Kupers, Dr. Terry — Solitary Confinement: Locked Away with No Human Contact

 

An estimated 100,000 people are held in solitary confinement in the United States.  The conditions in which they live are abysmal.  They have little or no human contact.   Often they are kept in dark, cold, wet cells eight feet by 10 feet in size. Many suffer from mental illness prior to or as a result of solitary confinement.  This results in significant long term damage to the individuals and our society as a whole.

Dr. Terry Allen Kupers, a forensic psychiatrist, is the author of “Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It”. In this first of a two part series on solitary confinement, Kupers shares interviews with prisoners who have been raped, subdued with immobilizing gas, beaten by prison guards and whose mental and physical health needs have been ignored.  He has found that prisoners of color are much more likely to be held in solitary confinement than are white prisoners.  Kupers argues that solitary confinement is tantamount to torture, and per se violates the constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishment.

When Dr. Terry Kupers and I visit by phone from his home in Oakland, California on February 11, 2018, we began the first of two conversations when I asked him to define forensic psychiatry, and the background of solitary confinement.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Play

Sullivan, Michael Gene Political Theater, Black Men and the Police

From the archives of Radio Curious:

Theatre as a commentary on the condition of society is the subject of this edition of Radio Curious.  The topic is the relationship of police and black men in America in 2015.  Our guest is Michael Gene Sullivan, the resident playwright, director and a principal actor in 2015: Freedomland,” this year’s production by the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The first question and answer on the frequently asked questions page on the San Francisco Mime Troupe website is:  “Why do you call yourself a Mime Troupe if you talk and sing?”  The answer is:  “We use the term mime in its classical and original definition, ‘The exaggeration of daily life in story and song.’”

When Michael Gene Sullivan and I visited by phone from his home in San Francisco on June 29, 2015, I asked him if “2015: Freedomland” was an exaggeration of daily life in story and song from his perspective.

The book Michael Gene Sullivan recommends is “The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Force,” by Redley Balko.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Massey, Orell — The Impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. on One Man

To assist in the consideration of the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the United States, I invited my friend Orell Massey to join us again here at Radio Curious.  In February 2014, when Massey first visited us he shared his experiences as the first and, so far, the only black law enforcement officer in the history of Mendocino County, California.  Prior to becoming a Deputy Sheriff here 23 years ago, Massey served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was primarily assigned to the Foreign Service Embassy detail. A native of rural South Carolina, he suffered under the cloud, terror, threats and fears brought on by racial segregation throughout his childhood and early adult years before joining the Marine Corps.   Now, he continues to work part time as a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff, since his retirement in 2017. 

When Orell Massey visited the Radio Curious studios on January 14, 2018, we focused on the effect that Martin Luther King, Jr. had on his life.

The Civil Rights song featured is “Can’t Turn Me ‘Round” performed by The Roots.

The book Orell Massey recommends is “I Never Had it Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson,”  by Jackie Robinson and Alfred Duckett.  

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Play

Bayer, Jaciara — Transracial Adoptions and White Privilege

Radio Curious discusses transracial adoptions with Jaciara Bayer, a 30 year old Brazilian born woman, who is currently studying for a master’s degree in social work at the California State University at Hayward.

Jaciara Bayer was adopted and brought to the United States at age 11 months by her single, white-American mother and grew up in Ukiah, California.

A transracial adoption, which may be an international adoption, is the primary focus of Jaciara Bayer’s plan of study for her master’s degree. Sharing her personal experiences, she tells us of being told she’s different, growing up in a white family and white privilege. When Jaci, as she is often known, and I visited in the studios of Radio Curious on March 23, 2015, she began with her earliest memories.

The book Jaciara Bayer recommends is “In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want,” by Iyanla Vanzant.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Play

Patrick, William — Loneliness and How it Affects Us

How many of us are lonely? What is loneliness and how does it affect us? Approximately 25 years ago, when asked the number of friends in whom we could confide, most people in the United States said “three.” When that question was asked recently most people said “none.”

Inquires reveal that twenty per-cent of people, — 60 million in the Untied States alone – are feeling lonely at any given moment. And, it appears that chronic loneliness may well compete with smoking, obesity and lack of exercise as a significant health risk.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with William Patrick, the founding editor of The Journal of Life Sciences and co-author of “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,” along with University of Chicago psychology professor John Cacioppo.

My conversation with William Patrick, recorded on October 13, 2008, began when I asked him to define loneliness as used in their book.

The book William Patrick recommends is “The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins,” by Burton Mack.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Play

Zimring, Franklin E. – When Police Kill Part Two

This is the second in a two part series on why police in the United States kill more citizens than in any other developed nation.  Our guest is Professor Franklin E. Zimring from the Law School at the University of California at Berkeley.  He is the author of the 2017 book “When Police Kill.”

