In the United States, the criminal justice system issupposedto be one of the most fair and just in the world. There are, however, many disparities in who is treated more harshly and who gets to walk away without any acknowledgement that they’ve committed a crime in the first place.
Studies find that:
- Black people get heavierjail/prison sentences.
- Black people arecharged more harshlyfor nonviolent crimes.
- Better plea dealsare offeredto non-black defendants.
- Black people are seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than white people, according to theNational Registry of Exonerations.
Here are a few movies you can watch to better understand the disparities of the criminal justice system.
Understand this is less of a time to grab popcorn and more an opportunity to grab pen and paper to take notes on the systemic biases that exist within the criminal justice system.
When They See Us
Written and produced byAva Duvernay, this miniseries is a harrowing account of the real-lifeCentral Park Five casethat convicted five innocent young black men, between the ages of 14 to 16. The miniseries shows that the young men openly stated that they had nothing to do with the crime they were being accused of, most did not know each other, but were also interrogated for hours upon hours without their parents, legal aid, or food and water—some even beaten up by police.
Four out of the five young men served 6-7 years, while the oldest of them (Korey Wise) was sentenced as an adult and served 12 years in federal prison—he was 16 years old. The other four men’s names areKevin Richardson,Raymond Santana,Yusef Salaam, andAntron McCray.You can watch it on Netflix.
Colin Warnerfound help from a friend who studied the law. Crown Heights takes you through how Warner gets wrongfully convicted even with unreliable eyewitness testimony presented.
The film shows how Warner’s friend Carl King continued to investigate on his behalf to help bring him home. Watch the trailer below. See the full movie onAmazon Prime.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a middleweight boxer who, at the height of his boxing career, finds himself wrongfully convicted of a triple murder and sentenced to three life sentences.
As the true story goes, the prosecution was produced little to no evidence linking Carter and another accused man (John Artis); however, they were still convicted. Their case, and the many others that speak to wrongful convictions under the criminal justice system, is why we protest, march, and work tirelessly to dismantle racism in all of its forms. You can watch the filmhereorhere.
Hurricane Carter has since passed, but you canwatch this interviewto hear directly from him.
Emmett Till, The Exonerated Five (Central Park case), theScottsboro Boys, and far too many more.
WatchTo Kill a Mockingbirdhere.