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The Marshall Project and FRONTLINE Present ‘Two Strikes’ and ‘Tutwiler’

A special broadcast of two short documentaries gives a rare insight into life behind bars.
Two Strikes

“Two Strikes” tells the story of Mark Jones, a 37-year-old former West Point cadet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. He is sentenced to life in prison in Florida after an unsuccessful carjacking — because of a statute that increases prison time for repeat offenders. Jones’ earlier arrests had been for minor crimes, and he spent a year in prison for stealing a $400 tool set from a Home Depot. But the “two-strikes” law allows the maximum punishment for people who commit a felony within three years of leaving prison, even for a failed carjacking attempt in which no one was physically injured.

“My sentence is life without the possibility of parole,” Jones says. “So I’m in here till I die.”

Mark’s story is part of a Marshall Project investigative series by Cary Aspinwall into the reasons behind the steep national increase in the use of life-without-parole sentences. She and data reporter Weihua Li found that Florida has far more people serving life without parole than any other state — almost a quarter of the total nationwide in 2021 — in part because of its punitive “two strikes” law.

Directed by FRONTLINE/Firelight Media Filmmaker Fellow Ursula Liang, producer Tessa Travis, and co-produced and reported by Aspinwall, “Two Strikes” is an intimate portrait of what it means to sentence someone to die in prison, and the real life consequences of harsh sentencing laws.

In addition to FRONTLINE (PBS), “Two Strikes” is produced in association with Firelight Media. It premiered at the Florida Film Festival in April 2023.

Tutwiler

“Tutwiler” tells the story of expectant mothers behind bars at Alabama’s Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Working with a group of doulas from the Alabama Prison Birth Project, the women attend parenting classes, dream up names for their babies, and plan for life after prison.

But nothing can fully prepare them for what they will endure: Once they’re taken to a nearby hospital to give birth, they typically get 24 hours with their newborn before being sent back to prison.

As one woman says, “When you were locked up your whole pregnancy and it was just you and that baby, and then to walk away from the person that’s been there with you, it makes the strongest person break.”

“Tutwiler,” a documentary short from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Heroin(e), Recovery Boys, King Coal) and reported by The Marshall Project’s Alysia Santo, offers a rare and powerful look into the reality of pregnancy and parenthood behind bars.

Produced in association with World’s America ReFramed, “Tutwiler” won the audience award at the 2019 New Orleans Film Festival, had its world premiere at Hot Springs Film Festival in October 2019, and screened at the 2020 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The film originally broadcast on World on May 19, 2020.

TWO STRIKES

Produced and Directed by Ursula Liang

PRODUCED BY Tessa Travis

EDITED BY Eugene Yi

CO-PRODUCED & REPORTED BY Cary Apsinwall

CINEMATOGRAPHY Isaac Mead-Long

SENIOR PRODUCERS Carla Borrás
Monika Navarro

ORIGINAL MUSIC Andrew Orkin

ASSISTANT EDITOR John Beder

GRAPHICS AND MOTION DESIGN Miles Alvord

ARCHIVAL PRODUCER Alethea Pace

OFFICE PRODUCTION ASSISTANT James Valdez

RESEARCHER Maurice Possley

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Hilmari Gaines

SOUND RECORDIST Mike Garofalo

ONLINE EDITOR/COLORIST Jim Ferguson

SOUND MIX Jim Sullivan

VOICE OF EUNICE HOPKINS Patricia Alvarado Núñez

ARCHIVAL MATERIAL Shutterstock
Florida Department of Corrections Press Office
Wolfson Archive - Miami Dade College
The Jones family

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL The Florida Channel
ABC Action News 9
Spectrum News 9
Florida State Legislature
State Archives of Florida
WPMI

SPECIAL THANKS Suejean Ahn
Diane Garthwaite
Matthew H. Liang
Bibiana Murillo
Brett Story
Robert Jones
Heather Gatheridge
June Morgan
Hailey Lingebach
Tiffany Evans
Eustesia McCree
Dexter McCree
Deborah Brennan
Ren Ying Wu
Abigail Ahn Yi
William Still III
Heather Gatheridge

FOR THE MARSHALL PROJECT

REPORTER Cary Aspinwall

ADDITIONAL REPORTING Weihua Li
Dan Sullivan

SENIOR EDITOR, STORYTELLING Raghuram Vadarevu

SENIOR EDITOR Leslie Eaton

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Ruth Baldwin

MANAGING EDITOR Geraldine Sealey

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Susan Chira

FOR FIRELIGHT MEDIA

FILM MENTOR David Teague

LEGAL COUNSEL Fernando Ramirez

SPECIAL INITIATIVES PRODUCER Nicole Docta

SUPERVISING PRODUCER Julia Pontecorvo

SENIOR DIRECTOR ARTIST PROGRAMS Monika Navarro

PRESIDENT Marcia Smith

A FRONTLINE Production with Noncompliant Films in association with Firelight Media & The Marshall Project

Copyright: 2023
WGBH Educational Foundation, Firelight Media, Inc. & Noncompliant Films LLC
All Rights Reserved.

