As a Special Contributor, Winfrey details how she ended up in a prison cell at the most notorious state penitentiary in America: Pelican Bay State Prison in California (PBSP).
Oprah Winfrey’s Day in a Pelican Bay Prison Cell
The story is Winfrey’s second report for 60 Minutes. And, as cbs.com reports, this time, Oprah tells 60 Minutes Overtime senior producer Ann Silvio she doesn’t have a “bleeding heart” about the plight of prisoners.
But, she wants to call attention to the use of solitary confinement because of its impact on the mental health of prisoners. The owner of OWN says:
“If you say, ‘Lock ’em up and throw away the key,’–yeah, you can throw away the key, but the key’s gonna always get found.
Thirty years later, 15 years later, five years later, the key gets found and they’re comin’ out.”
Pelican Bay is known for its use of solitary confinement, and Oprah spoke to inmates who had served decades in “the SHU,” which is solitary confinement by another name.
Video: Oprah Winfrey Speaks to Inmate About Prison Confinement
In the video, watch Oprah’s full 60 Minutes Overtime interview with producer Rome Hartman about her 60 Minutes report “Pelican Bay.” Read More -> Oprah Winfrey Talks Confinement in Prison
Solitary Confinement Screws Up the Brains of Prisoners
According to a Newsweek report, “solitary confinement screws up the brains of prisoners.” These people quickly become that of social animals. The conditions are such that very little to no meaningful, valuable social interactions are allowed.
Plus, they are kept in a “state of sensory deprivation” with very, very little exercise or sunlight. Inmates kept in solitary confinement have almost no contact with correctional officers, other prison staff or other prisoners. They are generally even fed through slots in their prison cell doors.
Statistics say that prisoners who get regular visits from family and friends cope better on the inside. Life behind bars can lead to issues that get inmates in trouble.
But, if the stats are correct, prison visits are great motivators to keep prisoners on track, because those in solitary confinement, cannot have visits in prisons.
So, if you’re a prison loved one, join our network to follow our blog.
We’ll keep you informed on the status of our upcoming app… PrisonLifts!