Rapper Common returned to his hometown of Chicago to get a firsthand look inside Cook County Jail, where a thousand people per day are processed into the system. There are hundreds of inmates being held in jail who could walk out if they were able to pay their bond of just $500, according to Ben Breit, assistant to the sheriff of Cook County. “People are here because they are poor, and it’s a perpetual cycle.”

In a new documentary series airing this fall on EPIX, Common investigates the nation’s broken criminal-justice system. He joins Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Shonda Rhimes, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Norman Lear, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jesse Williams to examine our country’s crisis of inequality. Over five episodes beginning Friday, September 30, at 9 pm EST, America Divided will shine a light on the issues facing our education, housing, health-care, and criminal-justice systems. Check back for exclusive excerpts each Friday morning on The Nation’s Web site.