About The Film

This documentary was designed as a teaching tool to expand knowledge about the history of the prison industrial complex and the prison abolition movement in the United States.

Part I “Breaking down the Prison Industrial Complex” provides a critical expos√© of the mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and the connections between slavery, capitalism and the prison industrial complex (39 mins.)

Part II “Abolition: Past, Present & Future” moves beyond criticism, and offers an example of prison abolition in practice (48 mins).

This film features Angela Y. Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Susan Burton, Melissa Burch, Dylan Rodriguez, and Andrea Smith. 


How The Film Was Made

The direct material catalyst and inspiration for this film was a videography project, undertaken by Cameo Watkins and Patricia Naqi. As interns with the L.E.A.D. Project, (a sub-project of Critical Resistance, Los Angeles) they conducted video interviews with community members in Watts about their experiences with the police. After viewing their footage, Setsu Shigematsu, Jolie Chea and Cameron Granadino and other students at UCR decided to embark on a new film project about the politics of prison abolition, as an urgent alternative to the failure of the criminal justice system.


About the Filmmakers

Director, Writer & Producer:

Setsu Shigematsu has worked as a volunteer educator and organizer with the LEAD Project since 2005. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California Riverside Campus.


Editor & Co-Producer:

Cameron Granadino is a Media and Cultural Studies Major from the University of California, Riverside. He is an Independent Filmmaker, and member of Active Students Against Prisons and Policing. 


Assistant Producer: 

Jolie Chea is a member of Critical Resistance-Los Angeles and has participated in the LEAD Project since 2006. She is also a graduate student in American Studies & Ethnicity at USC.