tv Consider This Al Jazeera November 25, 2014 1:00am-2:01am EST
and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america. >> good evening i'm antonio mor" a news conference just wrapped up where the st. louis coirchlt prosecutor announced that the grand jury decided not to indict darren wilson for the shooting of michael brown. . >> chuck hagel resirens the white house reverses chorus on iran. i'm antonio mora, welcome to "consider this". those stories and more ahead. >> no probable cause exists to
file a carnal against officer darren wilson. >> i'd like to reiterate my call for peace, respect and restraint. >> this is not the time to turn on each other. we are one community. >> it's been the greatest privilege of my life. >> chuck hagel now out as the secretary of defense. >> he was asked to resign. basically he was fired. >> i consider myself lucky to have had him by my side for two years. >> no deal on iran's nuclear programme. >> they extended the deadline. >> we don't want any agreement, we want the right agreement. >> there's growing evidence that the happiest part of our life begins in our 50s. >> some of this may be bio logically hard wired. >> had you been told in the past you had spots on your x-ray? >> i never had an x-ray. >> if we can't get medical assistance, how do we move forward we begin with a case
captivating and dividing america, the deadly shooting of unarmed teenager michael brown in ferguson, missouri by police officer darren wilson. >> they determined no probable cause exists to fire a charge against darren wilson, and return add no true billion each of the five indictments. >> michael brown's shooting death sparked months of demonstrations and protests this sometimes turned violent. missouri governor jay nixon called for a state of emergency and called up the national guard and called for calm and said in a statement: of us in the coming days, hopefully we'll receive that tonight. but you know what? it's quiet here but over in ferguson about ten miles away the streets are filling up. the mother of michael brown was . >> on top of a vehicle she broke down in tears and some of the
demonstrators took her away. so clearly, a lot of people looking at this as a very tough night. >> moments after the grand jury decision was announced i spoke to robert ray, from clayton, missouri. >> good to see you, you were there as robert mcculloch, the prosecutor for st louis county announced the grand jury's decision, what was the reaction of the crowd near you? >> well, good evening. in front of the justice center here in clayton missouri, where the announcement came down, it was silent, to be honest with you. here where we are at, you could hear a pin drop. people were listening to the prosecuting attorney robert mcculloch inside there. correspondent for "fault lines" sebastien walker was inside the room. interesting. details came out. the grand jury started meeting on august 20th. they met for 70 hours over the course of the past 3.5 months. they were able to hear over 60
witness, and came to the conclusion that there would be no indictment. that officer darren wilson was reacting at a split second, like an officer should, they thought. that's the decision, what everyone will have to deal with. this is a closed case, and an open file as prosecutor robert mcculloch said about five minutes ago. we should get more details when those files get out to all of us in the coming days. hopefully we'll receive that tonight. you know what, it's quiet here, but over in ferguson, 10 miles away, the streets are filling up, the mother of michael brown was listening to the grand jury verdict whilst sitting on a vehicle. she broke down in tears and some of the demonstrators took her away. clearly a lot of people looking at this as a tough night. we'll see there'll be no violence on the streets. that's what the michael brown family called for, that's what pastors and priests are calling
for. we know the president of the united states will talk, make a statement recording this announcement. everything very fluid at the time, at this moment right now. >> that was earlier and sadly it did not take long for some protesters to turn violent, trying to overturn cars and lighting some on fire. also police in ferguson have reported gunshots fired and sold al jazeera crews to take shelter. for more, let's bring in al jazeera america legal contributor jamie floyd and jeffrey smith, author of "ferguson - black and white", examining the racial inequality leading to the turmoil following michael brown's shooting. >> you went to school with michael brown's mother. what was your rehabilitation to the verdict? >> i was not that surprised by the verdict. state law is friendly to officers who end up killing someone in the line of duties, a
fleeing felon can be killed if there's an objectively reasonable belief on the part of the officer that that felon constitutes a threat to others. given the state of missouri action which is different to others, i wasn't surprised, and given the jury pool, three-quarters white in st louis county i can't say i was shocked. >> jamie? >> i agree. in st louis, the law of self-defence is favourable to police officers in missouri, and nationally. you have the state of mind of the police officer, and a grand jury is not asked to find beyond a reasonable doubt. >> probable cause. >> probable cause. we know this. so they really were given complete leeway in the case to find for the officer, and he testified, and he testified for hours. he told them what his state of
mind was at the moment he pulled the trigger. it gave them the opportunity to think the way the officer was thinking at that time. no matter how much sympathy they may have had for the young unarmed teenager assuming they had sympathy for him, they put themselves in the shoes of that officer at the time he pulled the trigger. >> we are looking at unfortunate pictures of some of the violence that is occurring there. did this surprise you. you wrote the book on ferguson, and talking about the racial divide that exists there. >> the anger runs deep. this is not just about michael brown, it's about a system that people felt is unjust. i'll give you a context. there's 30 municipalities making up part of st louis county, many deprive 20, 30, 40, 50% of annual budget from traffic stops.
