Penitentiary is a 1979 American blaxploitation drama film starring Leon Isaac Kennedy as Martel "Too Sweet" Gordone that deals with the wrongful imprisonment of a black youth. The film was released on November 21, 1979.
This film was the third movie directed by Jamaa Fanaka. Fanaka made the film while he was still a student at UCLA thanks to government grants. These grants were not substantive enough to allow Fanaka to film in more than a few locations which consisted of the UCLA campus, a derelict prison, and a few parks. Aside from the limited locations, there was also a limited amount of talent that could be afforded by Fanaka. Despite these limitations Penitentiary was still the top-grossing independent film of that year.