Mira Terada, head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, interviewed Jay Lee, an American journalist and blogger who talks about the egregious abuses and bullying faced by American prisoners. The human rights activist found out from the public figure how deeply corruption has penetrated the American prison system, why the mainstream U.S. media does not report on the horrific conditions of prisoners, and how the corrupt executive branch in the United States violates international agreements against slavery.
Mira Terada: Hello there, Jay. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. And please tell our viewers and readers what do.
Jay Lee: Thank you very much for having me and giving me this opportunity to have my voice be heard. I do appreciate that. First, I go by Jay on my podcast. I’m a prison activist over here in the United States, and what I do is I help advocate for prison our prisoners, and I help them out with bad and negative things that are going on inside of our prisons. And there’s a lot of bad stuff going on.
M.T.: What do you think is the reason for the formation of a real police state in the United States and what could it lead to and how does it affect the lives of ordinary citizens?
J.L.: Thank you for the question. I appreciate that. First off, the I say to my viewers on my podcast, on my YouTube channel, that the corruption inside of our prisons is very, very deep. How deep? Well, there really is no answer to that question, how far and how deep it goes. But believe me, when I say it’s bad, it’s bad. Like, right now, we’re going to get into the spring slash summer months here in the Deep South, and we’re going to end up having problems. People are going to pass away from heat exhaustion inside of our prisons. And that’s just one thing we’re dealing with the food problems. We’re dealing with health and mental health problems. So many things that needs to be brought to our attention. So there’s a major amount of prison reform that we need to take care of.
M.T.: Would you say that one of the biggest contributing factors to the growth of a police state in the United States is the so-called war on drugs unleashed at the end of the last century?
J.L.: That’s a major factor.
M.T.: For the year 2012 the highest number of Americans died of drug overdoses in the United States compared to the previous years, reflecting the development of a deadly epidemic What do you think those statistics indicate?
J.L.: Well, that’s a good question. I haven’t really focused on the drug issues itself. What I try to focus on mostly is what is going on and why crime happens in the first place, why our prisons are so full and other factors. But you brought up a good question. I just don’t really have a good answer for you right now.
M.T.: That’s okay. You do amazing work. I love your podcast, especially the one that you send me because you’ll go into and analyze, still trying to figure out what the actual reason why people commit crime. And I love that part about that is still some sort of age. They’re just not enough mature and they still are responsible for their actions, but mentally they are not there yet to be responsible.
J.L.: Yes. And I hit on that because that’s actually backed up by science data. The human brain itself, as you probably know, is not actually fully developed until about age 25. So and that’s another reason why our prisons are so full, because usually it’s mostly the young folks, the youth that are in our jails and our prisons. And you don’t really see a lot of people in their sixties, seventies and eighties in there. That just tells you what’s going on right there.
M.T.: Unless they got a big sentence when they were before 25.
J.L.: No, if you’ve been in there long enough and you’ve gotten to that age, then that’s a different story. But I’m saying doing crime at that age like say 60 and on people committing crimes, it’s rare. And the most people that commit crimes are young.
M.T.: Why do you think the major U.S. media often ignore the shocking numbers of violence and suicides in the United States prisons and temporary detention centers?
J.L.: Well, I think I’ve hit that too on my podcast. I think the major news media outlets don’t want to report a lot of the stuff that’s going on inside of our prisons, because sometimes, believe it or not, this is fact. Truth hurts, and it goes against their ratings and their popularity, if you will. So they won’t report stuff like this. It has to be reported by people like us that, you know, the low class journalism, you know, not the major news outlets, because, again, it’s not it’s not a popular topic when it comes to prison.
M.T.: I actually would call you like independent journalism that those voices of truth that are not that many left in in these difficult times.
J.L.: I tell the truth, I keep the facts real. I don’t hype it up. I don’t do quote unquote, Hollywood type stuff. And we get such a low grade. We just get such a low grade credit that nobody really looks at us, takes us seriously until it happens to them. So I think they do it just the problem that they’re afraid of people like us, you know, and there’s the problem instead of uniting people, is still trying to divide in order to control themselves.
M.T.: And that and I’m going to go along with my question. Why is the use of solitary confinement so widespread in the United States, even though the U.N. and several other international organizations regard it as a torture?
J.L.: Again, great question. And I did a podcast on solitary confinement with my locked up loved one, and I should have sent you that one, too. But nonetheless, it’s very popular out here in our prisons. And here’s why. Number one, they use it for control tactics and whatnot that even though the person or persons are already in jail or prison, they send you into another little small confined area to punish you even more for, you know, acting up or doing whatever it is that you got in trouble for. It’s a control tactic for our staff members in there because they don’t want to deal with you. It’s like throw you away and ignore you so they don’t have to deal with you. Solitary confinement is a very big mental abuse, and we’re trying to do what we can to get laws passed to abolish the segregation is absolutely inhumane.
M.T.: Did you have to face solitary confinement?
J.L.: Believe it or not, I’m fortunate. I never went to the hole. I never had to go to the hole, even though I but again, it’s all politics. I want to keep that in the mix here, because, again, you have to understand that the how do I put it? If you hang out with the wrong crowds and do stuff that the staff don’t like you to do, then your chances are going to a hole and whatnot are pretty big. If you keep yourself busy and stay out of the, you know, the negative side of prison, you won’t go to the hole. So it’s all mental job. You got to you got to basically balance it out, if that makes any sense, so you don’t have to go to the hole. Stay out of the hype. Stay out of the drama. You’ll be all right.
