On his way out of office, President Barack Obama used his executive powers to shorten the sentences of hundreds of people sentenced to decades of incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses. A new audio documentary series from Audible explores the politics and policies that lead to the mass incarceration of Black Americans for drug crimes—and how they connect to today’s disproportionately aggressive policing in Black communities.
The series, “100:1 The Crack Legacy” launches today (March 30). The first of the six episodes, “Autopsy No. 86-999,” draws parallels between the deaths of Freddie Gray—who died after Baltimore police arrested him in 2015—and Len Bias, a college basketball player whose 1986 death from a cocaine overdose escalated the War on Drugs.
The show takes it name from the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, which said that while possession of 500 grams of powdered cocaine was the threshold to earn someone a mandatory minimum prison sentence, it would take just five grams of crack cocaine to trigger the same sentence. And, statistically, African Americans were more likely to be arrested for crack.
Hosted by Christopher Johnson, the shows uses audio clips, interviews, music and narration to explain why, when it comes to the war on drugs and police violence, it appears that Black lives do not matter to this nation. The episode list:
Audible subscribers and folks with an Amazon Prime membership can listen to the show online or via the Audible app for free. Individual episodes are available for $4.95, and listeners can grab a free 30-day trial at Audible.com.