Today, there are more African Americans in prison or jail, on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. The prison population has exploded by 500% since the end of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. America locks up more of its racial and ethnic minorities than any other country (including South Africa at the height of apartheid). Mass incarceration has emerged as America's new caste system. How could this happen? With Philadelphia as an entry point, BROKEN ON ALL SIDES explores the intersection of race and poverty within the criminal justice system. Presenting a historical narrative not often heard about prisons and crime, this documentary investigates the complex issues of discretion within the system, racial targeting, and the largest spike in the number of people incarcerated in our nation’s history. Through interviews with people caught up in or involved with the system, this documentary answers and provokes questions on an issue walled-off from the public’s scrutiny. BROKEN ON ALL SIDES dissects the War on Drugs and "tough on crime" movement, illustrating how the emerging Occupy movement offers hope for change, and explores possible reforms and solutions to ending mass incarceration.
Best Social Issue Documentary Feature, Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival 2012
Award of Merit for Liberation/Social Justice/Protest, Accolade Awards 2012
Nominated for Best Feature Documentary, Cape Fear Independent Film Festival 2012
"Broken On All Sides is a compelling documentary addressing racial inequities within our criminal justice system and its devastating collateral consequences. It is an excellent resource to use in educating, motivating, and empowering your group, organization, or community on this critical issue." - James E. Williams, Jr., Public Defender & Chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Criminal Justice System
"Those among us who might think the struggle for 'Civil Rights' is essentially a done deal face a rude awakening. Of several urgent moral mountains still to climb, U.S. criminal law & incarceration reform is a major one. Matt Pillischer's film Broken On All Sides joins Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and Douglas Blackmon's Slavery By Another Name as poignant present-tense calls-to-arms. A subject no honest feeling citizen dare avoid." - Gladden Schrock, Pulitzer-nominated Writer/Cultural Analyst
"Broken On All Sides is an invaluable teaching resource. The American penal system has to be at the center of any discussion of racial inequality, and this documentary powerfully demonstrates the human toll of this inhumane system. While clear-eyed in its assessment of the many obstacles to change, it is a compelling call to action." - Greta Snyder, Instructor of Racial Politics, University of Virginia