in a lot of these places police force, which is whit... >> announcer: we join this programme already in progress... ...vital part of the ecosystem >> ...is a tiger shark... ...first one of the expodition >> can they be saved? >> sharks don't eat people... >> tech know, every saturday go where science meets humanity. >> this is some of the best driving i've every done, even though i can't see. >> tech know. >> we're here in the vortex. only on al jazeera america. >> no indictment in ferguson, missouri, that is the decision tonight. ..buildings are on ferguson, missouri, we've seen tear gas, we've seen vandalism. the response and protest in response to the decision reported by the prosecutor tonight.
we've been waiting for the indictment and then we had the response to the indictment. jamilla lemieux is the editor >> the first thing we heard is there was delay after delay in the mind of the public as to when the announcement would be made. it was expected over the past weekend, today, it was announced that there would be an announcement at four in the afternoon, it turned out that was to tell us to wait four hours until eight local time in the evening. there was a delay of 10 minutes before prosecutor robert mcculloch started to talk. he spoke for 20 minutes and seemed to be laying out the evidence for not charging darren wilson. the reason explained was inconsistency among witness, forensic evidence, and made it available to the public, making people in the community more angry, thinking that this was
probably a foregone conclusion at least as far as they can see. this fed things that went on. >> and, you know, these protests not just confined to ferguson. people spilling out on to the streets in new york, in washington d.c., oakland in california. this is going to be something that gains a lot of momentum, didn't it. given the grand jury decision not to bring charges against a white police officer. >> certainly the national aspect of the protests is fascinating. it suggests that maybe people around america have had enough, thinking that there may be impunity involved in shooting young black offenders on the street or suspects on the street. on the other hand let's not forget in ferguson, there has been a lot of unrest since michael brown's death in august. there are local businesses that
have been damaged and perhaps destroyed by the fires down the other end. there are a lot of people who may be angry, who may want to the progress but may head the calls to be peaceful when the protests hit the streets. civil rights. al sharpton is coming here tomorrow, the civil rights leader. that's the peaceful side of the protest. what we saw tonight. we saw a flaring of the violence. if this continues that, will be a cause of huge concern. >> thank you dan yes. daniel lak in ferguson $, where we sa seen some cars and buildings set on fire and earlier police using tear gas against the crowds. >> now, lawyers for darren wilson, the police officers at the center of all this issued a public statement. it says law enforcement personnel must make split-second and difficult decisions, and officer darren wilson followed his training and the law. earlier i spoke to jeff from the
st louis police associationful he's a friend of officer darren wilson, and he's condemned the protests in ferguson. >> well, yes, and, you know, i was cautioning that we were very likely going to see a val odd response, i was hoping against hope that i would be wrong. it doesn't appear that way. we have heard a portion of the evidence. releasing all the evidence, and for those that think that the actions of the police on the streets tonight trying to keep the peace, or the actions of the grand jury justify the response, they should be ashamed. themselves. >> wasn't really known exactly what had happened because the evidence was conflicting in many cases. so is that not...
