The United States of America has the largest prison population in the world. This shocking statistic is at the heart of The Biggest Prison System in History, a new documentary produced for the Empire Files series. Through this piercing exploration of incarceration in America, viewers are brought face-to-face with the injustices of our country’s prison system.
The U.S. holds just five percent of the world’s population, yet it houses over a quarter of its prisoners—an estimated two million individuals. Inmates are subject to a variety of human rights violations as prisons become increasingly overburdened and underfunded.
At the center of this epidemic lies one key factor: money. Phone companies kick back 42% of their revenue from prison phones to state governments, representing an annual sum reaching 150 million dollars or more. Corporations also contract inmates for production jobs for mere pennies on the dollar; these contracts often result in deficient food, medication and healthcare services within prisons.
The documentary expands on these topics, examining poverty and race within mass incarceration, as well as America’s failure to properly address mental health issues or invest in productive rehabilitation services for inmates. There is no doubt that this film provides an invaluable perspective into a system that operates largely out-of-sight for many citizens – though it should not be solely relied upon as a source for knowledge on this topic.
The Biggest Prison System in History shines a powerful light into this dark corner and should be viewed by all who wish to gain insight into the inner workings of our nation’s penal system and come to terms with its dire implications for human rights today and in years ahead. To truly understand what we must do to challenge this disturbing trend, we must look closer than ever before – and The Biggest Prison System in History provides us with a perfect starting point for doing so.