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USA: Lions Gate Films
Cast: LisaRaye, N'Bushe Wright, Mos Def, Da Brat, Monica Calhoun, Clifton Powell, Tichina Arnold, Lark Voorhies, MC Lyte, Robert Lynn, Reed R McCants
Director: Neema Barnette
USA: 95 mins
USA Rated: R for violence including a rape, and for pervasive strong language
USA Release Date: 29 August 2003 (Limited Release)
"Welcome to the plantation, sister Frances."
With those words, Frances Shepherd (LisaRaye), a beautiful young mother and nurse, is greeted upon her arrival at Whitehead Correctional Institute, a maximum-security prison for women. Surrounded by hardened repeat offenders, this meek woman - incarcerated for killing her abusive husband - has just joined the ranks of one of the most lucrative businesses in America: the prison industrial complex. With every eye-opening day that passes, with every cruelty leveled against Shepherd and her fellow inmates, it becomes more and more obvious that profit-not rehabilitation-is the goal at Whitehead. After a series of pivotal events force the women to rise up against the injustices at the penitentiary, they band together against the "new plantation" workplace that harvests human labor for profit. But the odds are stacked against them.
Neema Barnette's feature film debut freshly injects socio-political commentary into the prison-film genre. With a cast that includes rap stars DaBrat, Mos Def and MC Lyte and features standout performances LisaRaye, N'Bushe Wright and Monica Calhoun, CIVIL BRAND fiercely takes on 'the system' that women face in today's corrections structure.