The Exile Nation Project

2010 ,    » 37 Comments

The Exile Nation ProjectThe Land of the Free punishes or imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation. This collection of testimonials from criminal offenders, family members, and experts on America’s criminal justice system puts a human face on the millions of 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 even China does with five times the population of the United States. 8 million Americans (1 in every 31) languish under some form of state monitoring known as correctional supervision. On top of that, the security and livelihood of over 13 million more has been forever altered by a felony conviction.

The American use of punishment is so pervasive, and so disproportionate, that even the conservative magazine The Economist declared in 2010, 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 release of short films and complete interviews from each of the 100 participants in the project, meant to represent the 1 in 100 Americans that are currently sitting behind bars.

Watch the full documentary now

Ratings: 8.71/10 from 7 users.

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37 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mad

    Excellent documentary, I hope people will start waking up to the travesty of this police state madness, Democrat or Republican? Doesn't matter either way your voting for MORE prison industrial complex growth, MORE military industrial complex growth and MORE tyranny!

  2. TIJ_3
  3. TIJ_3

    I haven't watch it nor I will, that summary is such a load of BS... come on, it is obvious the reason the US have most of the people in jail is because people who commit crimes in the us actually get caught!!! (well for the most part, hopefully).. but it is ridiculous to say with a negative connotation that "US has more prisoners than even China does with five times the population of the United States", anyone with an inch of brain kinda knows why! because aloooot of crimes are made in china that no one gets prosecuted for!!

    btw.. i know people who don't agree with me are gonna think that i am an American patriot.. im not from the us, but its pretty obvious and it bothered me that a documentarist had the nerve to make such allegation like if the viewers where dumb..

  4. Sieben Stern
  5. Sieben Stern

    so, wait, instead of making life better and more enjoyable, they just want to deal with life sucking by get stoned.

    the way the poor eventually deal with the wealthy is with lead pipes and molotov cocktails. or bricks, like the french revolution. but they're too stoned for that e_e

  6. TransSurreal_Studios
  7. TransSurreal_Studios

    Excellent. Looking forward to the project's continuing films.

  8. Oswald David
  9. Oswald David

    The U.S. sure does arrest all criminals yup all those fraudulent wall street execs are all in jail.... oh wait no theyre not theyre making even more money than before the market collapse... yep keep a person who robs one or two people in jail for years and years but an exec who robs millions of people gets a tax break. oh so wonderful

  10. Mark Schuknecht
  11. Mark Schuknecht

    Well said Oswald and you're also right on the money (no pun intended).

  12. greyspoppa
  13. greyspoppa

    WOW this may be the best doc i've seen not only here on this awesome site but ever.Alot of info i already knew,alot i didn't,but the hope this doc gives me that there will be a change is very refreshing.Can't wait to see the full interveiws,and going to the few sites people brought up during this doc.

  14. greyspoppa
  15. greyspoppa

    duh i didnt even watch duh nor will i duh but i think i'll comment hey tij_3 i think i heard your herder calling you,you f#&king idiot sheep.

  16. Nathan Crawford
  17. Nathan Crawford

    I live in North Carolina. Here recently, our legislature have been thinking about criminalizing any herb or vitamin for use as medicine. This is including all homeopathic remedies that have been in use for thousands of years. Not only that, anyone who gives another person an herb or natural remedy (such as Vitamin C), will be arrested for breaking the law if found out.

    Michigan wants to criminalize gardening, Utah and Georgia want to criminalize miscarriages, the list goes on and on.

    "When you criminalize something that's not a real crime, you still create real criminals"- Penn Jillette

    One thing you can always count on, people in the U.S. will always do what makes them happy. Not all of us will bow to absurd "laws" just to stay out of trouble.

  18. Clix (????)
  19. Clix (????)

    When did we start measuring brain capacity in inches! Did we change that recently and somebody forgot to tell me! ;-)

  20. Gary V
  21. Gary V

    A superb doc made by people who actually know what they are talking about. It make a refreshing change from the usual do gooders who haven't got a clue about drugs & the consequences of drugs on the users or their families & the consequences of going through the criminal system because of drugs. Criminalising people does not make the situation any better, it makes it worse.

  22. from212
  23. from212

    One thing that they did not cover was how the quality of the drugs rarely affect judgement. That means if you have 10 grams of cocaine and mix it with 30 grams of some inert powder you will get charged with 40 grams. Same goes with marijuana and other drugs.

  24. 0zyxcba1
  25. 0zyxcba1

    TIJ_3, it has been a while since having run across a comment as uneducated as yours.

