WITNESS Launches Legal Video Advocacy Project
For years, the WITNESS United States team has been supporting activists to use video to document and expose abuses by law enforcement, specifically in shifting narratives around policing and advocating for immigrant justice. We are thrilled to now expand into a new area of the criminal justice system. Our Legal Video Advocacy Project offers trainings, resources and partnerships with advocates, lawyers and incarcerated individuals to use video to help reduce prison sentences, and advocate for decarceration through clemency and parole.
With over 1.5 million people in U.S. state and federal prisons, the U.S. puts more people in prison than any other country in the world. We know these astronomical levels of incarceration disproportionately impact people of color and low-income communities. Besides costing over $80 billion dollars a year to lock people up, mass incarceration has very little to no impact on crime reduction, but instead tears families apart and diminishes their economic stability.
Through our recent trainings and collaborations with groups like CUNY Law School’s Defenders Clinic, Legal Aid New York and Bard College, we’ve seen the power of video and storytelling in advancing efforts to decrease this devastating prison population. Video creates the opportunity to see someone in their full humanity – their mannerisms, their essence, the parts that tend to get lost in a written statement. Amid a climate of fear mongering and misinformation, this has the power to break down stereotypes about people serving long prison sentences, nurturing empathy and understanding.
We are moved by the individuals who have collaborated with us and motivated by the impact this work has had so far. Learn more about this work and share our new Legal Video Advocacy tips and resources.