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Troop 1500
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars
2005, 68 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W05876
Their mothers may be convicted thieves, murderers and drug dealers, but the girls of Troop 1500 want to be doctors, social workers and marine biologists. With meetings once a month at Hilltop Prison in Gatesville, Texas, this innovative Girl Scout program brings daughters together with their inmate mothers, offering them a chance to rebuild their broken relationships. Intimately involved with the troop for several years, the directors took their cameras far beyond meetings to explore the painful context of broken families. Powerful insight comes from interviews shot by the girls themselves, which reveal their conflicted feelings of anger and joy, abandonment and intimacy—as well as the deep influence their mothers still have on them.

An estimated 1.5 million children have incarcerated parents and 90 percent of female inmates are single parents. Their daughters are six times more likely to land in the juvenile justice system. TROOP 1500 poignantly reveals how an inspired yet controversial effort by the more than 90-year old Girl Scouts organization is working to help these at-risk young girls deal with their unique circumstances and break the cycle of crime within families.


  • San Diego Girl Film Festival
  • Asheville Film Festival
  • Savannah Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • MoMA Documentary Fortnight
  • South by Southwest Film Festival
  • Florida Film Festival
  • GirlFest, Hawaii
  • Go Girls! at Symphony Space

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    “Captures the hopes and fears of girls who are separated from their mothers who are in prison and the exciting work that Girl Scouts Beyond Bars does to bring them closer. The emotional result is both realistic and uplifting, as all the girls struggle to find their rightful places in life. Girl Scouts applauds…[this] moving and life-changing documentary.”
    Kathy Cloninger
    CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

    “Inspired… a tough, uncompromising, yet affectionate look at young girls dealing with major daily concerns.”
    Austin Chronicle

    “Reveal[s] something never seen on film until now. Troop 1500 is precious resource to understand how incarceration affects families.”
    Darlene Grant, PhD
    Dean of Grad. Studies & Prof. of Social Work, Univ. of Texas

    “Heart-breaking but also heartening…Troop 1500 is innovative, especially in placing the video camera into the girl’s hands as they interview their mothers.”
    Janet Staiger
    Professor, Dept. Radio-TV-Film, Univ. of Texas at Austin

    "heartwarming and heartrending, the film shines a light on an ignored segment of society and considers how America can prevent the children of the incarcerated from feeling punished themselves."
    "O", The Oprah Magazine

    "Inspiring and compelling, TROOP 1500 steers clear of sentimentality and drives home the magnitude of the difficulty of breaking the cycle of crime."
    The Chicago Reader

    “Poignant…Emotional journeys unfold as seven young girls meet with their mothers and social workers in an attempt to rebuild broken relationships, explore feelings of abandonment and anger, and (hopefully) break 'the cycle'. Recommended”
    Video Librarian

    “Poignant… Rather than existing as simple stereotypes or statistics, these girls show us the individuality of their family situations. …an invaluable, powerful viewing experience for anyone interested in the contemporary prison crisis in the U.S., especially in regards to how it affects incarcerated women and their daughters.”
    Kathryn R. Kent
    The Scholar and Feminist Online

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    Troop 1500 is included in the following Special Collections.
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