Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik says that he considers solitary confinement to be cruel and unusual punishment, and that it’s important to consider the long-term effects of how prisoners are treated, especially those who will return to society.
“There’s a purpose and a use for solitary confinement,” Kerik told J.D. Hayworth on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV on Wednesday, joined by Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.
“I ran Rikers Island for six years. I took it from one of the most mismanaged, dangerous and violent jail systems in the country to an international model for efficiency, accountability and safety,” he explained.
“There’s a use for solitary — if you have threats to an institution, if you have threats to staff, threats to national security, escape risks, there may be a use for it,” he said.
“But when you take young men who commit institutional infractions and you stick them in solitary — I went to solitary confinement, I was told, for protective custody — it is mind-altering, cruel and unusual punishment for people to be put in solitary with no real purpose, with no real need that are not a threat to the institution’s staff,” he said.
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