Mandela: the global icon
The Exile Nation Project is a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies from criminal offenders, family members, and experts revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System.
The Land of the Free punishes or imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation. The United States has only 5% of the world's population, yet a full 25% of the world's prisoners. At 2.5 million, the US has more prisoners than even China does with five times the population of the United States. 8 million Americans (1 in every 31) languish under some form of state monitoring known as "correctional supervision." On top of that, the security and livelihood of over 13 million more has been forever altered by a felony conviction.
The American use of punishment is so pervasive, and so disproportionate, that even the conservative magazine The Economist declared in 2010, "never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little."
This captivating oral history puts a human face on the Americans subjugated by the US Government's 40 year, one trillion dollar social catastrophe: The War on Drugs, a failed policy underscored by fear, politics, racial prejudice and intolerance steeped in a public atmosphere of "out of sight, out of mind."
The project will unfold over a two-year period, beginning with the release of a feature-length documentary in April 2011 and continuing on throughout 2011 & 2012 with the regular release of short clips and complete interviews from each of the 100 participants in the project, meant to represent the 1 in 100 Americans that are currently sitting behind bars.
When the stories hit home, policies begin to change.
The Exile Nation Project is made possible by a generous grant from the Tedworth Charitable Trust and openDemocracy, in association with Exile Nation Media. All content is non-commercial and available for free distribution under a Creative Commons license.