openDemocracy & The Tedworth Charitable Trust...
...in association with Exile Nation Media...
The Exile Nation Project: An Oral History of the War on Drugs & The American Criminal Justice System
A film by Charles Shaw
The Land of the Free punishes or imprisons more of its citizens than any other country. This collection of testimonials from criminal offenders, family members, and experts on America's criminal justice system puts a human face on the 1 in 31 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 in a public atmosphere of "out of sight, out of mind."
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 China. Not more prisoners per capita, more prisoners. And there are an additional 5 million under what's known as "Correctional Supervision" (probation, parole, and court monitoring), leaving 1 in every 31 Americans under constant State control . On top of that, the security and livelihood of more than 13 million Americans has forever been altered by an arrest or conviction record. This so-called "Land of the Free" punishes more of its citizens than the rest of the world, prompting even The Economist magazine to declare that "never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little."
The project will unfold over a two year period, beginning with the release of this feature-length documentary and then continuing on with the weekly release of one complete long-form interview from each of the 100 participants in the project, meant to represent the 1 in 100 Americans that are currently behind bars.
The testimonies of The Exile Nation Project will put a human face on a critical social issue that has been overwhelmed by fear, politics, racial prejudice, and intolerance, in an era where the public attitude has been, "out of sight, out of mind."
When the stories hit home, the policies begin to change.
The Exile Nation Project is made possible by a generous grant from the Tedworth Charitable Trusts and the openDemocracy group, in association with Exile Nation Media. All content produced is non-commercial and available for free distribution under a Creative Commons license.
Written, Produced and Directed by Charles Shaw
Director of Photography - Charles Shaw
Edited by Charles Shaw & Dustin Edwards
Motion Graphics - Dustin Edwards, Brodie Sullivan
Music by Random Rab, Junior Boys, Cloud Cult, Four Tet, The War on Drugs, SearchLite.
Production Assistants - Erin Shaw, Michael Garfield, Baza Novic
Technical Advisor - Taylor Cahill
Mark Kleiman, Ph.D
Judge James P. Gray
Amy Povah Ralston
Julie Holland, M.D.
Aaron Blackledge, M.D.
Alexis Wilson Briggs
Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis
Charles Shaw is an award-winning journalist, author of the critically-acclaimed memoir, Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality, and Director of the documentary film, The Exile Nation Project: An Oral History of the War on Drugs & The American Criminal Justice System.
Charles serves as Editor for the openDemocracy Drug Policy Forum and the Dictionary of Ethical Politics, both collaborative projects of Resurgence, openDemocracy, and the Tedworth Charitable Trust.
Charles' work has appeared in Alternet, Alternative Press Review, Conscious Choice, Common Ground, Grist, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, In These Times, Newtopia, The New York Times, openDemocracy, Planetizen, Punk Planet, Reality Sandwich, San Diego Uptown News, Scoop, Shift, Truthout, The Witness, YES!, and Znet. He was a Contributing Author to the 2008 Shift Report from the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and in Planetizen's Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning (2007, Island Press). In 2009 he was recognized by the San Diego Press Club for excellence in journalism.