>>... >> some people said michael brown had his hands up, some said he was stationary, some said he was charging towards the police officer. those are the discrepancies that people seize on. >> but what the prosecutor kept going back to was while eyewitnessness testimony is shaded by perceptions and motions and even media coverage, the fiscal evidence is not. the fiscal evidence is death to all outside. and you have to reconcile the statements of each witness, including dips against the -- darren wilson against the physical evidence before the grand jurors, and those folks that heard every detail of this investigation decided that there was not evidence to indict. >> and looking at the pictures
that we are seeing coming to us from ferguson, buildings set on fire, cars on fire, police using tear gas, how do you think that will pan out over the next few days? >> well i mean, you know, the family has called for calm. the governor, the president called for calm. this is a disservice to michael brown's memory and that's what the parents said, and we ought to respect that. we now know that we are going to have the ability to see all the evidence that the grand jury had, which is extraordinary in and of itself, and i think that we ought to weigh that evidence - each one of us when taking to the streets causing mayhem. that was john from the police officer's association, on the
left you see live pictures from ferguson, police officers out in force, trying to prevent demonstrators from going up the street. on the right, this is oakland in california, obviously things being burnt in the middle of the road. lots of people turning out there after the grand jury verdict was given. as we saw in new york. people flooding almost spontaneously out on to the streets, and walking up the middle of the streets, you know, shouting about the lack of indictment against the white police officer following the shooting of michael brown, the black teenager unarmed and shot dead in august. let's take a look back at the event leading to all this. john hendren has the background on how event unfolded in ferguson. reporter: the path to a racial showdown in ferguson missouri began on a summer's day on confield street. within 24 hours race divided a
suburban city and a nation. on one side residents of this mostly black town and supporters, protesting, some angrily. on the other, a mostly white police force, bearing down in military vehicles built for war. firing tear gas at protesters, and an al jazeera crew. on the street unarmed african-american michael brown and a friend. in a police car, darren wilson, a white police officer in his 20s. >> get several units over here there'll be a problem. >> reporter: the confrontation took 90 seconds. michael brown was shot six times surrendering. others say michael brown was killed while struggling with darren wilson, fighting for the fun. for four hours michael brown's
body was in the sun. ferguson was a name bandied from ferguson to the white house. >> to a community looking for answers, a community hurting - let me call for us to seek understanding simply than holler at each other. >> in the aftermath of the shooting hundreds of arrests. block after block of devastated businesses. [ chanting ] >> in four months of demands for a grand jury to indict the officer. >> my hope is we can move forward as soon as possible on the healing. i hope that the work and the effort that we have made, the progress that we have made is not erased by violent outcry. >> we want an indictment. >> reporter: the outcry an
canfield street may have transformed the town so the grand jury verdict which has lead to the outpouring of anger was made arrived about four hours ago at 2:15 g.m.t. this is how st louis prosecuting attorney robert mcculloch announced the decision. >> they determined that no probable cause exists to fire a charge against darren wilson, and returned a no true billion each of the five indictments. physical and scientific evidence examined by the grand jury combined by witness statements supporting and substantiated by the evidence tells a traumatic story of what happened. >> immediately following that decision people took to the streets, not just in ferguson, in other areas around u.s.
new york, oatland, california, we hear the same in chicago, and in white house washington d.c. a lot of anger. john terrett spoke to two ferguson residents a short while back. >> things have calmed down considerably here at the - outside of the ferguson police headquarters and the fire station. with me i have two guests to discussion what has been going on here. first of all here is kat daniels, someone i introduced who cooks for the protesters in the build up for the event, and pastor henry logan, member of the church where michael brown had his funeral. we have seen extraordinary pictures tonight, particularly down on west florissant where my colleague robert ray is. we are told that it's worse than august. who is doing this? it's not your friends, is it?
