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Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and New Visions for Criminal Justice (2012)

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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.

Through interviews with people caught up in or involved with the system, BROKEN ON ALL SIDES dissects the War on Drugs and "tough on crime" movement, and explores possible reforms and solutions to ending mass incarceration.

 

Building a Movement to End The New Jim Crow

Take Action: After you've watched the film, download the related organizing guide for free at http://www.newjimcroworganizing.org/

As Daniel Hunter, the author of the guide, writes:

"This booklet is for people who want to act for change. It offers tools and activities you can use in groups. It’s filled with practical tips and strategic principles, with real-life examples of campaigns around the country. Each section ends with guiding questions to help think about next steps.

Chapter 1 looks at different roles played in movements, examining our own strengths and those of others. Chapter 2 focusses on building strong groups. Groups generate social power and are a building block of movement work. Chapter 3 examines creating change through campaigns. Campaigns harness the power of groups and direct that power toward a single goal. With intention and focus, campaigns create pressure to enact specific, concrete changes. By making these changes, we can chip away at the larger oppressive system and hone our ability to transform society."

 

Follow the project at: www.facebook.com/newvisionsforcriminaljustice

 

"Broken On All Sides is a compelling documentary addressing racial inequities within our criminal justice system and its devastating collateral consequences. It is an excellent resource to use in educating, motivating, and empowering your group, organization, or community on this critical issue." 
- James E. Williams, Jr., Public Defender & Chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Criminal Justice System

"Those among us who might think the struggle for 'Civil Rights' is essentially a done deal face a rude awakening.  Of several urgent moral mountains still to climb, U.S. criminal law & incarceration reform is a major one.  Matt Pillischer's film Broken On All Sides joins Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and Douglas Blackmon's Slavery By Another Name as poignant present-tense calls-to-arms.  A subject no honest feeling citizen dare avoid."
- Gladden Schrock, Pulitzer-nominated Writer/Cultural Analyst

"Broken On All Sides is an invaluable teaching resource. The American penal system has to be at the center of any discussion of racial inequality, and this documentary powerfully demonstrates the human toll of this inhumane system. While clear-eyed in its assessment of the many obstacles to change, it is a compelling call to action." 
- Greta Snyder, Instructor of Racial Politics, University of Virginia

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