An Analysis of Broken On All Sides

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Broken On All Sides is a 2012 documentary film directed by Matthew Pillischer. Though it primarily focuses on the county jail system in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the message of the film greatly extends to the rest of the United States. In a nation where over one in one hundred of U.S. adults are incarcerated, the United States imprisons the greatest number of people in the world (Petit, 2012). In fact, though the U.S. only makes up five percent of the world’s population, it incarcerates a quarter of its prisoners (Pillischer, 2012). What Broken On All Sides seeks to present is just how “unjust” the criminal justice system is as those most negatively affected by the increasing incarceration rate in the U.S. are young men of color, particularly African Americans.
Primarily highlighted in the documentary is the idea of mass incarceration as “The New Jim Crow”, a phrase popularly used by author and civil rights advocate, Michelle Alexander in her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. As many already know with it being a significant part of American history, the Jim Crow era was a time of intense racial segregation of African Americans from whites with the former having drastically inferior positions in society. Many of the discriminatory practices that were upheld in the Jim Crow era, including discrimination in housing, jobs, and voting are illegal now if applied to blacks, but are perfectly legal when applied to prisoners, many of whom are

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