Today, there are more Americans in prison or jail, on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. The prison population has exploded by 500% since the end of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. America locks up more of its racial and ethnic minorities than any other country (including South Africa at the height of apartheid).
How could this happen?
If you want to understand this tragic problem, and explore ways to overcome it, you need to see BROKEN ON ALL SIDES.
Made on a shoestring budget, this "on the ground" documentary centers around Michelle Alexander's theory in her groundbreaking book, "The New Jim Crow." Throughout the rise of the War on Drugs and "tough on crime" policies that were reactions to the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s and 70s, mass incarceration has emerged as America's new caste system. Discretion within the system allows for targeting people of color at disproportionately high rates, and collateral consequences of criminal records allow for legalized discrimination in nearly every aspect of citizenship. BROKEN ON ALL SIDES dissects "get tough" rhetoric and crime policies, illustrates how the emerging Occupy movement offers hope for change, and explores possible reforms and solutions to ending mass incarceration and this new racial caste system.
Jim Crow was crushed by a multi-racial movement lead by African Americans themselves, which took on the courts, politicians, and social relations in society. But almost every form of discrimination against African Americans that was defeated by the Civil Rights Movement is today alive and perfectly legal when applied to “criminals.” The problem is that through conscious and unconscious choices, with the approval of politicians and the Supreme Court, black Americans have been targeted at significantly higher rates for stops & frisks, arrests, prosecution, and harsher sentences. So, where does this leave criminal justice?
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