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.

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Spriggs, Kent — Legal Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement

In all successful social and political changes in here in the the United States and elsewhere, civil disobedience plays a significant role. Bus boycotts, sit-ins and marches, coordinated with constitution based legal challenges to blatant racially based restrictions imposed by the white supremacy in the American south, were at the core of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Attorney Kent Spriggs, the editor of “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers: Reflections from the Deep South, 1964-1980.”  Spriggs compiled the voices of 26 lawyers, black and white, from the south and the north who began their law practices in the mid-1960s and successfully ended significant aspects of the then existing racial segregation. They describe their backgrounds and provide context for their civil rights litigation and other basic legal rights, as well as how their successes later advanced other movements for social justice.

Kent Spriggs, raised in Washington, D.C. went to the Deep South in 1965 after finishing law school in New York.  He has been a Civil Rights lawyer since he arrived there over 50 years ago. Spriggs, now a resident and former mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and I visited by phone from his home office on December 4, 2017.  We began our conversation when I asked him to describe the contributors and some of their stories in “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers.”

The three books Kent Spriggs recommends are: “The Shock Doctrine,” by Naomi Klein; “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race,” by Beverly Daniel Tatum; and “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarcertion in the Age of Color Blindness,” by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West.  

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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.  

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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.  

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Leinin, George — A Mortician’s Philosophy

Radio Curious discusses the funeral industry in the United States with the owner of a mortuary in a rural northern California town. As professionals describe their work and philosophy, George Leinen, owner of Empire Mortuary in Ukiah, California since 2000, joins us in this edition of Radio Curious to share his thoughts and experiences. We discuss funeral industry trade associations, business practices in some sectors of the industry, and how our guest’s philosophy evolved.

In this program, recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on September 21, 2013 we began our visit when I asked George Leinen to describe embalming, what it is, and why it’s done.

The book George Leinen recommends is “The American Way of Death,” by Jessica Mitford.

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President Jimmy Carter – Life After the Presidency

The Virtues of Aging

Considering the alternatives, growing older is really not all that bad. The frame of mind that we develop and carry with us as we age controls much of how we feel and behave. James Earl Carter Jr., more often known as Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the US, is the author of a book called, “The Virtues of Aging.” President Carter’s book covers issues from Social Security and medical expenses to the importance of staying active and involved. I spoke with President Jimmy Carter by phone, in the fall of 1998, and I asked him what prompted him to write the book.

President Jimmy Carter recommends “The Age Wave: How the Most Important Trend of Our Time Can Change Your Future,” by Ken Dychtwald.

Originally Broadcast: December 4, 1998

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Marshall, Dr. Joseph — Police Policies and Black Lives Matter

Police misconduct and accountability is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. Out guest is Dr. Joseph Marshall, a member of the San Francisco Police Commission where he leads the Commissions efforts to reform policing policies at the San Francisco Police Department. In addition Dr. Marshall is the executive director of Alive & Free,  a non-profit organization that teaches inner city youth violence prevention and offers higher education scholarships.  He is the host of Street Soldiers Radio aired every Sunday evening live from 8 to 10 pm on KMEL FM 106.1 in San Francisco, California.

I spoke with Dr. Joseph Marshall on August 15, 2016 from his office in San Francisco, California and began our conversation when I asked him about Black Lives Matter.

The book Dr. Joseph Marshall recommends is “The Autobiography of Malcom X.”

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Allman, Tom — Guns in Rural California Part Two

Guns: Who has them, how are they obtained and what are they used for, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

In this, the second of a two part series on guns we visit with Sheriff Tom Allman, of Mendocino County, in rural northern California.  Tom Allman has worked in law enforcement for 38 years and has been sheriff for the last 10 years. He is outspoken yet respectful about marijuana cultivation and equally so about guns, when asked.  Sheriff Allman is, among many other things, the person who issues a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Mendocino County. 

We visited at the studio of Radio Curious on August 8, 2016.  In part one, we began our conversation when I asked Sheriff Allman to describe the gun he was carrying on his belt.  In this, part two, we began our conversation with Tom Allman’s statement that law enforcement is trained to stop people, not to kill.

The book Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman recommends is “Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration—Lessons from The Second City” by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton.

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Allman, Tom — Guns in Rural California Part One

Guns: Who has them, how are they obtained and what are they used for, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

In this, the first of a two part series on guns we visit with Sheriff Tom Allman, of Mendocino County, in rural northern California.  Tom Allman has worked in law enforcement for 38 years and has been sheriff for the last 10 years. He is outspoken yet respectful about marijuana cultivation and equally so about guns, when asked.  Sheriff Allman is, among many other things, the person who issues a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Mendocino County.  We visited at the studio of Radio Curious on August 8, 2016.  In this, part one, we began our conversation when I asked Sheriff Allman to describe the gun he was carrying on his belt.  In part two we began with Tom Allman’s statement that law enforcement is trained to stop people, not to kill.

The book Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman recommends is “Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration—Lessons from The Second City” by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton.

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Miles, Dr. Steven — A Blind Eye to Torture

The silence of doctors, nurses and medics in cases of torture and physical abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Our guest is Dr. Steven Miles, the author of “Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity and the War On Terror,” a book based, in part, on eyewitness accounts of actual victims of prison abuse and more than thirty-five thousand pages of documents, autopsy reports and medical records.  His work explores the information provided by physicians and psychologists to determine how much and what kind of mistreatment could be delivered to prisoners during interrogation. Dr. Miles is a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and its Center for Bioethics.  He is a recognized expert in medical ethics, human rights and international health care.

This interview with Dr. Steven Miles was recorded in mid-July 2006 from his office in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We begin when I asked him about his motivation to write a book about the treatment of people who are disarmed and imprisoned.

The book Dr. Steven Miles recommend is “Bury The Chains: Profits and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves,” by Adam Hochchild.

This interview with Dr. Steven H. Miles was recorded in mid July 2006.

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