    In America, the state penal systems used to be public institutions, analogous to a city's fire department. In recent decades, however, these penal systems have been privatized.

    Everyone in business wants to see their business grow. It therefore stands to reason, and is only natural, that the prison industry do what all industries do, namely, lobby government on behave of its interests. In this case, that means pressuring government to criminalize more and more human activity, as well as to harshen sentencing protocols for committing the resulting new(and useless) 'crimes'.

    TIJ_3, one would do well to keep in mind that, while it does boast the most advanced legal system the world has ever known, the United States nevertheless is(and always has been) in dire need of at least a rudimentary system of justice.

  26. wishborn77
  27. wishborn77

    Outstanding Doc, its about dam time we got off our collective asses and take the war on drugs policy out of the system. Legalise it! i have always hated how i can be labelled a criminal for enjoying a stone, when for a day job i'm actively trying to help people. Be safe peeps ;)

  28. Dominique D Roseberry
  29. Dominique D Roseberry

    What a sick and distorted view you have...

  30. smartnup
  31. smartnup

    GREAT DOCO. A must watch. This very commonsence attitude and sollution to many of our social problems needs to be addressed and supported by all of us.

  32. seanmichael CONWAY
  33. seanmichael CONWAY

    Drugs allow people to see through the fictional nature of our world. With them we can more easily strip away the layers. Every aspect of our societies, including politics, economics and sport, are socially constructed. They are more often than not simply systems of control. Ways of oppressing people and preventing them from reaching their through potential. This is particularly the case in the capitalist system. Life should be beautiful. The high levels of crime, depression, inequality, etc, should not exist. And no, they cannot be explained way by human nature or natural abilities. Research conducted right across the globe confirms this. They are the result of a dysfunctional system. Taking drugs allows people to perceive the world around them in entirely new ways. Many of the worlds most intelligent people used either drugs or alcohol as a form of inspiration. We know so very little about the world around us. Its certainly worthwhile to take time-out every so often to reflect upon our existence. Life is so very short. Therefore its vital to ask ourselves the so-called 'big questions' as often as we can. The world around us doesn't have to be such a bad place. Together we can change it. Its those that prevent you from taking drugs that are the real villans. For its them that are destroying the environment and causing unimaginable suffering to so much of the worlds people. Good documentary

  34. David
  35. David

    I will only say, that these numbers reflect the deep problem of US Society, and system. They made a study, that lasted over a decade, that determined
    In US 1 in 100 people is a sociopath
    in Europe 1 in 200 is a Sociopath

    Now this says it all . . . .

  36. seanmichael CONWAY
  37. seanmichael CONWAY

    In your opinion what is the cause of this disparity?

  38. Pamela Quinn
  39. Pamela Quinn

    This is a very interesting documentary but had to stop watching as the background music distracted me too much from the message. Shame really as this is important.

  40. pusspussbangbang0555
  41. pusspussbangbang0555

    Here in France a GP will talk with you in detail about your needs for pain relief and will only prescribe strong painkillers if he believes you have the psycho_sense not to become addicted to the medication In my case I have severe sciatica and he told me to change my trade and use white wine and cannabis to alleviate the pain It works to an extent but riding a motorbike to work at 8 o clock in the morning after a litre of Chardonnay can be problematic

  42. StillRV
  43. StillRV

    I would have absolutely no issue with decriminalizing drug use as long as it comes along with an understanding that those who choose to use are their own responsibility. Meaning that if you become a non functioning addict it is not the rest of society s obligation to fix your s***. Some of the places around the world that have gone in the direction of decriminalization have paid the price. Vancouver pours tons of money into methadone clinics so that completely unproductive street addicts can get a free fix on them. That is not ok.

  44. 0zyxcba1
  45. 0zyxcba1

    Sounds like you know an awful lot about being stoned.

  46. StillRV
  47. StillRV

    Who is they? They are always doing studies that suit someones ideals one day and another persons the next. They seem less than credible.

  48. M A
  49. M A

    I thought this doc was going to be more about the criminal system than about drugs :S They didn't need 2 hours to convince the viewers that the war on drugs is ridiculous... I would have liked more info on what the movie seemed to be going for in the first place. Way to mislead...