>> no, this is not the people fighting for justice each and every day. we are peaceful people. we don't know these people. my people went home. my people went home. you know, we live to fight another day. you know, we belief in doing sit-ins, doing shut them downs, protests, boycotts. this is who we are, we are going to stay the course. this is the setback. >> pastor henry, it's a set back for everyone that hoped for a peaceful. who do you think is behind the violence that broke out so quickly? >> we had a lot of radical organizations within st louis who had been talking about having more violent protests, and that's when senator maria
and muma kat tried to put emphasise on voter registration, getting out to vote, peaceful protests, different things that could offset what is going on together, which we say, busted out windows, and them burning police cars, and it's just not normal. i'm not used to this. i've been in the military, the united states navy, and i didn't have to go through this in the navy, so it's weird for me to get tear gas out here. >> muma kat, what is the next step, how do you recover from the evening in ferguson. what do you do? >> we are going to pray. god is the healer. he's the end all, the be all. we will pray. we will continue. we'll pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. >> what will you pray for, what practical sense will you pray for? >> peace, coming together. i'm praying for a day where
there's community policing. where the police are familiar with the people in their community. because when you have - you don't have this type of situation that happened. darren wilson was not of the ferguson community. he didn't know the kids. when i was growing up the police was part of my community, if we got in trouble, our parents got the notice and we got in trouble. these things can't continue to happen. you know, i'm so - i'm hurt. i'm so hurt. this is like a free pass. keep killing the kids. it has to stop. we have to come together and say enough is enough. we are going to have to buckle down on the young people. before holding them actability, we have to -- accountable, we have to hold each other accountable. >> thank you both for joining us. are you two going home now? >> absolutely. >> well go home safely, stay
safe. >> john terrett speaking to residents of ferguson there. just to bring you up to date with the latest developments that the u.s. federal aviation administration issued a temporary flight restriction for ferguson. st louis county police reported heavy automatic gun fire in one area of ferguson, the west florissant-canfield area. there has been a tweet from the st louis police department saying the university city police officer has been shot, condition is unknown. they are searching for suspects. it's not clear if it's related to the ferguson decision, but clearly there has been a lot of anger over the decision. let's go to daniel lak in ferguson, in missouri. a lot of activity earlier on. does it seem to have quietened down now? >> it definitely has quietened down now. at this end of the floory sant, the business -- florissant, the
business street running through, things were a bit quieter throughout the evening. there were confrontations, police here standing guard. not stopping anyone. one of the things that has to be said that makes this evening so far very different from what we saw in august after the killing of michael brown was the fact that the police showed restraint. they did not have the military vehicles. in some areas they let people come at them with baseball bats and rocks, stopping them before they got close. so far it's been a calming trend and a lot of people living around here hopes that it continues. >> it's midnight where you are. it will hinge a lot on what happens in the hours to come. we'll hear from the michael brown family, his parents will
speak to the media. rights activists like the reverend sharp tonne will be speaking to the media. >> absolutely, we'll see protests on a considerable scale in the st louis county area. those are the protests that will be organised, those are the ones that people who are putting them together, like the reverent sharpton and others called for calm and peaceful protests, and probably we can expect that to be the case. there'll be protests self-policed, there has been negotiations on the roots, things like that, a different protest than the spontaneous combustion we saw tonight resulting in damage and a lot of other things besides confrontation, violence and fear. now, yes, calming down and if it leads into tomorrow more peaceful protests people here will say that the message may be
getting across, and the damage, the violence is not dominating things. that's what they want. they want the message to america to get across. >> this is not the first time we have seen black americans shot by white police officers and not suffering any repercussions because of it. people feel that there is this disconnect between law enforcement and poor black communities, that there's racial discrimination, profiling, more black teenagers are shot dead than white teenagers, if these protests, the government will have a hard time calming things down. are we seeing changes on the cards. that is the question. we have been in this situation, the trayvon martin killing, and
others. people are cynical, they are not surprised when the incident happened and punishment has not taken place. they live in hope. the protests, yes, they are angry, emotional. people are putting their hearts into it. what they want is change people want to go about their lives, and jobs. if that means coming out singing songs, chanting slogans, and revisiting the odd triumphs of the '60s, so be it. people would like to have come out of the protests, not smashed businesses or cards. certainly not confrontation and worse. >> daniel lak updating ut throughout the night in ferguson. president obama has been speaking about the grand jury
ruling, called op those who want to protest the decision to do so peacefully. we need to accept this decision was the grand jury's to make. there are americans that agree, and americans that are deeply disappointed and eveningry. it's an understandable reaction. i join michael's parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peace apply. let me repeat. michael's father's words. hurting others or destroying property is not the answer. no matter what the grand jury disdss, i do not want my son's death to be in vain. i want it to lead to incredible change, positive change.
