Handcuffed Prisoner

Source: Erika Kyte / Getty

Did you know that there are more Black men on parol, probation or in the prison system than enslaved Blacks in 1850?

What attributes to our high rates of incarceration? What about the system continues to put African-Americans at a such a disadvantage in the eyes of the law?

In their new “Truth Series” series documentary Charged: The DA vs. Black America,” BET explores the role that district attorneys across the country play in the mass incarceration epidemic and the harsh and disproportionate sentencing of African-American men.

Director Shoshana Guy recently told The Grio that she hopes that her new film will wake folks up to the true power that DAs have.

DAs are elected officials, and the public has the power to hold them accountable,” Guy said. 

As a journalist, I have always been interested in criminal justice and have reported on the subject a lot over the years. Mass incarceration as it relates to the African-American community is a very complex subject that can end up feeling unwieldy, and so I was looking for a kind of singular lens through which I could try and put some context to how we got here,” she added.

Working on the film and interviewing everyday African-Americans, Guy was shocked to see how little people knew about the impact DAs have on communities of color.

I was surprised to learn just how much power DAs wield and how disengaged much of the public is from these decision makers,” Guy admitted. 

And even after more than a decade of being in the field, it still shocks me to bear witness to the depth of the destruction that mass incarceration has had on the Black community,” she concluded. 

Take a look at the trailer below:

Charged: The DA vs. Black America airs Monday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. EST on BET.

 

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