Shane Bauer says solitary confinement is worse in the U.S. than Iran


Shane Bauer spent four months in solitary confinement, an experience he says was the most traumatic part of two years in captivity in Iran’s most notorious prison. But then he walked into a California prison and saw its solitary confinement cells where prisoners can spend years in isolation. His research on the treatment of prisoners who end up in the state’s Security Housing Units has convinced him conditions are worse in the U.S. than Iran.

Shane Bauer says solitary confinement is worse in the U.S. than Iran

We started this segment with some sound of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal stepping off an airplane in Oman and into the arms of their loved ones after more than two years in detention in Iran.

The two American men -- along with Sarah Shourd who is now Shane Bauer's wife -- were hiking in Iraq's Kurdish region near the Iranian border when they were detained by Iranian authorities. They were held in the notorious Evin prison and each spent months in solitary confinement.

But just seven months after returning home, Shane Bauer decided to go back to prison. This time to investigate a policy that keeps thousands of California inmates in solitary confinement indefinitely.

Shane Bauer wrote about his experience in the latest issue of Mother Jones Magazine. He says he was shocked to discover some of the conditions in the U.S. prisons are worse than in Iran. Shane Bauer joined us from Berkeley, California.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch.

Last Word - Laurence Kotlikoff Promo

Before we go ... You've probably been hearing the dire warnings from Washington about the dangers of the so-called "fiscal cliff" -- the 600-Billion-dollars worth of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect on January 1st unless Democrats and Republicans can agree on a way to stop it.

The problem is that most observers think that kind of shock would be enough to send the U.S. into another recession. But according to American economist and failed Presidential candidate Laurence Kotlikoff, the "fiscal cliff" is just a rounding error compared to the real problem ... the 222-Trillion-dollar fiscal gap that no one seems to want to talk about.

Tomorrow, Jim Brown brings you an interview with Laurence Kotlikoff. We ended today's program with a preview ... and some time to batten down the hatches.

Other segment from today's show:

Urge to Kill: The story of a potential serial killer

Checking-In: Listener Response

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