INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY
(67 minutes, 1999)
Innocent Until Proven Guilty is a one-hour documentary that takes a critical look at the U.S. criminal justice system through the eyes of a young black public defender in Washington, DC. At a time when an astonishing number of African-American men are under criminal justice supervision (as many as 1 in 3), this informative film questions why we have a generation of men behind bars.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty introduces James Forman, Jr., a 31-year-old public defender who is the son of civil rights leader Jim Forman, (executive director of SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee). Following in the family's tradition of political activism, James Forman is on the frontlines of the what he believes to be today's civil rights movement: defending young black men and women who cannot afford representation and trying to help them break an ongoing cycle of crime and incarceration. This verité film documents Forman's work at the Public Defender Service and at an alternative high school for juvenile ex-offenders, which he co-founded. Through an in-depth look at Forman's efforts, Innocent Until Proven Guilty sheds light on the criminalization of African American juveniles caught up in the legal system.
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