  50. Sieben Stern
  51. Sieben Stern

    actually i neither drink nor smoke, nor do drugs. I have other things that make me happy and don't need to escape. I just feel bad for the people who don't and have to use to make life tolerable :/

  52. Heather Wade
  53. Heather Wade

    It is so important to have this discussion.
    Recently, Obama had a TownHall facebook webthing in CA on 4/20/11. He did not allow people to vote on the questions submitted (for the first time), and of course his staff expected the big 'M' word (marijuana) to be brought up again, as usual.
    Yes, because it affects us everyday! Even people who have never used drugs are affected by them & this rediculous war. A politician surrounded by suits, air-conditioned offices, and black Suburbans does not know how it really is to live in America today. They are too far removed, and to mention drugs just makes them uncomfortable.

    This drug war has been going on all my life. From my very first memory, to this moment. I know if I am, there must be an entire generation of us that are SO sick of this by now. This is the turning point, as long as we keep debating it, keep the discussion alive, something will change. Like the guy said, any changes we make are better than what we are doing now.

  54. Lauren Nelson
  55. Lauren Nelson

    I really appreciated this documentary. I think it's so important to see the perspective of the people you are actually talking about (drug users). Although since the drug wars disproportionally affects minorities in America, I would have like to see more people of color speaking. Either way it is a well done documentary that highlights a serious problem in the U.S. now. I believe the drug war is difficult to end because for one it brings in so much money for certain individuals and countries, and two it is an easy way to control a population. This discussion can be further developed if we look at what countries the drugs are coming from, and the international drug war system.
    p.s. I can't believe the story about Jonathan Magbie. R.I.P. Jonathan, you will never be forgotten and your story will be the catalyse for change.

  56. Shannon Elizabeth Staley
  57. Shannon Elizabeth Staley

    Fabulous! Well done, very interesting and insightful. One of the best I have seen on this site so far.

  58. slack63
  59. slack63

    as someone just ending their first year of sobriety and abstinence from drugs after a thirty five year history of addiction , i can relate to most of all the content . i enjoyed the film , and am grateful to see that the medical community is aware of , and trying to change the political view of addiction . the future is dependant upon the new realization that certain so called dangerous drugs are not as the governments want everyone to think , and that historical fact shows that many of these drugs have been used for millenia to treat illness effectively. best wishes to anyone else in recovery.

  60. CeilingCat
  61. CeilingCat

    Hey, instead of using napalm, nukes, daisy cutters and bullets on enemy combatants. Why not use bails of weed, MDMA, DMT, LSD and Psilocybin mushrooms instead?

    Now that would be the Mother of all wars!

    It could even work for domestic policy too. Bailing out bank could have a whole different meaning...

  62. Jakob Isindahowz
  63. Jakob Isindahowz

    Damn, the more and more I watch docs on the various American subjects whether the justice system or corrupt politics and greedy corporate capitalists the more disgusted I am with the US. Sometimes I think of how nice it would be to visit NY or SF or Chicago but now I almost want to boycott everything American which is sad because its not the citizens but a few of the most powerful and rich just destroying the country for themselves and it worries me that so many Americans just blindly believe what these bastards say is good. I really do not see anything improving without anything but an all out revolution and it will be ugly but that will be the only way because theUS is too infected with the corrupt and greedy.

  64. joedsavage
  65. joedsavage

    Like everything else the "government" does on behalf of the citizens(lol) it's for the benefit of greedy big bisiness interests.Imagine if the war on drugs was terminated--all the money the US drug zsar is given to spend would have to go elsewhere (like maybe back to tax payers? LOL).They don't want that because it's not in THEIR best interest the greedy,corrupt BASTARDS!! Courts make money as do the Lawyers and private prisons.Keeps a lot of people in the "Justice" system mighty happy.

  66. elmer_thug
  67. elmer_thug

    Thu Aug 2, 2012

    LOS ANGELES, Aug 1 (Reuters) - San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday citing more than $1 billion of debts and making it the third California city to seek protection from creditors.

    The city of about 210,000 residents 65 miles (104 km) east of Los Angeles declared a fiscal crisis last month after a report said local government had tapped out its reserves and projected spending would top revenue by $45 million in the fiscal year that began on July 1.

    The filing, made in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central California District, states that the city has "more than $1 billion" in liabilities, and estimated that it has between 10,001 and 25,000 creditors.

    By Tim Reid

  68. rgaura
  69. rgaura

    Fan f*cking tastic!!! I just discovered Mr. Shaw online and want to thank you so much for shining a light on this issue. I am literally living in exile, keening for my lost and beloved country. Keep the stories coming, let the truth be told.

  70. armchair sociologist
  71. armchair sociologist

    Rob the entire nation, get a bonus. Smoke a little pot, go to prison. The entire idea of drugs being illegal, or plants being illegal, is ridiculous.

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