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."
Paul Manafort is being sent to solitary confinement in my district - Rikers Island.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 5, 2019
A prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That‘s what solitary confinement is.
Manafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary. https://t.co/9rERLDSzrD
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 News reported 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."
Yes - released from solitary.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 5, 2019
NYT used the term solitary confinement, & that’s what I am commenting on.
“Protective custody” 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.
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."