It should be a crime that America locks up so much of its youths.
Right now the United States has more than 60,000 children sitting in jail, lost in a broken system that has led our country to incarcerate more children than any other nation.
Why are we turning our backs on the youngest, most vulnerable members of society, locking up 2 out of 3 of those who are convicted of nonviolent offenses? Why are 80 percent of children who are imprisoned black or Hispanic? And why are we punishing these children so harshly, dooming some of them to solitary confinement, where they are left torturously alone, causing severe physical and psychological harm?
These are the questions explored in our sister network Fusion’s Investigative Team’s documentary, Prison Kids: A Crime Against America’s Children. Airing Oct. 4 on Fusion, the film, narrated by actress Gabourey Sidibe and introduced by Russell Simmons, will take a look at how minorities and the poor are overrepresented in America’s broken juvenile-justice system, and how young people trapped in this system are often exposed to physical and mental abuse.
As part of the project, Fusion is also launching a multiplatform campaign calling for a Ban on Solitary Confinement for minors. Fusion is joined by Univision, The Root, AllDefDigital, the MIT Center for Civic Media and several other organizations, including Incarcerated Nation Inc., the Student Alliance for Prison Reform, Koch Industries, FreedomWorks, National Religious Campaign Against Torture and National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition. The campaign kicks off this Sunday, Sept. 27, and will run through Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Campaign events include a screening of the documentary, featuring a panel discussion on Capitol Hill and MPAA screening Sept. 30; the airing of the documentary on Fusion Oct. 4; planned screenings at universities nationwide Oct. 14; and the release of the petition which you can sign on The Root.
Check out a sneak peek of the documentary below. To join the effort, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.