A System On Fire

Published on May 13, 2014

The prison industrial complex has unjustly targeted and mistreated thousands of our nation's most vulnerable for decades, creating sites of racialized violence devoid of human dignity. This harsh reality is one that has often gone unspoken, but recently there has been an upswing in momentum for prison reformers and abolitionists, especially on the UC Berkeley campus. This documentary strives to chronicle the unwavering and passionate efforts of a few UC Berkeley student groups who are speaking out and mobilizing against the perils of mass incarceration. Teach In Prison is a student facilitated class in which members tutor inmates in San Quentin State Penitentiary and attend seminars about the Prison System. A group of formerly incarcerated students called The Underground Scholars are creating a resource center for other folks who are formerly incarcerated or impacted by the carceral regime. Finally, this year marks the inaugural Big Ideas Prison class, through which four professors are teaching over 300 students about the historical, legal and spatial precedents of the Prison Industrial Complex and connecting them with community organizers today. All of these powerful activists are deeply devoted to a system that needs to be dismantled.