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Through dramatic first-hand accounts, expert testimony, and shocking statistics, Incarcerating US asks fundamental questions about the prison system in America: What is the purpose of prison? Why did our prison population explode in the 1970s? What can make our justice system more just?
The film begins with a brief overview of U.S. prisons and the flawed policies that fueled unprecedented overincarceration. In many cases, these laws exacerbate problems they were designed to solve. Through both empirical evidence and the eyes of those tragically affected by the system for committing minor crimes, we see the failures of two major initiatives: the War on Drugs and mandatory minimum sentences.
Incarcerating US tells the story of America's broken criminal justice system through the eyes of those who created it, those who have suffered through it, and those who are fighting to change it. After decades of failures, now is the time to unshackle the land of the free.
"A gripping depiction of the drug war run amok, showing in deeply human terms how inequality, racism, and politics have led to the most massive wave of imprisonment in American history. This heart-felt film provides excellent background on the causes and consequences of the mass incarceration crisis." - Craig Reinarman, Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of California-Santa Cruz, Author, Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice
"A powerful film, well-done. This is a film that everyone interested in understanding the history and dynamics of incarceration in the US should view!"
- Howard Zehr, Co-director, Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, Professor Emeritus, Sociology and Restorative Justice, Eastern Mennonite University
"This timely and powerful documentary draws much-needed attention to the human destruction of the War on Drugs and its harmful effect on individuals, families, and society. Incarcerating US should be widely shown in both college classrooms and community associations concerned with social justice. In addition to providing the historical and political context about mass incarceration, it shares touching stories of both hope and despair."
- Marc Howard, Professor of Government, Professor of Law, Director of the
Prisons and Justice Initiative, Georgetown University
DVD includes Scene Selection and SDH Captions (subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).