Alfre Woodard: ‘We want all those with a stake in the death row business to see this film’

The star of the award-winning film Clemency talks about the US prison system, her enslaved great-grandfather and her hopes for Black Lives MatterRead Mark Kermode’s five-star review of ClemencyThe focus of Black Lives Matter protests has inevitably fallen on the most visible injustice – instances of police brutality.

More systemic racial disparities in the American penal system are too often hidden from plain sight.

The US incarcerates more of its citizens – 2.2 million people – than any other country on Earth.

African American adults are nearly six times more likely to receive a prison sentence than white adults.

Nearly half of the 206,000 people serving life sentences in 2018 were black, though black people represent only 13.4% of the population; almost equal numbers of white and black prisoners are currently on death row – just over 1,000 of each ethnicity – but as the prosecution of capital punishment has declined, so the racial imbalance has increased.

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