Hard Time: Jail Mom

At the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) in Las Vegas, Nevada, male and female inmates are housed under one roof, separated by mere floors, but worlds apart. From intense affection to extreme aggression, for women, doing time is a life of treacherous contrasts.

No figure embodies these extremes more, perhaps, than the “jail mom.” Older, wiser, steeped in the ways of the convict, the jail mom’s influence can be benevolent or vengeful, nurturing or violent. Younger inmates are helped on their way as they break into prison life, or held under their sway. Officers rely on cellblock matriarchs to maintain order and stability, but must check their power lest they become “shot callers” or “tank bosses.”

Tess Collins, 50, is a self-styled jail mom. She’s been locked up at the CCDC in Vegas twenty-two times, mainly for dealing drugs. Tess tries to coax younger inmates out of the “game” before they fall in too deep, before it’s too late, using her own wasted life as a cautionary tale. She abandoned her own children and sees her role as a jail mom as a one of redemption. But when she’s released on bail onto the streets of Vegas, she learns a painful truth: jail may be a better home for her than freedom.

Rosemary Vandecar, 54, is another kind of jail mom. She is remarkably eloquent, a voice for peace and harmony in one of the hardest tanks in the women’s jail. But her pacifism is belied by her charges – 1st degree murder; and her goodwill is assailed by skeptical inmates and thwarted by wary officers.

One inmate who doesn’t question Rosemary’s intentions is her “daughter” Denise Crocketts, 22. Pinky, as she is known, is a self-described goofball, with a violent streak: she’s in for second-degree murder. As hard as Rosemary tries to keep her in check, the hotheaded Denise is baited into fight after fight. Her misconduct in jail will affect her sentencing – and the more of her life Denise spends in prison, the less of it she will spend raising her own two-year-old daughter.


Tune in to Hard Time: Jail Mom, Tuesday September 4th at 9P et/pt.


  1. unknown
    las vegas
    September 6, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Denise should be away from her child. She took our child away from us. An the sentence she got wasn’t enough. Each time she acts out she needs to be handed an extra 5 years. I hope she dies in there.

  2. unknown
    las vegas
    September 11, 2012, 12:35 pm

    what denise did was wrong true enough but my sister is serving her time she should not be away from her child both them lil girls need a mom …im behind my sister 100% im sorry for what happend to britt but you will not continue to stock her life let the system do there jobs ….let go and let god

  3. unknown
    September 12, 2012, 10:04 am

    Denise should have gotten life without parole. She took a life and she was sitting in jail laughing and having a good time, but her true colors showed when the judge handed her the sentence and the violent Denise came out again! She did not get enough time and I’m sure she will do something wrong while in prison and hopefully they will give her additional time. JUSTICE WAS NOT SERVED IN THIS CASE!

  4. Lorraine Gadsden
    September 18, 2012, 4:56 pm

    u all r so ignorant

  5. NoSympathyforCrocketts
    September 22, 2012, 9:34 pm

    Denise Crocketts, deserved life in prison. And, I AGREE her true colors DID shine all the way through, during her sentencing. My deepest condolences to the victims family. I hope that Miss Crocketts, meets her match in prison. Or, at the very least that victim, haunts her EVERY NIGHT for the rest of her natural life. For she is an animal, who should’ve had the book, thrown at her. What kind of example is she, for her daughter? Just sickening. She’s right where here butt belongs, in a cage with all the other animals.

  6. Rossy
    September 22, 2012, 10:42 pm

    I believe what she did was wrong. But God will get with her on that. We are not judges because non of of are perfect and we all make mistakes. I know she’s very sorry and she will leave with that guilt the rest of her life and that’s the worse she can get. But none of her children have to pay for what happens and I really hope that she can see her kids soon. I feel sorry for the victim parents, but this is what Gods has planned for her and I am sure she is in paradise right now with a better life after. Sometimes earth is like hell. Well I hope the best for each family because this is 2 broken heart families. 🙁

  7. Eric
    November 5, 2012, 6:11 am

    I am sorry rossy but you seem to be placing blame for what is happening to her children in the wrong place.

    She WILLINGLY made the decision to TAKE ANOTHER PERSONS LIFE unjustly. One of the penalties for this is being taken away from her children.

    Again SHE CHOOSE to do something that resulted in her being away from her children. SHE CHOOSE to be away from them.

    Not the judges, not the system BUT SHE HERSELF.

    I find it disterbing you do not give AT MINIMUM EQUAL sympathy for the victim and their family but brush it under the rug by such an assinine statement

    “I feel sorry for the victim parents, but this is what Gods has planned for her and I am sure she is in paradise right now with a better life after”.

