King Downing and Jean Casella on Racism, Incarceration and Guantanamo
King Downing joins Clearing the FOG for the full hour to discuss the criminal justice system, from police encounters with citizens through mass incarceration. Jean Casella of Solitary Watch joins the program to discuss the extreme form of incarceration, solitary confinement, which is very common in the Untied States, Anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 people are held in solitary confinement on any given day in the US. Downing and Zeese discuss the Stop and Frisk program in New York which is a form of racial profiling. There is a trial challenging the practice currently underway. Last week, two police officers described how they were ordered to target young black men ages 14 to 21. We also discuss police encounters that have resulted in the killings of young black men by undercover police. We end the show discussing the 166 people remaining at Guantanamo Bay, 86 of whom have been cleared for release three years ago but remain incarcerated. At least two dozen inmates at the prison are in the seventh week of a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. Witness Against Torture is holding emergency actions this week in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners.
Watch here: We apologize for the overlap with the previous show. If you go to roughly the 4 minute mark, you will find the start of Clearing the FOG.
Articles and websites:
A Forest of poisonous Trees: The US Criminal (In)Justice System by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
New York Subjects Prisoners to Solitary as a Disciplinary Tool of First Resort by Elena Landriscina
More Join Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Prison by Charlie Savage
King Downing is an attorney and founder of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center, which advocates and organizes on criminal and economic injustice, including mass incarceration, police abuse and racial profiling. H2RJ projects include tribal border sovereignty and youth-criminal justice advocacy for the organization of Nicole Bell, whose fiancé Sean Bell was killed by the NYPD. H2RJ is a member of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow. Most recently, he directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where he worked on mass incarceration, including solitary confinement, prisoner advocacy and conflict resolution. He is also former national coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling, which worked to identify and end “stop and frisk,” including the school-to-prison pipeline and other police abuse. He has appeared in the The New York Times, Newsweek, Court TV, CNN, NPR, HBO, The Daily Beast, Pacifica Radio Network, Investigation Discovery Channel and YouTube, and the following documentaries: Freedom Files—Racial Profiling (Court TV); Black and Blue: Legend of the Hip-Hop Cop (HBO); Injustice Files (Discovery Channel); The Jena 6; and Free Your Hood. He is a contributor to the following books: Twelve Angry Men, (New Press) and Torture in the U.S., 2nd Edition, (AFSC). King received his B.A. from Harvard University and is a graduate of Rutgers School
Jean Casella is co-founder and co-director of Solitary Watch, a web-based project aimed at exposing the widespread practice of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. Her work has appeared in The Nation, The Guardian, Mother Jones, and other publications. In 2012 she was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship for her work on solitary confinement.
Photos of solitary confinement cells provided by Jean Casella:
Cell at ADX, the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
Cell at Pelican Bay state supermax in California.
Drawing of an isolation cell by Herman Wallace, who has been in solitary confinement in Louisiana for 41 years.