HBO Doc 'Fixing the System' Looks At America's Prison System, and It's Heartbreaking

Photo by Vice/ HBO
The Vice on HBO hour-long documentary features President Obama's historic sit-down with six federal inmates.

There are no easy answers when it comes to fixing America’s prison industrial complex.

But when you consider the fact that America accounts for five percent of the world’s population. but 25 percent of the world’s inmates—there are 2.2 million people behind bars in this country—then clearly something must be wrong. Making matters worse, is the disproportionate number of African-American and Hispanic males behind bars for non-violent drug offenses. Some 75 percent of federal prisoners arrested for drug offenses are Black or Hispanic. Meanwhile, 1 in 17 White men will be incarcerated in their lifetimes versus 1 in 3 Black men.

These pressing issues and more are deconstructed in the heartbreaking and unflinching Vice special Fixing the System, which premieres Sunday September 27 on HBO.

The most impressive part about the edifying special is that President Barack Obama, the first sitting POTUS to visit a federal prison, gave Vice full access in July as he sat down with six inmates to hear their stories and try to find real solutions.

“The notion that you or I couldn’t have easily been drawn into that, that somehow we wouldn’t have fallen prey to the temptation of the streets, that doesn’t feel right to me,” Obama says in Fixing the System. “That doesn’t feel true.”

In addition to Obama’s candor, viewers can expect candid interviews with former Attorney General Eric Holder, Federal Judge John Gleeson of New York, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Bryan A. Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Fixing the System airs Sunday Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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