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Jun 6, 2018

The United States, far and away, has the largest prison population in the world. It also has one of the greatest disparities in their prison population of ethnic minorities in the world. How does a country that prides itself on being a “beacon of freedom” and whose leaders travel the world scolding other countries on “human rights” find itself to be the largest carceral state of the 21st century? 

What are the cultural forces that reinforce racist attitudes, deference to the police and prosecutors, and a belief that 7 million people – or, the equivalent population of Washington DC, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, and Rhode Island – all belong in cages or on parole or prohibition.

For this show – recorded live in Brooklyn, NY on May 25, 2018 – we will follow a hypothetical "defendant," the median being an African-American in their early 20's, from birth to the time they sit in front of a judge and, at each point, examine how the media stacks the deck against them. We cover this in five parts, each representing different moments in this chain of events - Birth, Childhood, Adolescence, the Arrest and the Plea – and show how the media conspires to make a not guilty verdict all but impossible. 

We are joined by Rachel Foran and Naila Siddiqui of Court Watch NYC.