You should know about it. Too many people don’t realize just how damaging it is to so many lives. For example, mandatory minimum sentencing is cited by many to be untenable, private prison systems incentivize incarceration, and minorities have been arguably unfairly targeted.
To start your journey, check out this article about how more than 90 percent of state and federal criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas, often by people who say they didn’t commit a crime.
Also, watch 13th by Ava DuVernay on Netflix. It’s my first in-depth exploration of these issues. It was Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary and won multiple Primetime Emmy Awards, Best Documentary at the BAFTA Film Awards, and many others.
DuVernay contends that slavery has been perpetuated in practices since the end of the American Civil War through such actions as criminalizing behavior and enabling police to arrest poor freedmen and force them to work for the state under convict leasing; suppression of African Americans by disenfranchisement, lynchings and Jim Crow; politicians declaring a war on drugs that weigh more heavily on minority communities and, by the late 20th century, mass incarceration of people of color in the United States. She examines the prison-industrial complex and the emerging detention-industrial complex, demonstrating how much money is being made by corporations from such incarcerations.
13th has garnered acclaim from film critics. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.