Rotten to the Core: A System Built by Us but Not by Us

A Short Documentary Video

In Rotten to the Core: A System Built by Us but Not for Us, using examples from Georgia’s correctional facilities, Treasure and Skylar—with the help of Angela Davis, Ava DuVernay, and John Oliver—discuss the business of prisons and the way in which black bodies are criminalized and commodified for monetary gain.

Treasure and Skylar were met with the task of creating their final project in their History of Political Philosophy course, they automatically knew they would like to build a creative project centering around Angela Davis’s book, The Meaning of Freedom. The assigned readings from this book, which detailed the harsh and unjust nature of America’s prison system, contrasted with the classical tenets of justice and equality that they had explored in the beginning of the course. They sought to address these inconsistencies and the outright hypocrisy that is ever present within the American justice system through their short documentary.

Drawing from Davis’s essay “Of the Meaning of Freedom, ” Treasure and Skylar were able to provide a clear explanation of the prison-industrial complex. Their next step was to clearly explain the way in which the cyclic nature of the prison-industrial complex in the United States is fueled. Noting that the criminalization of Black Americans is what fuels the prison industrial complex, they chose to use “The War on Drugs,” one of the most well-known examples of the criminalization of Black Americans, as their case study.