Trending Topics

Why These Prison Reform Advocates Believe Black Communities Could Become Open-Air Prisons


On the recent edition of “Democracy Now,” Malkia Cyril of the Center for Media Justice, and Kevin Gannon of Grand View University, sat down with Amy Goodman to discuss mass incarceration and the role slavery plays in the American prison system.

In the clip, Cyril explains how technology in the hands of police will transform Black communities into “open-air prisons.” She believes that “electronic monitoring and aerial surveillance over Baltimore” are a few examples of police departments infringing on the rights of innocent people.

“It’s critical we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and turn our communities into open-air prisons,” Cyril posits.

She adds that slavery never went away. Cyril implies that prisoners are modern-day slaves continuing a long history of exploitation.

“This country was built on the bones, the work, the labor, the lives of Black bodies. It continues to profit from that exploitative labor … We continue to profit from this system called white supremacy.”

Gannon piggybacks on Cyril’s statements saying that slavery is permitted under the 13th Amendment if a person is incarcerated.

Both advocates are among several commentators featured in director Ava DuVernay’s latest project 13th. The Netflix documentary will be available to stream on Oct. 7.

Back to top