Documentary shows discriminatory impact of state legal assistance provision

The Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law, directed by Law Professor Regina Austin, has produced a new documentary that exposes the discriminatory impact of a provision of the Pennsylvania Victims Assistance Compensation Program law that denies assistance to victims who contribute, or are suspected of contributing, to their own death or injury. The “causal contribution” provision extends to expenses paid for the funerals of homicide victims and the medical and psychological care required by survivors of violence.

A person with arms raised wearing a backpack at night faces the headlights of a vehicle on a city street.

“‘Profiled in Life & Death: Crime Victims Compensation and Young People of Color’” illustrates the way in which the carceral state bleeds into and controls the lives of less well-off people of color and exacts punishment even on the presumed innocent,” says Austin. “Illustrating that phenomenon has been a focus of critical visual criminology since the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.”

Read more at Penn Law News.