Seized follows two narratives, one typical conversation between a prison guard named Dooley and his subordinate Antwuan, the other examining the cultural context that led to the polarized power dynamic between the two.
Since 1971, when President Nixon declared a "War on Drugs", the rate of non-violent drug arrests has doubled. Inversely, the rate of violent arrests has nearly halved. The justice system has rewarded officers for seeking nonviolent, petty offenders rather than violent ones due to civil forfeiture policy.
Civil forfeiture allows police officers to confiscate civilian property without charging the alleged suspect of a crime.
Originally, it was intended for officers to confiscate drug paraphernalia and drug cartel related loot. In 2012 alone, there were over $4.2 billion in assets seized. Officers use this policy to personally profit from this by receiving bonuses, new cars, police station parties, for which funds would otherwise be unavailable. However, civil forfeiture has harmed non-violent, minority offenders and has left people like Antwuan penniless and unable to fight the injustice they have encountered. Antwuan, and many others, have become victims of the system that was designed to protect them.
Content was sourced from an episode of This American Life, depicting a conversation between a prison guard and an inmate, discussing the circumstances that led to the inmate's arrest, and the power dynamic between the two.
Images were taken from the drug policy documentary, The House I Live In, juxtaposed with images I took of ordinary found objects.