These are the stunning facts:
- While African-Americans represent about 12% of the U.S. population, they represent 44% of the incarcerated in America.
- This is a higher percentage than the number of black citizens imprisoned in South Africa during the height of apartheid.
- In the U.S. today, a black male is more likely to live in a prison cell than a college dorm.
"The Path to Prison" provides a candid look at this massive but preventable crisis. Featuring a young man from South Central, Los Angeles sharing his personal story from student to prisoner, "The Path to Prison" begins to explain how a perfectly intelligent and capable boy ends up on this tragic, but sadly commonplace trajectory to criminal behavior and incarceration.
My passion for education equality began fresh out of college, when I taught in an elementary school in South Central Los Angeles. What I saw there opened my eyes to the fact that certain populations of students are treated very differently by our education system, and that some of them—African-American boys in particular—are virtually set on a trajectory to gang-life and incarceration.
When I decided to make TEACHED, I went online to track down former students from the school and neighborhood where I taught. One student (who was transferred from another classroom into mine for part of fifth grade, no explanation given) appeared in a Google search for a poem he had written while in prison.
I found this boy, now a 28 year-old man, on MySpace, and his interview became what is now our first short film, The Path to Prison. I thank Jerone for his courage in sharing his life’s story with us and his continuing determination to reach his potential. - Kelly Amis
RECOMMENDED READING & RESOURCES
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
National Center for Education Statistics: Survey of Adult Literacy in America
The United States represents 4.6% of the worldwide population, but has 22% of the world's prison population.
View: World's Prison Population Totals.
While black Americans make up just 12% of the United States' population, they represent 44% of our prison population.
View: NYCLU School to Prison Pipeline Fact Sheet
Although white youth sell and use drugs at the same or higher rates as youth of color, black and Latino youth are arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned at dramatically higher rates for drug crimes.
Read: Report by the Drug Policy Alliance
On any given day in America, nearly one in four young, black male drop-outs is incarcerated or institutionalized.
Read: New York Times Article
Producer/Director Kelly Amis
Cinematographer Art Meyerhoff
Editors Kate Stilley Steiner
Graphics Sean Kimber
Music Asparagus Studios
Jerone Shell * Create Now * Anna-Lena Isaksson * Jill & Terry Petersen * Fred & Robyn Amis