On Sunday John Oliver tackled the “fundamentally broken” U.S. prison system in an extended segment on his HBO show “Last Week, Tonight.”
“We have more prisoners at the moment than China,” Oliver said. “We don’t have more anything than China other than, of course, debt to China.”
Oliver explained that the prison population in America has expanded eight-fold since 1970.
“The only other thing that has grown at that rate, since the seventies, is varieties of Cheerios. Fuck you, Fruity Cheerios, you’re trumped up Froot Loops, and you know it!” he said.
He noted that about half the people in prison are there for drug charges, and that minorities go to jail at a higher rate for drug charges.
“Our drug laws are a little draconian, and a lot racist,” he said. “Because while white people and African-Americans use drugs at about the same amount, a study has found that African-Americans have been sent to prison for drug offenses at up to ten times the rate for some utterly known reason.”
Oliver then referenced the “Sesame Street” puppet whose dad is incarcerated.
“We now need adorable singing puppets to explain prison to children in the same way they explain the number seven or what the moon is,” he lamented.
At the end of the segment, Oliver put together a skit with puppets to explain the problems with the U.S. prison system.
“But mandatory minimums for heroine and crack, stack the system against hispanics and blacks,” they sing. “Our prison population is bigger than Slovenia, because we put people in jail instead of treating schizophrenia.”
Watch the video: