Prison, prison reform, punishment, social justice, restorative justice, true crime shows, true crime series, Lock Up, Oz, Orange is the New Black, The Serial, Obama’s focus on prison reform in his 2015 NAACP speech, The New Jim Crow, the Investigation Discovery channel, The Innocence Project - these are an evident part of today’s culture in the U.S..
American imprisonment and incarceration’s consequences and realities, as topics, have begun to emerge, in the last few years, in the public dialogue and have become recognized increasingly as complicated and urgent. Equally, the social fascination with crime and punishment as a form of entertainment continues, perhaps more than ever. Imprisonment realities are often too complex to be easily discussed and crime renditions are often too simplistic to be taken seriously. These subjects as a focus of documentary can fall between the two. What do they have in common? Why do we want to render incarceration into a story form, in whatever version, and why do we want to ignore it in its reality? What is the complexity of real imprisonment and why do we choose the tropes we choose in rendering crime/punishment? What do those tropes do for us and how do they handle/ address the content they render? How do these tropes act symbiotically with the real situations of imprisonment, crime, and consequences? What is their relationship?
Framework, in this new section called Prison USA, is adding to the public conversation by compiling eclectic information that comes from both spheres, divided here as REAL and RENDITION. These sections, obviously, don’t divide easily and the intention is to offer more routes to more ideas about how we, as a nation, see prison and how we incorporate its existence.