The U.S. Criminal Justice system has no shortage of shortcomings. One need only read the news on any given day to see examples of how black and brown communities are at the mercy of a system that was not created for or by them. Decolonize Justice, a new short documentary series created by advocacy group LatinoJustice PRLDEF, seeks to document the depth and impact of the harm the current criminal justice system has brought upon Latinx communities in particular. The docs, which tackle everything from of criminalization of the Latino community in the U.S. (Bad Hombres) to the immigration enforcement system (Crimmigration), feature real stories of impacted Latinxs with insights from experts on the harms of the racialized and broken-beyond-repair U.S. criminal justice system.
Much of the work of these projects is to help inform audiences, especially when it comes to offering historical perspective on current-day problems. Problems about “stop-and-frisk” or the disenfranchisement of underrepresented communities date back decades if not centuries and require, as the docs suggest, radical action if they are to be solved.
As Juan Cartagena, a Constitutional law scholar and President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice puts it, “The U.S. criminal justice system, a system purposely designed upon the constructs of colonial hierarchy and the forced cultural assimilation of dominant class norms, has historically served as the tool for enforcement—and re-enforcement—of social injustice. We believe it’s way past time for this system— and its long-standing, outdated, racist practices—to be not just be reformed. It needs to be dismantled. It needs to be de-structured. It needs to be decolonized.”
In order to do that, of course, one needs to be informed. Which is precisely what these various documentaries, directed by the likes of Miami-based Jonathan De Camps, Bronx-based Divad Durant, and Nuyorican Mikey Cordero, are trying to accomplish. Watch the trailer for the documentary series below.
The first seven short films of Decolonize Justice are available to stream right now, with more episodes to be added in the coming year.