Charles S. Dutton stars in this Lifetime original movie based on a true story. Dutton plays an officer who really cares about the prisoners in a Texas juvenile correctional facility. Yaya DaCosta plays Vanessa, a repeat offender whose only crime this time around was that she loved a man who put the gun he used to commit a crime into her hands, leaving her to be apprehended by the police. Vanessa is a tough girl who, although has not been associated with the best people, is still a decent young woman.
When Officer Stackhouse (Dutton) witnesses her running in the yard, he decides to start a track team, which he hopes will provide an outlet to replace the rage and hate that resides deep within these young women. The prisoners separate themselves by race, and the groups do not get along. By putting them on a running team, Stackhouse, or Stack as the girls call him, hopes to instill a sense of camaraderie and pride that these women do not have.
Elizabeth Pena also stars as the superintendent who had reservations about the running team but sees the potential benefit to the women. After all, nothing else has helped and these women continue to fight among themselves, which, she feels, will only land them back in the facility later on if they do not participate in something worthwhile in their lives. A running team will not only provide them with a sense of belonging, but the endorphins increased by running also have a great psychological effect.
This is an insightful look inside a juvenile correctional facility, and the fact that the story is based on reality makes it all the more compelling. By joining the team, the girls gain self-esteem and to the amazement of everyone, become more unified than anyone expected. The changes in these young women are astounding, and the hope is that they will not revert to drugs, fighting, prostitution and other criminal actions after they are paroled.
Racing for Time premieres February 16 at 9:00 PM PT/ET on Lifetime.