change that makes the st louis region better for everyone. michael brown's parents have lost more than anyone. we should be honouring their wishes. >> a short while ago i spoke to ron davis. his son was shot dead two years ago by a white software daxer. and he also is close to the brown family, and gave this reaction to the grand jury's ruling. >> i thought it would be transparent for all to see that because of the way the governor brought in the national guard four or five days ahead of time. everyone knew in their gut what would happen this evening, and the fact that the attorney for officer wilson, he didn't have his client there, so everybody knew what was going on? it's a disgrace.
and i think the state attorney-generally should resign from his position. what do you think this whole affair said about race relations in america. a lot of analysts and race relations experts, and human rights experts are saying this is a message saying this is a right for police to shoot black teenagers. >> there's communities like ferguson, and president obama said it's not just feg, it's across the nation. they don't understand that when i don't arrest somebody for a crime regardless whether it's law enforce. or not, you have the perception of not being just. i think the whole thing started when the state attorney did not arrest darren wilson for the shooting of mike brown. the officer, i believe, should have his day in court. he should have been arrested.
when he was not arrested, that started the protest. and then you have the grand jury giving them all this information that should have been given at trial, instead of giving it to them. all they need is a small bit of information in order to indict. everyone goes to trial, which is transparent and everyone sees whether justice is carried out or not. the way they did it, they did it in a way to insight the community, so they are doing what they feel they have left to do. the national guard, as you look at the television, tear gas and all the other things that law enforce. agencies are doing, they insight the crowd, making them throw tear gas, bottles and bricks. why do you disperse the crowd if they are standing around the courthouse. let them stand, if they stand for two, three, four hours, let them stand.
now they are trying to push them in a way you want them to grow, then you throw tear gas, i think law enforcement is inciting the crowd. >> you are close to the brown family, how have they been coping while all this is going on, have you spoken to them recently. >> i have spoken to mike brown senior, and he is distressed over the fact that, you know, he wants not only to have a legacy for his child, but also for the man that shot and killed his child, to stand up in court. and let's hear what he has to say in court. >> those protests continuing. we'll follow costs after the grand jury decision. there's more on our website. prisoners allowed out
only an hour a day, isolation. now prisoners are fighting back, in courts even through hunger strikes. it is the inside story. prisoners use segregation as a punishment, or they say, to keep the rest of the confined safe from dangerous prisoners. psychiatrists have call add cluster of symptoms that come from this confinement shoe syndrome. it includes memory loss, paranoia, hallucinations anxiety.
200 inmates have been cleared by a federal judge to bring a class action lawsuit, alleging that solitaire violates their rights. the state of california fought against allowing prisoners to have status as a class, and a federal judge's ruling could end or curtail the use of solitary confinement. gang members are most often segregated this way, regardless of their behavior of criminal acts, prisoners isolated
in this way are confined to their cells more than 22 hours a day. often without a window. human contact is minimized, prisoners are remotely monitored, california's pelican bay state prison is a maximum security penitentiary, where 500 inmates have been locked in administrative segregation for more than ten years. nearly 200 inmates there have experienced more than 15 years in isolation. and still another 78 have spent two decades confined to an eight by ten cell. a federal judge in oakland is allowed hundreds of prisoners at pelican bay to join a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of their solitary confinement. the suit originally brought by the center for constitutional rights on behalf of ten inmates arguing their confinement in the security housing unit is cruel and unusual punishment. a violation of their rights and c.c.r. says experts con skulling in
bringing the lawsuit found long term solitaire con finement caused psychiatric morbidity, and disability. the people that inhabit these prisons are not the most sympathetic population. it is the answer i would rather worry about the victims, but right now, across the country, we are beginning to move away from the extremely long sentences that were with so much envogue, these prisoners are more likely to be out and in communities again some day, does widespread use of solitary confinement even work? does it represent anything like best practice for prison authorities, or is it just the only tool handy. that's this time on inside story.