TUTWILER

WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY Elaine McMillion Sheldon

PRODUCED & REPORTED BY Alysia Santo

EDITED BY Chad Ervin
Elaine McMillion Sheldon

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY Elaine McMillion Sheldon

ORIGINAL MUSIC Francois-Paul Aiche

SENIOR PRODUCER Carla Borrás

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Molly Born

ADDITIONAL EDITING Iva Radivojevic
Molly Born

ADDITIONAL CAMERA Lily Keber
Nisa East

ONLINE EDITOR/COLORIST Jim Ferguson

SOUND MIX Christopher D. Anderson, C.A.S.
Jim Sullivan

SPECIAL THANKS Penelope Falk
Leslie Simmer
Curren Sheldon
Kristen Nutile
Sarah Ginsburg

FOR THE MARSHALL PROJECT

REPORTER Alysia Santo

MANAGING EDITOR Geraldine Sealey

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Ruth Baldwin

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Susan Chira

A Requisite Media Film for FRONTLINE and The Marshall Project in association with WORLD Channel America ReFramed.
Copyright: 2020, 2023
WGBH Educational Foundation and The Marshall Project
All Rights Reserved

FOR FRONTLINE

DIRECTOR OF POST PRODUCTION Megan McGough Christian

SENIOR EDITOR Barry Clegg

EDITOR Brenna Verre

EDITOR Joey Mullin

EDITOR & POST PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Tim Meagher

ASSISTANT EDITORS Christine Giordano
Alex LaGore

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Stevie Jones

FOR GBH OUTPOST

SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY Tim Mangini

INTERNS Ruby Goodman
Jade Kwitkiwski
Joseph Lingad
Ziyi Xu

SERIES MUSIC Mason Daring
Martin Brody

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Ellen O’Neill

OPERATIONS SPECIALIST Will Farrell

DIRECTOR OF IMPACT AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS Erika Howard

SENIOR DIGITAL WRITER Patrice Taddonio

PUBLICITY & AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR Julia Heffernan

DIGITAL PRODUCER / EDITOR Tessa Maguire

MANAGER, PUBLIC RELATIONS & COMMUNICATIONS Anne Husted

PODCAST PRODUCER Emily Pisacreta

ARCHIVES & RIGHTS MANAGER John Campopiano

BUSINESS ASSOCIATE Sean Gigliotti

FOR GBH LEGAL

Eric Brass
Suzy Carrington
Jay Fialkov

SENIOR CONTRACTS MANAGER Gianna DeGiulio

BUSINESS MANAGER Sue Tufts

BUSINESS DIRECTOR Mary Sullivan

SENIOR DEVELOPER Anthony DeLorenzo

LEAD DESIGNER FOR DIGITAL Dan Nolan

FRONTLINE/COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL FELLOWSHIPS TOW JOURNALISM FELLOW Kaela Malig

FRONTLINE/NEWMARK JOURNALISM SCHOOL AT CUNY FELLOWSHIP TOW JOURNALISM FELLOW James O’Donnell

FRONTLINE/MISSOURI SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIP MURRAY JOURNALISM FELLOW Kelsey Rightnowar

FRONTLINE/FIRELIGHT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM FELLOWS Kevin Shaw Débora Souza Silva

ARCHIVAL PRODUCER Coral C. Salomón Bartolomei

EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS Lauren Prestileo
Callie T. Wiser

SENIOR DIGITAL PRODUCER / EDITOR Miles Alvord

SENIOR DOCUMENTARY EDITOR & PRODUCER Michelle Mizner

DIGITAL EDITOR Priyanka Boghani

STORY EDITOR & COORDINATING PRODUCER Katherine Griwert

POST COORDINATING PRODUCER Robin Parmelee

SENIOR EDITOR AT LARGE Louis Wiley Jr.

FOUNDER David Fanning

SPECIAL COUNSEL Dale Cohen

DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Maria Diokno

SENIOR PRODUCERS Dan Edge
Frank Koughan

SENIOR PRODUCER, SPECIAL PROJECTS & INNOVATION Carla Borrás

SENIOR EDITOR & DIRECTOR, LOCAL JOURNALISM Erin Texeira

SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER Nina Chaudry

SENIOR EDITOR, INVESTIGATIONS Lauren Ezell Kinlaw

MANAGING DIRECTOR Janice Hui

MANAGING EDITOR Andrew Metz

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Raney Aronson-Rath

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Cary Aspinwall Twitter Email is a staff writer for The Marshall Project. Previously, she was an investigative reporter at The Dallas Morning News, where she reported on the impact of pre-trial incarceration and money bail on women and children in Texas and deaths in police custody involving excessive force and medical negligence. She won the Gerald Loeb Award for reporting on a Texas company's history of deadly natural gas explosions and is a past Pulitzer finalist for her work exposing flaws in Oklahoma's execution process.

Alysia Santo Twitter Email is a staff writer. She has investigated criminal justice issues including for-profit prisoner transportation, the bail industry, victim compensation and the sexual abuse of people behind bars. Her reporting has spurred state and federal investigations, and was awarded Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2021. She is also a three-time finalist for the Livingston Award and was twice named runner-up for the John Jay College/H.F. Guggenheim Prize for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting.