When someone is incarcerated, female family members often pick up the pieces. Women care for children, scrape together commissary money and pay hundreds of dollars for telephone calls to keep families connected. They are the rock. But the financial and emotional strain of having loved ones behind bars can take a toll upon women on the outside. This is one piece of the unseen legacy of mass incarceration in the United States.

Many women in Philadelphia know this story well. Pennsylvania incarcerates about 49,000 people in its state prisons. Almost half are black. Nearly one in three prisoners enters the system from Philadelphia County. Many must travel more than three hours to visit their loved ones. These numbers shape families.

One of those families is that of 28-year-old Kristal Bush. When she was three years old, her father went to prison. Her cousins, brothers, friends and lovers followed. Six years ago, Kristal founded Bridging the Gap, a van service that transports people from Philadelphia to faraway prisons for visits.

Women on the Outside, an ongoing multimedia project and forthcoming feature length documentary that follows Kristal Bush and her family navigate the daily impact of incarceration, while documenting the experience of a group of Bridging the Gap riders, offering a glimpse into the lives of this group of women on the outside trying to stay connected to loved ones behind bars.

Directors / Producers

Zara Katz

Zara Katz is a multimedia producer for editorial, documentary and branded content. She directs, produces, shoots and develops projects from photo essays to short films. Collaboration is key to her work, from supporting photo and video journalists in the field, to working directly with reporters and organization to shoot, produce and deliver original content. Her personal work examines the impact of mass incarceration in America through producing and curating visual content on the web and exhibitions. Katz has worked at The New York Times Lens blog, Time magazine and Newsweek and been on staff at the digital publication Narratively and the journalism nonprofit started by Barbara Ehrenreich, Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She received her Master’s degree at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she has also been adjunct faculty.

Lisa Riordan Seville

Lisa Riordan Seville is an independent reporter and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. Over the last ten years, she has focused on longform stories and investigations on criminal and social justice issues, from people incarcerated for failing to pay court fines to immigration to the longterm fallout of the nation's foreclosure crisis. She has worked  for the NBC News Investigative Unit as an off-air and assistant producer on in-depth stories for television and the web. Her work has also appeared on WNYC New York Public Radio, The Guardian, The Nation and Salon.com, among other outlets. Support for those stories has come from The Open Society Foundations, the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, the Center for Health Journalism and the Urban Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She holds a masters in journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Together, Zara Katz and Lisa Riordan Seville founded and produce @EverydayIncarceration, a collaborative Instagram feed of photography documenting 40 years of mass incarceration in the United States.