Denzel Washington Refuses To "Blame The System" For Mass Incarceration

Denzel Washington had some strong opinions about mass incarceration and African-American men.

(AllHipHop News) Denzel Washington refuses to lay any blame for the mass incarceration of black men and women in America on "the system."

The Oscar-winning actor is the star of new Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy's film Roman J. Israel, Esq., in which he plays an idealistic lawyer whose beliefs are tested when he joins a new law firm.

According to editors at the New York Daily News, when asked about the justice system at the film's premiere, the veteran actor refused to blame the disparity in incarceration rates for African-American males on a bankrupt justice system.

“It starts at the home,” the 62-year-old replied when asked for his thoughts about the prison-industrial complex - a term that describes the attribution of the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies for profit. “It starts at home," he added.

When pushed to expand on his answer, the father-of-four explained: “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure."

“So you know I can’t blame the system,” he continued. “It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”

His comments are out of step with celebrities such as Jay-Z, rapper and actor Common, and director Ava DuVernay, whose landmark documentary "13th" explores the origins of mass incarceration of African-Americans and how much private companies are profiting from it.

Jay-Z also recently penned an opinion article in the New York Times about criminal justice reform in the U.S. in support of fellow rapper Meek Mill, who was imprisoned for probation violation stemming from a 2008 drug and gun bust.

"The specifics of Meek's case inspired me to write this," he wrote. "But it's time we highlight the random ways people trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day. The system treats them as a danger to society, consistently monitors and follows them for any minor infraction - with the goal of putting them back in prison..."

"Probation is a trap and we must fight for Meek and everyone else unjustly sent to prison," he added.

Denzal out of touch...founder of deathrow backed his first movie...

He's not wrong. There is more to it of course because it's not that simple. He has a point but it's not the totality of the problem at all.

Denzel Washington would have never made such an ignorant if Black people had a punishment system in place not to support anything he does from this point forward, no Black celebrity speak against us if we simply did this

Enjoy Denzel in many movies, but he lost me with that comment. Sure if we have a stable upbringing we are less likely to get into trouble, but you can't ignore the fact that we along with Latino men are profiled more than any white person. We are attacked, beaten, hunted down, and sometimes killed... SMH @Denzel..

The system doesn't make you sell drugs. The system make you carry a gun. The system doesn't put you in a situation where you have to sell drugs and carry a gun.

Well that depends on who you are and where you come from. People enjoy speaking on behalf of people that they know nothing about.

@ChuckCreekmur I've been there and done that. I used to be just like him and went through system also. I was the one who decided to sell drugs instead of work, so I refuse to blame anyone. EVERYONE on probation knows that they have time hanging over their head and they could be sentenced if they mess up.

I'm just tired of people blaming the system for their mistakes.

He said it's to bad "WE" make it so easy for them - Real Talk

Many aspects to it also

Sentencing for similar charges is different. The bail system is a rip off. I can go on and on. I agree w Washington, but he ignores the fact that this judicial system doesn’t treat everybody the same.

Not everyone sells drugs for wealth. Some cats fresh out have no other choice. Let's remember Felons are limited with career choices. Some cats get out and want to do right BUT their record prevents then for doing so. Some companies don't care how long ago you were in trouble they don't see change. The drug dealer trying to buy a mansion and shit is ridiculous however, serving to have a roof and feed your family doing dirt might be the only choice in some cases. It is easy to speak about something your out of touch with but facts and opinion are different. Yes some of us do need to stop making it easy BUT some of us have no choice. When you keep getting doors slammed what are you to do to survive? When I was not working I did what I had to do for my son. If ever in the same situation I will do what I have to do for my children all day!

Denzel hit this right on the spot! I really know what he really wants to say... we as black men and women need to get our shit together and stay out of trouble. One day of anger will give us a life time in prison or probation. It is as simple as that! We argue and get mad at everything... stop it my people! Educate yourself and be smarter! Make better decisions for you and your family. Love and cherish your freedoms!