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Video of the Day: Fixing The System Trailer

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LR-Vice

VICE released a trailer for its upcoming Fixing The System HBO special documentary on criminal justice in the U.S., which features President Barack Obama‘s historic tour of El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma in July, where he met with inmates and prison officials.

Hosted by VICE founder and correspondent Shane Smith, the special will follow all the key characters in America’s sprawling justice system, including prisoners and their families, members of the judiciary and community reformers.

“There’s an emerging consensus in this country – on both the right and the left – that the way we treat criminal offenders is utterly broken and weakening our society in profound ways,” Smith explained.

In filming the special, President Obama became the first sitting President to visit a federal prison, signaling that criminal justice reform is a top priority in the final stretch of his presidency. At the medium-security prison for male offenders, Obama met with six inmates. He said the men’s stories and the mistakes they made were not dissimilar to those the president made in his own youth, when he admittedly smoked pot and used cocaine.

America needs to distinguish between violent criminals and people “doing stupid things,” Obama said, adding that many young people who end up in prison for nonviolent drug crimes grew up in environments where drug trafficking is prevalent. Giving those people decades-long sentences is what is contributing to the country’s overcrowded prison system, and more resources should be directed to education, support, and rehabilitation, he said.

“I am really interested in the possibilities, the prospect of bipartisan legislation around the criminal justice system,” the President told reporters on June 30. “And we’ve seen some really interesting leadership from some unlikely Republican legislators very sincerely concerned about making progress there.”

Fixing The System is scheduled to air Sept. 27 on HBO.

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