The justice system around the world is cyclical: each stage has its own rules yet feeds into the next. Some systems are dysfunctional in some ways and smooth in others. Some are rotten to the core. With this three-part focus we follow this circular structure through each of its steps — Policing, The Courts, and Prisons.

 

We kick off this investigation into the justice system with a focus on the frontlines: the policing of communities by law enforcement on both American continents. As this year has amply demonstrated, this is one of the most fraught areas of the entire state apparatus. Looking at it up close only reveals more complexity. These films don't provide clear-cut answers or shade in stereotypical hues, but instead probe further into this muddled grey area that a disorienting world throws back at us. When looking at these documentaries about policing, you have to expect that you're going to be surprised by what you see — surprised, horrified, and even moved.

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