For four decades, the U.S. has been engaged in a globally unprecedented experiment to make every part of its criminal justice system more expansive and more punitive. As a result, incarceration has become the nation’s default response to crime, with, for example, 70 percent of convictions resulting in confinement — far more than other developed nations with comparable crime rates.
Today, there is finally serious talk of change, but little action that would bring the United States to an incarceration rate on par with other stable democracies. The incremental changes made in recent years aren’t enough to counteract the bad policy choices built up in every state over decades. For that, all states will have to aim higher, striving to be not just better than the worst U.S. states, but among the most fair and just in the world.*
The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80% have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face. All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. RIKERS: AN AMERICAN JAIL, a riveting new award-winning documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told direct to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience—from the shock of entry, to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.
I am honoured to have received permission from Colby and Bryant at to be able to share this incredible documentary with my followers. I cannot thank them enough for their time and support in assisting me in putting this blog together. Over the years, I have watched 100’s of documentaries about prisons or the criminal justice system, by far, Rikers has to be the best one I have seen, and on that note I shall leave you to make your own minds up. Words can only describe so much. To read more about the documentary, which includes facts and figures about the US penal system and an excellent section on how YOU can make a difference: Click here> RIKERS