In part one, Zimring discusses why police killings are such a serious problem in the United States. He asserts it is in large part because of widespread ownership and use of handguns, which increase the vulnerability of police to life-threatening assault. 

Here, in part two, Zimring explains how the problem of police killings can be effectively controlled without major changes in the performance or the effectiveness of police.  

When Frank Zimring and I visited by phone from his office in Berkeley, California, on November 17, 2017, we began with his discussion of ways to effectively address the problem of police killings.

The book Frank Zimring recommends is “Memos From Midlife: 24 Parables of Adult Adjustment,” his only non-law related book.  And finally for full disclosure, Frank and I met in elementary school in Los Angeles.  

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

 

Play

Zimring, Frank — When Police Kill Part One

This program is devoted to some of the reasons why police in the United States kill and who the dead are.

Of the 1,100 killings by police in the United States in the year 2015, 85% were a result of a fatal shooting; 95% of those victims were male.  The death rates for African Americans and Native Americans are twice their share of the population.

Our guest in this first of a two part series on why police kill, is Franklin E. Zimring a law professor at the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California at Berkeley.  He is also the author of “When Police Kill.”

Zimring’s conclusions, based on evidence garnered from the empirical research revealed in his book show: 1) “Police use of lethal force is a very serious national problem in the United States”; 2) “Killings by police are a much larger problem in the United States than in any other developed nation, in large part because of widespread ownership and use of handguns which increase the vulnerability of police to life-threatening assault;” and 3) “Police killings are a very specific problem that can be effectively controlled without major changes in the performance or the effectiveness of police.”  This third point is the topic of part two in this series.

And, for the sake of full disclosure, Frank Zimring and I have been friends since our early years in elementary school.

Frank Zimring and I visited by phone from his office at Boalt Hall Law School in Berkeley, California on November 17, 2017.   We began our conversation when I asked him to discuss policing as a governmental function.  

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Play

Scott, Jack — Harvesting Redwood Trees, Without a Chain Saw

The California coastal redwood trees are some of the oldest living things in the world. Other than cutting the tree down, the best way to determine their age, or the age of any tree is with an incremental borer.  That’s a long narrow tube twisted into the tree from the bark to the pitch at the center of the tree.  A small finger-size “wooden rod” is removed revealing one line which represents one tree ring is then removed and counted.  Each tree ring represents one year of the tree’s life.  

Though few old growth redwood forests exist now, some of the remaining redwoods are estimated to be close to 2000 years old.  Although that is easy to say, it is beyond my ken to fathom.

96 year old Jack Scott of Ukiah, California, is our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.  In 1936 before the era of the chain-saw, Scott harvested old growth redwoods beginning at 15 years old.  Part of the harvest process was to push and then pull one end of a two-person hand-saw. When Scott visited the Radio Curious studios on November 12, 2017, we began when I asked him to describe working in the woods at that time.

The books Jack Scott recommends are those written by Louis Lamore.  

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

 

Play

Cain, Crispin — Craft Whiskey: What It Is and How it’s Made

Whiskey:  Scotch, Irish, Absinthe and Moonshine, among others, are the topics of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Crispin Cain, an artisan liqueur maker, distiller and co-owner of Greenway Distillers and American Craft Whiskey, based in Redwood Valley, California, about 10 miles north of the Radio Curious studios. We met in his office of at the Greenway distillery on October 27, 2017, and began our visit sampling some his most tasty products.  After a few sips I turned on the recorder and asked Crispin Cain to describe the distilling process.

The book Crispin Cain recommends is “Writings from Ancient Egypt,” by Toby Wilkinson.  

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Gottlieb, Dr. Dan — Mindfulness in the Digital Age

This program is about some of the consequences of that small pocket size electronic device which, as of January, 2017, 95% of adult Americans own and carry. This device is commonly called a cell phone.  In May, 2017, estimates indicate the average American over age 18 spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their cell phone every day.

Dr. Dan Gottlieb, our guest on this edition of Radio Curious, is a clinical psychologist, author and the host of Voices in the Family  aired regularly on WHYY in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He provides clinical therapy to people who suffer from feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. This condition is commonly known as anxiety and appears to be an unanticipated consequence cell phone usage.

I met with Dr. Dan, as he is often called, in the studios of WHYY in Philadelphia on October 16, 2017.  We began our conversation when I asked him about the consequences of current cell phone usage especially by young people.

The books Dr. Dan Gottlieb recommends are:  “The Black Widow,” by Daniel Silva, and “What Happened,” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.  

Click here or on the media play below to listen.

 

Play