PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Executive producer and rapper Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter speaks during a Q&A following the "TIME: The Kalief Browder Story" Sundance World Premiere at The Marc Theatre on January 25, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Spike TV)

Seventeen years ago I made a song, “Guilty Until Proven Innocent .” I flipped the Latin phrase that is considered the bedrock principle of our criminal justice system, ei incumbit probatio qui dicit (the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies). If you’re from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you’re unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can’t afford bail. Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime.
Scholars like Ruthie Gilmore, filmmakers like Ava Duvernay, and formerly incarcerated people like Glenn Martin have all done work to expose the many injustices of the industry of our prison system. Gilmore’s pioneering …
READ MORE ON TIME.COM