The Michael Slate Show, May 11, 2016

Lockdown on Rikers

Rikers Island

Rikers Island

Mary Buser is the author of "Lockdown on Rikers: Shocking stories of abuse and injustice at New York's notorious jail." It is the story of her 5-year experience in the Mental Health Department at New York City's Rikers Island.

Just 300 yards from the runways at LaGuardia Airport, Rikers Island is dedicated to confinement, brutality, and torture of youth and others. Human beings languish for weeks, months, sometimes years awaiting trial. Almost all Black or Latino. Many simply for lack of money for bail. Many locked down for weeks and months in solitary confinement. Guards inflict a culture of violence -- outright murder in horrific forms, fractured jaws, broken bones, denial of medical care, cover-ups and retaliation against those who report, and rampant sexual violence against the women and LGBT people as well as the men.

"Lockdown on Rikers" shines a light into these deepest and most horrific recesses of the US prison system.

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The New Jim Crow

Then, we'll hear a replay of an interview I did with Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Color Blindness.” I spoke with Michelle Alexander shortly after the book's release. It has now become one of the most influential works in recent years, and the expression, the new Jim Crow, has passed into the way we talk about this.