Lockdown, USA | 2006
Chronicles hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons' quest to repeal New York State's Rockefeller Drug Laws, which can send first-time, nonviolent drug offenders to prison for 15 years to life. These laws have sparked a contentious debate between lawmakers, who argue that drug traffickers deserve the stiffest penalties; and the Laws' opponents, who believe that sentences for novice criminals are too harsh, given that rapists can be released from prison after only four years. Forty-eight states have adopted laws based on the New York statutes, sending the mothers and fathers of over 4 million children in the U.S. to prison. For instance, Wanda Best is raising her five children alone after her husband Darryl was given 15 years to life for signing for a neighbor's FedEx package, which, unknown to him, was filled with cocaine. To spread the word, Simmons assembles a rally, and enlists the help of his hip-hop and pop music peers--among them 50 Cent, P. Diddy, and Mariah Carey--to help raise awareness with New York City's youth. After orchestrating the rally, Simmons travels upstate with Andrew Cuomo and Benjamin Chavis to receive a crash course on political negotiating with New York Governor George Pataki.