M.T.: Why do you think the US prison system then stipulate for prisoners labor through multibillion dollar contacts with private companies? Doesn’t it violate international agreements against slavery?
J.L.: It does. That’s actually a 13th Amendment, I think. And those although also there’s an Eighth Amendment violation to going on here when it comes to other stuff. So you’re absolutely correct. Yes. But again, getting these violations taken care of from a legal aspect, a lot of people will pick them up or take them to a court setting. A lot of these cases get dismissed. But we got to continue to do what we do, even though there’s a lot of intimidation there’s a lot of fear factor, there’s a lot of other things going on that make people not want to do these types of cases. D.O.C., as you probably know, I can do a lot of fearmongering, you know, or don’t do this or don’t do that or will retaliate against your locked up loved one. And that happens in there. So you got to basically play it by ear, if that makes any sense.
M.T.: Have you encountered censorship or artificial restrictions on freedom of speech because of your activities?
J.L.: Oh, yes.
M.T.: Tell me about it, please.
J.L.: I’ve had multiple platforms, not the ones that you see currently right now, but I’ve had things like Facebook and some of the other platforms. And I’ve gotten shut down thanks to the trolls and the haters because, you know, they don’t like me. And what I do and if you know about Facebook, like I do the owner, Mark Zuckerberg, not trying to get him all hyped up here, but he’s the one that doesn’t believe in First Amendment, ah, for free speech. So he shuts down people when we bring truth to the table. So we’re actually a big threat to him in a sense.
M.T.: US police officers are being arrested for various crimes related to bestiality and pedophilia. Why future candidates for the role of law enforcement officers not undergo any psychiatric examinations?
J.L.: Police are just as corrupt as DOC. I’ve had my fair share and run ins with the police here in my states. And they’re in such dire need of retraining, you know, and all of that, that they, they, they think just like DOC, they think they’re above the law and they’re above meaning above you and all that. So if I don’t stick to my actions, they would walk all over you. So I’m very versed in the laws. I’m very knowledgeable. And when I talk to these officers, whoever they are, cop or DOC, they don’t like me just because of the simple fact of what I can say and what I do.
M.T.: Police officers who violate the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens by breaking into their homes and pointing guns at them, tempted from prosecution due to a conditional immunity law is established by the Supreme Court in 1987 and designed to protect public officials don’t you think this law needs to be revised or repealed?
J.L.: I think it needs be fixed, yes. I get so sick and tired of seeing the cops violate, you know, going into people’s homes without a search warrant, violating people’s rights all the way across the board. So yeah, I think it needs to be fixed.
M.T.: Why do you think Biden’s nearly doubling of funding for law enforcement recruitment has not brought any results? Why does the American president think that any problems can be solved by simply funding?
J.L.: And then was money political question. All right. To be honest, I’m not a Biden supporter in any way, shape or form. So I try not to get political on these things, but for this for this interview and respectfully, I do not like what Biden is doing at all, period. And I’m just going to leave it at that.
M.T.: In your opinion, what needs to be done in the near future to reform the police and prison systems?
J.L.: Oh, that’s a lot of that’s a mouthful. I’ll put it this way to you. We cannot do both at the same time. Obviously, what we need to focus on personally is one at a time, get that one fix and then move on to the next one. There’s a lot a lot of complex issues going on on both. Both things that you mentioned, police and prisons. And we got to focus on one. Obviously, we need to bring a lot of tension and reform to our prisons because we are believe or not. And I don’t know where you guys stand in your country when it comes to mass incarceration, but in our country right now, we are the number one. And that’s bad. The number one country for mass incarceration. So we got to nip it in the but somehow there’s a reason why we are number one. And I don’t want to be number one anymore. I’m sick of it. Be honest with you. So basically what we’re getting at is that if we can fix the problem, what causes it in the first place? I think that’s a great start. Have you figured was the problem that causes it? Yeah, I think I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of things. One is it starts in the home. It starts in the home with our with our young youth. Our kids are teenagers. We were all teenagers at one time. Right. We all acted up. We were mouthy. We were disrespectful. To our parents. But I think a lot of the this this kicking them out, hitting the streets, letting them just do what they want is a lot of the problem. Parents need to be parents. And I’m just as worried. That’s why I’m out with it. Yeah, because all what you’ve got to do is just you have to give a reason to be arrested and the rest is already in their hands, basically. Yeah. No, I, I agree. And again, I’m not I’m not saying this as a bad person against parents because I know parenting itself is a major job. I’m a parent. I know that. And, and it’s not fun, especially if you’ve got special needs. So basically what I’m getting at is that the parents need to have a little bit more patience. Just don’t what soon as they turn 18 and they’re mouthy and they’re bratty, don’t kick them off in the street. Keep them home and deal with the stuff when. When, when they’re teenagers. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard thing to try to keep control of your kids, but we don’t need any more youth going to jail. That’s just how it is. It stops in the home this illusion senses a is a solution. You know, look, if you can change the situation, change your attitude toward and basically, like, if you don’t want to feed the whole stuff within the world. Right. And again, I blame not just the parents, I also blame the Internet. I blame social media. I blame the news. Because when you turn on the TV, all you see is drama, you know, and then, of course, you know, nothing against TikTok is another bad place. I mean, you got almost half naked females dancing around, parading around on TikTok and kids are watching this stuff, you know, so it starts look, I just I did explain to you in so many different ways how we can stop it from happening. But these kids idolize these people. They mimic and mock them, and then they go out, act up and do the same thing they’re doing because they think it’s cool.