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ESPHS Hosts “The Command Center to Bring Women Home” Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion

-- The free event takes place at Eastern State Penitentiary on July 18 at 6:00 p.m. --

July 6, 2023

As a part of its ongoing Searchlight Series, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site will host a free screening of the PBS Independent Lens documentary “The Command Center to Bring Women Home,” followed by a panel discussion and reception with three women featured in the film, on the evening of Tuesday, July 18, 2023.

“The Command Center to Bring Women Home” is centered around the experiences of three Philadelphia women: Starr Granger, Tamika Bell, and Paulette Carrington. In the documentary, the women recount their experiences of imprisonment and reentry, and, together, they dream up a space run by and for formerly incarcerated women where they can reunite with family, comfort one another, and heal.

The film will be projected inside the historic Eastern State Penitentiary, a prison museum that once housed women during its early years as an operational correctional facility and now interprets the legacy of the criminal justice system in America.

The screening will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with Starr Granger, Tamika Bell, and Paulette Carrington, who are featured in the documentary. A reception will follow; complimentary soft drinks and light fare will be provided. This event is free and open to the public. No reservations required.

“We are honored to bring these voices to Eastern State,” said Sean Kelley, Senior Vice President at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. “Women are one of the fastest growing populations inside American prisons and jails, yet their needs are often overlooked by a system designed largely by and for men. We are grateful to Starr, Tamika, and Paulette for sharing their stories and shining a light on this critical issue facing our communities.”

Event Details:
The Searchlight Series: The Command Center to Bring Women Home
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
- 6:00 – 7:00 pm: Film screening and panel discussion
- 7:00 – 7:30 pm: Reception. Complimentary soft drinks and light fare provided.
In person at Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Free and open to the public. No reservations required.

About Independent Lens:
@independentlens is America’s home for independent documentary film. Each week the award-winning series delivers engaging documentaries crafted by the industry’s boldest filmmakers. Independent Lens films have won 19 Emmy Awards, 16 Peabody Awards, five duPont-Columbia University Awards, and have received 10 Academy Award nominations. Independent Lens won the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2022 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.

About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site:
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform, from the nation’s founding through to the present day, within the long-abandoned cellblocks of the nation’s most historic prison.

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells held approximately 80,000 men and women during its 142 years of operation, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is open for tours year-round. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; award-winning exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

In recent years, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site has been awarded the prestigious Excellence in Exhibitions award by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the nation’s highest award in exhibition development and design, for its exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration, as well as the Institutional Award for Special Achievement from the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and the Trustee Emeritus Award for Stewardship from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The LEAD Fellowship, formerly called the Returning Citizens Tour Guide Project, has won the EdCom Award for Innovation in Museum Education by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and has been featured internationally by such networks as the BBC and others.

For more information, visit and follow Eastern State Penitentiary on FacebookInstagram, and Tik Tok.


2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner