Daughters of Addiction

Over the last decade, the rate of female incarceration in Tennessee has jumped a whopping 47%—why?

woman in jail in laundry room
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 21, 2020
11:49 minutes
Funding Initiative
Short-Form Series and Special Projects
filmmaker Dilsey Davis

Dilsey Davis

Dilsey’s life mission is to use the arts, and particularly film, to advance society by building social bridges and fostering a greater understanding of the equality of all people. She recently provided story development for the FOX series, Phenoms, and production support to the HBO sports documentary, Momentum Generation. Dilsey directed the short The Gerrymandered Campus Show more for YR Media and is currently working on a feature documentary about the 1969 protest of Black students at Duke University in Durham, NC. Prior to her expansion into documentaries, she wrote and directed commercials, narrative films, and television programs. Other work includes directing the award-winning short film The Other Side, adapted from a children’s book of the same name and writing the feature screenplays, There’s My Angel, and Boys of a Dusty Hue. Most notably, she was the creator, producer and director of Nuestro Barrio, the first Spanish-language series to air on English-language television in the United States. She also developed multimedia marketing campaigns as well as national and international communication initiatives for both government and non-governmental sectors, including World Bank, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Dilsey is the founder of Café con Leche Media and the co-founder of One Human Family Workshops, Inc., a non-profit organization that uses the Arts to promote racial and religious unity. She also serves on the board of the Anika James Foundation, which provides financial support for the artistic development and education of young people. She received a B.S. degree from Duke University in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy and a Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Show less

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The Film

Daughters of Addiction examines the unprecedented surge in the number of women behind bars in Tennessee. Between 2009 and 2019, the rate of female incarceration jumped 47%. The increase is particularly severe in rural eastern Tennessee, where the sheriff of the Anderson County jail says nearly all cases involve substance abuse. This story focuses on two women arrested on drug possession and other charges, both of whom are determined to overcome their addictions. One is still serving time while the other has been released and is making a new life for herself on the outside.