    Sorry but while her kids can still send letters, visit her in jail and most importantly grow up her victim is DEAD.

    They cannot see their family, grow old, or communicate with anyone.

    It is people like you that give more sympathy to the criminal than the victims that make me sick.

  8. Jillian
    March 12, 2013, 2:46 pm

    I’m sorry I’ve been to the Nevada state prison for woman better known as smiley road and if that’s “justice” then I was born 5 feet tall right Now mrs croketts is in an adult daycare far from prison and if she had life in that place it still wouldn’t do no justice

  9. cherelle
    March 26, 2013, 11:27 am

    nobody knows what happend that day and why she did was she did. so stop judging her.
    pinky aint gonne see her daughter grow up and she is in jail now doing time so shut up bout that girl let her be…..free pinky

  10. sabrina
    January 3, 2014, 6:17 am

    My heart goes out to both families. However, I pray for pinky I pray that she will receive salvation and she will accept Christ into her life. What she did was wrong but when you are in Sin you are capable of doing anything yes there is consequences for sin however she still deserve the right to be forgiving. We all will have to give an account for everything we do. Remember that we must be careful what we speak over ppl lives because we dont wont to reap whst we sow…ijs

  11. Reno_Pig
    November 21, 2014, 5:11 am

    A lot of people deserve, and need to be incarcerated. Although this is a fact, remember that after DNA came forth in Law Enforcement, 12% of the people that were convicted for serious crimes were found to be innocent out of the 15% that were allowed to challenge the court’s verdict. Denise Crocketts and Pinky are guilty in my opinion, however I find it difficult to lay blame when I did not partake in the Jury where they were allowed to hear all facts allowed by the magistrate. Please stop bringing God into these discussions, because if God wanted to do something about it, I’m sure it would happen without these unwarranted prayers. And for people that just want to preach, and read the Bible all day, you zealots can’t spell to save your souls. Now, I know everyone hates cops, and I used to be one for a long time in Nevada. But I must warn all of you, there are no cops as bad as the (NHP) Nevada Highway Patrol! Hillbilly Texas Sheriffs can’t hold a candle to the NHP! They lie with every breath out of their DSL’s, and if you have been pulled over in Nevada, you have heard something like this lie…”You were traveling faster, but I’m going to do you a favor today and only charge you with blah-blah-blah.” Just don’t get caught by those Bastards!!! I’d go into first hand details, but it won’t save you.

  12. jason
    January 30, 2015, 12:32 pm

    People should be punished for there crime. yes I agree. but at the same time WE as Christians should Forgive them to. Because IF we do not forgive someone How can God forgive us? it says it in the Bible. to forgive one another. ask God to help U. and he will good time.

  13. Jeff
    Knoc co
    December 5, 2015, 2:23 pm

    Rosemary is a monster and is where she belongs. There is punishment on this earth and in the afterlife.

  14. Chris Crawford
    Jacksonville, FL
    January 2, 2016, 1:36 am

    Denise is an EMOTIONAL INFANT. She said she’s “singing, dancing, making everybody laugh” in the jail dorm? Are you kidding me? While her supposed BEST FRIEND IS DEAD, after bleeding out from being STABBED IN THE NECK? This girl is REVOLTING!! I hope she serves the FULL 20!! AND, picks up additional charges in prison!! What a p.o.s., I swear… Saying “This is some bitch-ass bullshit” IN COURT? Good Lord…!!!!

  15. Matt
    June 13, 2016, 9:58 pm

    Denise deserve to die in prison !! Her daughter will be much better without this crazy hysterical girl ! She doesn’t look to be very sorry about what happened ! And Rosemary look very nice and “normal” but I found the real story about what happened to her old “friend” that she strangled and trust me that woman is the demon !! These women are in jail for good reason and sometimes we feel sorry for them when we see a documentary like this but in real they are almost all bad people and we don’t need them in our society ! !

  16. Jessica
    July 7, 2016, 5:02 am

    I agree, Rosemary is a monster. Sorry, I guess that sounds judgmental, but when you out yourself out there, please forgive me for judging. After watching the story, it’s very very easy to see right through the pity me act she thinks she portrays so well. It’s sad to say, but it’s also ready to see how swept up, God rest his soul, her victim was, when she was pulling that act on him. The whole, I WILL BOUNCE BACK LECTURE, sorry girl, ain’t buying it. Seriously, you are where you need to be and clearly, the time hasn’t helped to rehabilitate your sorry ways, not yet anyway