Public awareness of mass incarceration has grown in recent years, thanks to books like Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness and DuVernay's Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning 13th. In both the book and film, both Alexander and DuVernay tell us that the solutions must be short and long term. In 2018, the U.S. imprisons more people than any other nation and the problem of mass incarceration has reached crisis levels with more than 2.3 million people behind bars 1 .
Mass Incarceration is systemic, complex and deep-seated in multiple places in our society.Colossal problems involve big longterm solutions, and the processes of achieving true justice, de-carceration, and healing are not easy, but it is our moral imperative to tackle this issue.
We must educate ourselves and our communities, have some difficult conversations about privilege and discrimination, as well as strengthen communities who can end this crisis with a breadth of solutions. Brave New Films hopes our body of work can act as a tool to help advance conversations in our classrooms and neighborhoods.
The Films & Series
The Bail Trap: American Ransom
1. Breaking Down Bail
1. Healing Trauma: The War on Drug Addiction
1. Immigrant Prisons
Justice in Crisis: Mass Incarceration in America
1. Prison System by the Numbers
1. Restorative Justice: Why Do We Need It?
This is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Illness
All films are free to use by the public.
Screening films is a great way to get the conversation about this crisis started in your community. Whether you are an individual who wants to schedule a screening at your local library or an organization or group that wants to take action, our community screenings are simple and easy to set up. We can even help you promote your screening. Click here to schedule a screening in your community.
It is critical to talk about mass incarceration in our classrooms. Young people today have only lived in a world where mass incarceration is the norm. By tackling this topic, educators can look at the history of the problem, connect history with contemporary policies and expose underlying factors such as racism in America. Young people are also a part of the solution and imagining futures where we are not caging people with mental health trauma, futures where we are treating drug addiction as a medical issue rather than a criminal one, and a future that reimagines how we approach what real justice looks like. Click here to learn more about using our films in the classroom.
Communities of faith and moral conscience must reform systems of mass incarceration that dehumanize, exploit, and damage the mind and bodies of individuals as scriptures and theologies from all over the world condemn us from cruelty and mistreatment. Each of us must be held to account by our worldview and by our interconnected nature to uplift those who have been dishonored, most importantly communities of color and other social, economic, religious, and sexual and gender-based minorities, so that we may further achieve the equity and justice we deserve. From the divestment of privatized prisons to the development of redemptive and sustainable rehabilitation programs, each of us can find a way to get involved and make a difference. Click here to screen films about mass incarceration with your faith group.
Check out the following organizations for how you can learn more and take action.
Interactive Tools and Games
ACLU Smart Justice 50 State Blueprint Tool
The Smart Justice 50-State Blueprints shows how each state can cut the number of people behind bars by half.
The Bail Trap Game
We're taking it back to the old school with this 8-bit game! Select a character, get arrested, and see how the consequences of money bail play out for you.
Sentencing Project State-by-State Data
The Sentencing Project compiles state-level criminal justice data from a variety of sources. Using three tabs, you can navigate between interactive features that allow you to access and use these data.
Vera Institute of Justice incarceration Trends
Data tool providing information on jail and prison populations in every U.S. county
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New Press, 2012.
Bauer, Shane. American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment. Penguin Press, 2018.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. Speigel & Grau, 2015.
Dreisinge, Baz. Incarceration Nations. Other Press, 2016.
Hayes, Chris. A Colony in a Nation. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.
Mauer, Mark & Ashley Nellis. The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences. New Press, 2018.
Roth, Alisa. Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness. Basic Books, 2018.
Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Liverlight, 2017.
Stephenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Spiegel & Grau, 2014.
Thompson, Heather Ann. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Pantheon, 2016.