Ava DuVernay’s ’13th’ Documentary Will Spark A Necessary Conversation About Mass Incarceration

Famed director Ava DuVernay is aiming her lens on a subject that will surely serve as a catalyst for some type of prison reform.

Directed by the Selma visionary herself, 13th will explore mass incarceration in the U.S., and the staggering numbers of how many African American men and women fill the prison system.

READ: Ava DuVernay’s Prison Film ‘The 13th’ To Open At NY Film Festival

“We now have more African Americans under criminal supervision than all the slaves back in the 1850s,” said one pundit in the doc’s trailer. The film gathers its name from the Thirteenth Amendment which deemed it unlawful to detain someone as a slave. The only exception to that mandate is if the person committed a crime.

Here, the reel then links the Thirteenth Amendment to the state of today’s prison system. Another commentator shared that after that period of slavery in America, we experienced a “rapid transition to a mythology of black criminality.” According to the NAACP, “African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.”

READ: John Legend Lends Voice For Prison Reform, Urges To End The War On Drugs

Throughout the course of 2016, President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of 562 federal inmates who committed low-level drug crimes. “The more we understand the human stories behind this problem, the sooner we can start making real changes that keep our streets safe, break the cycle of incarceration in this country, and save taxpayers like you money,” Obama said.

13th premieres on Oct. 7 on Netflix.