NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  June 9, 2014

Torture in American Prisons - Class Action Law Suit Approved


Glen Ford: The media has focused on Taliban torture, but ignores more than 80,000 prisoners held in solitary confinement across the country
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   



audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



Thank you, The Real News does an excellent job - FedupwithR
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.


transcript

Torture in American Prisons - Class Action Law Suit ApprovedPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to The Ford Report with Glen Ford, who's the executive editor of Black Agenda Report.

Glen now joins us from his office.

Thanks for joining us, Glen.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Thanks for the opportunity, Paul.

JAY: So there's been a lot of press about Sergeant Bergdahl and his torture and captivity in Afghanistan. There's very little talk about torture that goes on within the United States.

FORD: Yeah. Sergeant Bergdahl says that during his five years of captivity he was sometimes held in a cage and tortured. We don't know any more details about that, because they're keeping him very, very closely watched, not letting him say much of anything. It does appear that they're trying to get his and their stories straight before exposing him to the press. But, anyway, he says he was tortured at times while held in a cage for about five years, while the United States, not--Guantenamo notwithstanding, the United States at any given day holds 80,000 Americans in solitary confinement. That's as large a population that is held in solitary confinement in the U.S. as the total prison population of most European countries.

On that front, a federal judge in California has allowed some Pelican Bay--that's the supermax prison in California--some Pelican Bay inmates, who've been held there without being able to see people and talk, interact with other human beings for ten years or more, to file a suit as a class action. And this time it does appear that the merits--if we can use a word like merits when talking about putting people in solitary confinement for ten years or more--that the merits of solitary confinement may be debated in the courtroom. And the state of California, on behalf of the United States prison systems everywhere, will have to defend this barbaric practice, which most civilized people recognize to be a form of torture, a torture that in Pelican Bay can go on not just for ten years but for 20 years and more, four times as long as Sergeant Bergdahl says that he was harmed.

JAY: Yeah, just quick numbers: in Pelican Bay, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, more than 500 prisoners have been in solitary for more than ten years, and there's another 78 have been at solitary for more than 20 years.

FORD: Yeah. And there's nothing unique about California except the sheer numbers, it being the biggest state.

What is really so cynical, I believe, is that Eric holder, the U.S. attorney general, who oversees the federal prison system, which runs supermax facilities, which are nothing but giant warehouses, state-of-the-art warehouses for incarceration, most often for life, for thousands of inmates, is now trying to carve out a new kind of legacy for himself and the Obama administration as being liberal reformers by speaking out against solitary confinement for juveniles. And yet he heads up this federal system that has led the way in the world in terms of isolating human beings and then torturing them by not allowing them to be human for decades at a time.

JAY: And I think an important point that the Center for Constitutional Rights raises is that the way you can get out--this is again Pelican Bay--you can get out of solitary confinement on the whole is by giving information up on prisoners. In other words, this isn't about that you're a physical danger to other prisoners or you might be in danger to other prisoners; this is the use of torture to get information out of you, which clearly, one would think, is illegal.

FORD: How Gestapo-like can you get? You inflict this kind of social pain on people, which you promise will stop, the pain will stop, if you rat on others or concoct false stories against others, others who will then be subjected to the same kind of torture that you are if they don't implicate other people.

JAY: And I think, as far as I've seen of the numbers, most--not all, but most people in solitary confinement do not have life. In other words, they're coming out on the street someday. And all the studies have shown they come out completely shattered people. And then we expect these people then to somehow get along in society. It seems more than ridiculous.

FORD: And, in fact, most studies show that it doesn't take ten years or even one year of solitary confinement to shatter people psychologically, that human beings are much more fragile than that. And it is a wonderment that anybody emerges even a little bit intact from lengthy terms of solitary confinement.

JAY: Alright. Thanks very much for joining us, Glen.

FORD: Thank you, Paul.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Women of Color March on Washington
Students Plan National Day of Action Against Trump's Climate Denial
Millions Around the World March in Solidarity with Women's March on Washington
Iran in Crosshairs of New Administration
Women's Voices Rise in Baltimore and Beyond
Trump's Inauguration and the Reverence of the State
Trump/Pence Can't Fulfill Promises to Workers and to the Billionaire Class
Trump's Inaugural Speech Calls for American Jihad
Trump's Infrastructure Plan: Public Investment, Private Profit
Women's Protest Against Trump Goes Global
When Trump Says 'America First,' It's About the America of the Elites
The Bizarre Far-Right Billionaire Behind Trump's Presidency
An urgent letter from Emma Thompson & Danny Glover
As Trump Takes Office Baltimore Remains Defiant
"The Democratic Party Can't Just Whisper Sweet Nothings Anymore" - Nina Turner on RAI (1/4)
Trump Resisters and Supporters Clash on Inauguration Day
Police Use Pepper Spray, Tear Gas and Arrest Over 200 at Trump Inauguration Protest
Whistleblowers Can Pose Real Challenge to Trump
From Washington to Tokyo, Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets to Oppose Donald Trump
Interior Secretary Nominee Zinke Supports Fracking and Drilling on Public Lands
Inauguration Protest Organizer: Trump-Pence Administration Fomenting Climate of Hate
Scott Pruitt Acknowledges Climate Change While Denying Scientific Consensus of Human Responsibility
Bernie Sanders Hammers Tom Price Over Right to Healthcare in Senate Hearing
Sensing Trump Will Give Free Pass to Israel, Palestinians Announce Plans for Unity Government
Nina Turner Show Coming to The Real News
Nina Turner Kept Off DNC Stage as Punishment for Supporting Sanders - RAI (2/4)
"Any Democrat Won't Do" - Nina Turner on RAI (3/4)
Balancing Coming from a Police Family with Holding Cops Accountable - Nina Turner on RAI (4/4)
Theresa May Reassures British and Foreign Capital Over Brexit
Wilbur Ross's Economic Expertise: Exploiting Tax Law

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Stack Star Hosting