These are the stunning facts:

  • The United States has more people imprisoned than any other country in the world.
  • While African-Americans represent about 12% of the U.S. population, they represent 44% of the incarcerated in America.
  • We have a higher percentage of incarcerated black citizens today than were imprisoned in South Africa during the height of apartheid.

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 criminality and incarceration. 


My passion for education equality began straight 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 than others, and that some of them—African-American boys in particular—are treated in ways that seem destined to set them on what I have long referred to as "the path to prison."

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 into my classroom partway through his fifth grade year (no explanation given by the school) appeared while I was searching online via a poem he had written and had published while in prison. 

I found this boy, now a young man, on MySpace, and his interview became what is our first short film, The Path to Prison. I thank Jerone for his courage in sharing his life’s story with us and hope you will all join me in sending prayers his way. - Kelly Amis



The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

NAACP Report: Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate

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