Jun 05, 2019
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday reiterated her stance that solitary confinement is a violation of human rights and "government torture" and called for all people--including President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, should he be subjected to it--to be spared from such an abusive detention practice.
The comments began in morning tweet in which the New York Democrat responded to a New York Times tweet that said that Manafort, who's currently serving a federal sentence in Pennsylvania, would soon be heading to Rikers Island, "where he is likely to face solitary confinement." Ocasio-Cortez's 14th congressional district contains the notorious Rikers Island.
"A prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "That's what solitary confinement is."
\u201cPaul Manafort is being sent to solitary confinement in my district - Rikers Island.\n\nA prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That\u2018s what solitary confinement is.\n\nManafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary.\u201d— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1559743774
Manafort, the Times reported, "is expected to be transferred within the next few weeks to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, where he will most likely be held in isolation while facing state [mortgage] fraud charges." On the island, he would likely be housed in a former prison hospital; inmates there don't spend their day locked in cells, the reporting noted.
NBC Newsreported following Ocasio-Cortez's tweet, citing the New York City Department of Corrections, that "Manafort may be held in isolation for protective reasons, but that would not carry the same conditions as being held in solitary confinement, which is a punitive designation."
In follow-up tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said it was the Times's wording on social media--"where he is likely to face solitary confinement"--that triggered her first comment, and that the "protective custody" Manafort faces doesn't necessarily preclude solitary confinement.
But, Ocasio-Cortez added: "If he is in fact not being held in solitary, great. Release everyone else from it too."
\u201cYes - released from solitary.\n\nNYT used the term solitary confinement, & that\u2019s what I am commenting on.\n\n\u201cProtective custody\u201d IS a separate practice, but does not necessarily exclude solitary. If he is in fact not being held in solitary, great. Release everyone else from it too.\u201d— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1559743774
It's not the first time this year Ocasio-Cortez called for banning solitary confinement.
"Solitary confinement is torture," Ocasio-Cortez said at the time. "Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing, she should be released on bail, and we should ban extended solitary in the U.S."
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.