joining us for that conversation, anthony graves who spent ten years in solitary confinement. part of 18 1/2 years he spent in prison for a crime he did not commit. martin horn, who formerly ran new york city jails and david director of the american civil liberties union national prison project. anthony graves let me start with you, most people, almost all the people watching this program have never experienced anything like it, walk us through a day, the sun comes up maybe you see it, maybe you don't, but it is a new day, what's a day in solitary like? >> well, they start off about 3:00 in the morning when they are coming through and waking you up to feed you. and breakfast consistents of maybe one egg, and one biscuit. and some jelly. and biscuit is hard, and the egg is probably cold.
that's how your day starts off. and then they cut the lights on you about 5:00 in the morning. and the lights stay on. if you are allowed to go out for one hour that day, they come and they handcuff you, they shackle you, they strip you out, they dehumanize you, they put you in a bigger cage for an hour, and you walk around like a wounded animal, because there's nothing else you can do in there. no workout equipment, inning. then after that, they cake you back into your cell, and that's your whole day now you hope they give you a shower, at least before they feed you again, because you are out there, sweaty whatever, but that's up to the officer, when you are in solitary, you really -- they don't have to give you a shower but three time as week, and most the time that's what they do. and then your cage can is eight by ten cage, yo i have a steel bulk -- i mean a steel sink connected to your steel toilet, you have a steel bunk at the back of your
window -- i mean back of your wall, and then at the top of that back wall, there's a little slit that looks anything a little window up there. but you can make a fist and you can't even touch it because it is that small. and if you want to see anything, you have to roll up your mattress and try to stand up there, because it is that high to see just the sky. that's the only way you know if it is day or night, because the sun comes in through that wind with doe at the top, the little slit, so you know it is daytime or nighttime, or you may be lucky to have a radio if you are not on so many restrictions and then someone can purchase fit the outside for you. other than that that's your whole day. at that point, that's when guys let their minds play tricks on you. you hear shouting and guys becoming depressed. all kind of emotions setting in, because there's nothing to do, you are behind four walls.
just sitting there. and at some point it feels like the walls are closing in on you. >> a psychiatrists named terry coopers did a study of prisoners who had spent long time in solitary, he identified nightmares, palpations, fear of empending nervous break down, paranoia, aggressive fantasies, and impulse control problems. you were in -- >> yes. >> in solitary a long time, is that list sound familiar. >> i witnessed all of that. some of the things i went through myself, particularly memory loss. i'm out here today but have a hard time remembering things that i have to write things down for myself. because in a matter of secondses i forgot what i was trying to think of. ptsd. i went with through my bout. i was very hypersensitive when i got out, everything just drew out so many emotions in me that i would lose control
of my emotions i would dry a lot, loneliness, i would be in the room with a lot of people, but knowing they count understand what i was going through, i just felt alone. it doesn't do anything but break your hill to live. there are so many effects that sometimes it is scary out here. i have been out 3 1/2 years i am still working through the issues have. i can tell you it has been very scary. >> you were overseeing the con finement of a large population as a tool, what is solitary for? is. >> well, let me start off by saying that the quarterbacks that anthony described are totally unacceptable. and all wrong. and so i would say that solitary confinement is never necessary, and never justified. there are occasions when prisoners need to be separated from other
prisoners for go prisoners are fighting. if prisoners have engaged in predatory behavior, you have to separate them for the protection of other inmates and when prisoners break the rules they have to be consequences. now, ideally officials should have a variety of consequences. but there are some behaviors, inmates rape other inmates, stab other inmates first of all there has to be a punishment. there is a jail inside the jail, but there should never be a conditions where inmates extreme sensory deprivation that anthony described. this' never a justification. >> is that the difference between merely segregation, verses putting them
in a blank room? is not allowing them to read or talk to anybody. >> i think that when corrections officials. remove a prisoner from the population, the corrections official assumes a higher level of responsibility for the well being of that prisoner. especially where it is long term, administrative, where it is preventive, as i suspect the case in the pelican bay cassina's what california will claim, there's no reason for the prisoner to experience those kinds of punitive effects.
