RIKERS: An American Jail
Bill Moyers PBS 8-21-2017
The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80 percent have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face.
All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. RIKERS: An American Jail, a riveting new documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told directly to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience — from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.
Since the initial release of RIKERS last fall, there has been widespread discussion and debate about the future of the prison complex. In April 2017, The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform released its recommendations and called for closing Rikers and replacing it with smaller jails in the city’s five boroughs.
Just prior to the report’s release New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his prior position that closing Rikers Island Jail was not feasible and announced his support for closing Rikers, but said it will take a decade to do so.
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Please be sure to visit the official RIKERS website for more information about the film, mass incarceration in America and efforts at criminal justice reform. Also, please like @RIKERSfilm on Facebook and follow @RIKERSfilm on Twitter to get the latest information and contribute to the already robust online community talking about the film.
RIKERS, which recently won a 2017 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award, is a production of Schumann Media Center, Inc. and Brick City TV LLC, in association with Public Square Media, Inc. Produced by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, with producer Rolake Bamgbose. Edited by Jason Pollard. Director of Photography Mark Benjamin. Executive Producer, Judy Doctoroff O’Neill. Executive Editor, Bill Moyers.
Adam Benforado @ the Commonwealth Club - Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice
A child is gunned down by a police officer; an investigator ignores critical clues in a case; an innocent man confesses to a crime he did not commit; a jury acquits a killer. The evidence is all around us: Our system of justice is fundamentally broken.
But it’s not for the reasons we tend to think, as law professor Adam Benforado argues in this eye-opening, galvanizing book. Even if the system operated exactly as it was designed to, we would still end up with wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and unequal treatment. This is because the roots of injustice lie not inside the dark hearts of racist police officers or dishonest prosecutors, but within the minds of each and every one of us.
Around half of all the inmates put on parole in the U.S. end up violating the terms of their release and are sent back to prison. But across the country, states are trying to change the way their parole systems work in an effort to lower recidivism rates and reduce prison populations.
A new documentary called Life on Parole, FRONTLINE and The New York Times go inside one state, Connecticut, to examine its ongoing effort to rethink parole: a condition that offers a taste of freedom but comes with strict prohibitions on whom you can live with, where you can go, what time you have to be home and more.
“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”
"With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state:"
Watch this important documentary
Writing my wrongs: Shaka Senghor
"Making the best out of a bad situation." Writer, mentor and motivational speaker, Shaka Senghor gives us a candid, behind the scenes peek into his life leading up to and during his incarceration for second degree murder. Witty and eloquent in his delivery, Shaka offers sobering firsthand accounts of redemption, the power of hope and how literature changed his life.
Shaka Senghor's story of redemption has inspired young adults at high schools and universities across the nation. While serving 19 years in prison, Senghor discovered his love for writing. He has written six books, including a memoir about his life in prison, Writing My Wrongs. In 2012, Senghor's Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project won a Black Male Engagement Leadership Award from the Knight Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Foundation's Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Senghor has also recently been named a Director's Fellow at MIT for his work.
From Bill Moyer's web site:
Incarceration Nation : December 20, 2013
America’s prison population has exploded from 300,000 to more than two million today due to harsh sentencing policies and the 40-year-old war on drugs. This week, Bill speaks to civil rights lawyer and legal scholar Michelle Alexander about why we need to end our system of mass incarceration.
The program also includes an excerpt from the film Susan, by Tessa Blake and Emma Hewitt. It tells the story of former California inmate Susan Burton who built an organization in Los Angeles devoted to helping formerly-incarcerated women rebuild their lives.
Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive