while meditating on the 9 year anniversary of her husband’s death. It seems like Lisa has walls built up around her life and what she did, but seems to be on a positive path to recovery.
Breaking Back the Bars is truly a fascinating show that shows us that not all people in jail are bad. Some people tend to have the impression that people in jail are awful people who committed horrible crimes. While some people did commit awful crimes, some people made mistakes and try to move on from them. Breaking Down the Bars is a truly enlightening and entertaining show on which we get to really root for the people making positive changes in their lives and trying to move on from their lives of crime, drug addiction and jail time.