to the same extent if he was in population. there is no excuse to deprive an inmate of access to daylight. and to the extent that the situation permits it, the inmate should be given the greatest opportunity to go outside and to reck create. >> let me turn to david at this point. because it's been described as a constitutional issue. under the 8th amendment, what is it that makes this more in your view, more than just a bad idea, but something that violates human rights in. >> well, there are literally a couple hundred years of research that we have on what isolation does to people. people who are isolated
for all kinds of reasons because they were -- bawl of an illness, because they are at a polar research station, or because they were in prison. and the findings from all over the world, from different decades different countries, are incredibly consistent. isolation deprivation of human contact damaging people. often iraqi reviser bly. particularly people who have any kind of preexisting vulnerable like a serious mental illness. that's why we with believe beyond a certain is right, violates the 8th men these are people that have committed some of the worst crimes that we have named for that we with have trials for. >> it is a miscon can interception that solitary con finement houses the worst of the worst. there are some of those people in solitary confinement. people who have raped or attacked or kills other prisoners or staff.
but the vast majority of people in solitary don't fit that description. in california, you can can be sent to solitaire -- you will be, if you are a classified as a member or an associate of a prison gang. and you don't have to do anything for that to happen. the classification can happen based on who you have your picture taken with. be i the books you read, the tattoos you have. and so it has nothing to do in most cases with the crime that landed the prisoner in prison we are going to take a short break, how this kind of segregation is being used today. is it being used in hue of mental health treatment? this is inside story.
this is inside story. i'm ray swarez. at the pelican bay prison in california, a scene of 200er strikes and now home to a class action lawsuit against solitary confinement. fully one fifth of the inmates have been in solitary for ten to 20 years. we are looking at the use of administrative segregation and isolation as punishment and protection. martin horn, if we have suspiciouses that any one inmate has mental health problems, are we able to supply as a society know bag you know about the prisons across the country. do we supply mental health treatment to the degree that it is needed in our prison pop haitian?
i would say for the most part not. there are some exceptions where there are high quality care, and adequate care, and ample care, but for the most part, prisons in general throughout the country have really been overwhelmed. by the number of people in their custody, and they were never equipped to service that need, and they have never caught up and many of them don't even understand what they need to do. let me again be clear, solitary con finement, that kind of extreme isolation that anthony described should never be used. but even before you put a person in any form of segregation, you out to rule out mental illness, and if there is you muted treat that, and often times the behavior, and again to go back to the issue that you raised earlier the david raised
about why people go to segregation in california, a person should not go to segregation because of marry association. the only reason to segregate a person really is their behavior. this has tock evidence of misbehavior, but even where that is so, it is often the case that the misbehavior is really a symptom of the mental illness. using segregation in lieu of treatment? >> absolutely. martin is right, this is not the fault of prison officials because they have left -- they have been left holding the bag for our society's lack of a functioning public mental health system. but prisons are filled with people suffering from mental illness. once they get into prison they tend to work their
way into solitary con finement facilities where we find that anywhere from a third to a half of prisoners in solitary confinement are suffering from mental illness. >> previous director of corrections was killed by a man who had been released from prison, after a long stretch in solitary, with no treatment coming out of that, it was put right on to the streets. talk about what it does to you even after you are out of being held in that condition? are you damaged by it? are you able to function hike a normal person after you have been by yourself 23 hour as day? >> first of all, i want to say that our prison system has become a danger to our society, by releasing me and more -- worse off than they were before they went in. that is a big problem.
