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PERVERSION OF JUSTICE
Director: Melissa Mummert
Producer: Melissa Mummert
Winner of the CHANGEMAKER AWARD
ABOUT THE FILM
About PERVERSION OF JUSTICE from Director Melissa Mummert
I worked as a chaplain intern at a federal prison for women. My job was to roam around the sprawling prison compound and listen to the inmates’ stories. Women told me about their long sentences for drug conspiracy offenses. They told me that they were serving ten years, twenty years or even life sentences for their minor involvement in drug related crimes. I saw pictures of these women’s children and heard the hurt in their voices. I felt called to speak out and to help others understand the human impact of draconian drug laws.
Thousands of women are serving outlandish federal prison sentences in the United States for their tangential relationships to drug dealers. PERVERSION OF JUSTICE focuses on Hamedah Hasan, a young mother who was sentenced to two life sentences for her first drug offense. Shot over the course of four years, PERVERSION OF JUSTICE follows Hamedah on an emotional roller coaster as she navigates her many appeals. We witness her suffering daughters growing up as best they can hundreds of miles from their incarcerated mother. This short piece, as well as a longer 30-minute documentary, weaves Hamedah and the girls’ stories along with criminal justice experts who provide context about the misguided U.S. War on Drugs. While the film details an American tragedy, it is ultimately hopeful and calls the audience to action.
To date, Hamedah Hasan is still incarcerated in Southern California, over a thousand miles from her daughters. She still has heard nothing about her presidential commutation request. There has been a great deal of activity around drug policy reform efforts in the last few months. There is also a movement afoot to make crack cocaine and powder cocaine sentences more equitable.
RELATED CATEGORIEScriminal justice, gender / women, Media That Matters 8,
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