I absolutely agree that the US prison system, like many of the institutions we have here, is in need of major reform. And for starters, for-profit prisons should be abolished. Our judiciary system must also always remain independent from politics (which is not currently the case) and from any other institutions that might try to influence their decisions. Lastly, systemic racism, including among some of those in the police force, is a major problem that is in desperate need of creative solutions.
However, I disagree with the title of your article that activism can’t work. As an environmental activist working with the Sunrise Movement, I can tell you that it is indeed working and we’re now pushing politicians and leaders to adopt aggressive climate policies that will help us address the climate crisis. It’s important to note that watching a documentary doesn’t make you an activist. Being an activist means taking to the streets and raising your voice in peaceful protest. It means educating and enlightening others on the issues. It means striving for change in everything you do and leading by example. Just look at any great movement in history and you will see the power of activism at work. In fact, most societal changes would have never occurred without strong activist support to light the fire under everyone’s asses to change their ways so that we can all live in a more fair and just world.
The key is to stop looking to others to lead the way, and be a leader yourself.