Watch John Oliver Explain Just How Broken America’s Prison System Is

Slate's Culture Blog
July 21 2014 9:06 AM

Watch John Oliver Explain How Broken America’s Prison System Is

oliver_prison

On yesterday’s edition of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver continued his strong run of main stories—see, for instance, his recent segments on net neutrality and income inequality—with 17 minutes on America’s exceptionally high incarceration rate, the horrendous conditions inside many American prisons, the problems with privatization, the tastelessness of jokes about prison rape, and the disproportionate criminal penalties meted out to people of color for low-level drug offenses.

The riff was inspired by prison reform hearings held last week by the House Judiciary Committee, and it includes a clip from perhaps the most heartbreaking Sesame Street skit I’ve ever seen.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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