our prison system is turning off people worse off been they went in. i myself, when i was exonerated i walked out of solitary confinement on to the streets in the same day. it was just good for me that i had such a support system around me throughout my whole ordeal, that i was able to deal with it. on top of that they don't provide you with any tools to be productive once you walk out. it is a recipe for disaster. there is who transition to a kern person can come out being productive. they don't give them any tools to come out and be productive. they set them up, put them in solitary, i mean -- send them through held, and then release them. >> you were with from prison a long time, how long did it take you after coming out of
solitary to feel like yourself again. >> well, you know, i have been out 3 1/2 years and i still don't feel like myself again, i still feel confidentble when i am by myself, that wasn't me before i was incarcerated. i still go through sleep less nights, i don't get but 2 1/2 hours of sheep a night. that's because of all the sleep deprivation. i still deal with issues so i can't put a timeframe on it, i somewhere a good support system that allows me to vent when i need to, and there for me when i need a should tore cry on. >> we with are going to take a short break, and when we come back, we'll talk about the momentum across the country, taking a second look at solitary confinement. this is inside story.
>> federal judges just cleared the way for inmates of a california prison to sue alleged 8th amendment violations for inflicting cruel and unjewish punishment. looking at the use andre misuse. still with us, anthony graves who spent five years in solitary confinement, for a crime he did not commit. martin horn executive director of the new york state sentencing commission who formerly ran new york city's jails and david fauti. director of the national prison project, does this california case have the potential to make precedent in this area?
or is it just binding on pelican bay, and california prisons? >> well, as a matter of whether it's actually binding on other courts, it won't be binding beyond this one prison. courts consider what is called persuasive authority. in cases that are legally similar. so this does have the sense to set a national precedent. there come as time, when being locked in a wind with doeless box the size of a parking space violates the 8th amendment. >> to rewering maine, new york, colorado, others? is is there a momentum now for a re-examination of the use of solitary, or are there so few tools that it's going to stick with us even among administrator whose don't
want to use it. >> i think both are true, there's no question that the people that i speak to, my colleagues correctional administrators all over the country, understand the da bill tating effects of extreme isolation. and for the most part, many of them especially at the state level less so than perhaps the county jails are taking steps to reduce the reliance on this kind of isolation. t'slation will be necessary, however, or separation, will be necessary. but extreme sensory deprivation of the type
that anthony described i think will be replaced correctional administrators will have to make demands of their elected officials. their legislative bodies for the under thes to ensure that they can keep prisoners safe, and keep them healthy and sane. how do you punish men who are already being punished some of whom are pretty bad can you remembers. what is it that should be done now that you have lived this, that works? >> i echo the sentiments of the gentlemen just speaking. in some cases you have to separator inmates. in a dangerous situation, dangerous to another inmail, whether it's a danger to himself. but when you do that you have to put in steps to help them get back into population. finding out what the problem really is, and then counseling them back. it shouldn't be a point
of now return, so when you go to solitary, that's it. it should be a situation that it's sort of -- it quells down a situation, but then, once you get that person, you coach that person back into society. you council, and find something wrong for it to be a situation anyway, so find out what two situation with is, find out what his mental state is, that's when you can evaluate, and assess, and know exactly what you need to do. but you don't just put him in a hole and leave him there until you release hit back to society that's no good. what did you do to get put into segregation. >> that's just the way with we are housed. i was on texas death row, that's how you are housed.
and then you have a jail within with solitary, if you do something while housed there, they take you to jail, which means they take even more whatever little privileges you have away because you were on death roll you were already in solitary? >> yes narks' the way they house. >> ten years of your life? >> i would with say more than ten, since i don't put an actual number on it i say more than ten, but i stayed 18 1/2 years. and most of it was inin solitary confinement, because that's the way you are housed. >> thank you all, fascinating conversation. that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story, thank you for joining us, the program may be over, but the conversation continues we want to hear what youny about the issues raised on this, or on any day's show, you can log on to our facebook page, you can send us your thoughts on twitter, our handle is a.j. inside story a.m., or you can reach me directly at ray swarez news. we will see you for the
next inside story, in washington, i'm ray swarez. rioting on the streets of the u.s. after a grand jury i decides not to indict a police officer for killing a black teenager. 18-year-old michael brown was shot dead in ferguson in august. his death pr provoked nationwide outrage. >> we are a nation built on the rule of law. so we need to accept that this decision was the grant jury's to make. there are americans who agree with it, and there are americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. it's an understandable reaction. but i join michael's parents in asking anyon