The acclaimed documentary investigates the 13th amendment and its relation to the rising numbers in the mass incarceration of prisoners in the states, right from its beginning and presents it for what was its true linkage; a major step in the history of mistreatment and criminalization of black people as a means to control them.
The 13th Amendment is a step that solidified the concept of modern-day slavery, it states
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction”
This in retrospect made it possible for slavery or a form of it to be played out in the situation of a prisoner, this was a tool that handed the means for exploitation to the most powerful authority in any state or country; i.e law enforcement and the court. The rising number of black prisoners is staggering, the impact of which is a creation of a poverty cycle. These black individuals young men are arrested for small crimes mostly drug supply and usage along with other crimes and are sentenced to extensive jail time, at the end of which they come out in a world that has moved far ahead, a criminal record makes it very unlikely that they will be hired by any company big or small. Hence these individuals find themselves in a poverty trap, circumstances propel them to revert to the dark world that got them in the situation in the first place. The jails provide them with no leverage and no chances or facilities to learn a skill as a result a large no of black men lose out on the opportunity to make a life for themselves.