tv [untitled] CSPAN June 30, 2009 8:00am-8:30am EDT
host: if you go online you will be able to download this report that we have a hard copy of -- shaping the future of u.s. relationship with iraq. our guest is john nagl. our last call is from philip, hartford, conn. caller: good morning. i'm glad i got through. just quickly, i know you are going off the air. host: i will put you on hold for a minute -- we are getting feedback. we will come back to you. one comment -- if it wasn't for the colonel and me and others like us, the loudmouths' who hate america would not have the freedom to spew their hate. guest: i was privileged when i was at west point to have been with them -- talk with a man who had been in vietnam. talking about jane fonda --
asked him about it, and he said i profoundly disagree with what jane fonda did. i would get wounded again to give her the right to do it. the rights to disagree, to express one's opinions, whether in form or correct or not is a wonderful ride that many americans have given their lives for and fought for. i am proud to have contributed in some way to preserving america's freedom and americans right to disagree. host: philip, we will come back to you. if the volume is down. caller: police officers become policemen, and it is their responsibility to serve. as soldiers, they make the choice, if there is not a draft. that being said, i would like to see perhaps the u.s. government maybe not accepting oil, if that
indeed was not their motivation to go there. it is quite evident from a good majority of folks believe that was the reasoning behind the invasion. guest: philip, i am sorry that so many people think that that was in fact the case. if that was the case, it was an enormously poor decision. the invasion actually increase the global price of oil and decreased world oil supplies and the united states, of course, did not claim any oil for itself and pays a fair market prices. we saw that in the auction yesterday of oil rights in the united states and international oil companies now negotiating with iraq for rights to buy more iraqi oil. the long-term answer is i think increasingly going to be finding other ways to drive our global economy. but for a while, at least,
petrochemicals, hydrocarbons will be an important engine of the world economy and we are going to need iraqi oil. our friends around the world will meet iraqi oil appeared but we buy it at a fair market price. we did not fight for it. host: our guest, president of the center for international security. here is a new report out about the situation of u.s. prisons. national prison rape elimination commission report. reggie walton, on the commission, will share his perspective about what he learned about this edition inside america's jails. and a situation in honduras, the weekend coup and u.s. policy. we will talk to former ambassador robert white, which the the center for international policy. and dahlia lithwick from "slate" magazine about the supreme court. first-come a news update from c- span radio.
>> politico reports that president obama's claims of executive war powers were rejected by federal judges nominated by former president george w. bush. in each case the judge said the executive branch was overstepping its authority and cleaning more powers than the law allowed. after being criticized recently for suggesting democrats should abandon the idea of a public insurance option for health-care overhaul, former senate majority leader tom-old, speaking earlier at the center for american progress, said he expects new health reform legislation will contain a public rotunda -- tom daschle. stock futures slightly higher ahead of a consumer confidence report. dow jones futures are up 26 and the nasdaq is up 5. government reports are due out in an hour for home price index for april and consumer confidence for gin. those are some of the headlines
on c-span radio. >> as u.s. forces handover security operations in iraqi cities today, general ray odierno, commander of multinational forces and iraq, will brief reporters. live coverage right after "washington journal." on c-span2 at 10:00 the focus is iran and the nuclear program particularly after the contested presidential election. live discussion from the hertz is foundation at 10:00. another view from the wilson center later today, 12:30 p.m. eastern, what is next. that discussion live on c-span. this holiday weekend on "book tv, " discover the unfamiliar side of the nation's first president as we are live from george washington's mount vernon estate with a historian and author john ferling. join our three-hour conversation
sunday. part of our three-day holiday weekend starting friday morning on c-span2's "book tv." >> "washington journal" continues. host: but judge reggie walton, chair of the present rate commission and served as a sitting judge in washington, d.c. one statistic -- 60,500, the number of reported cases of sexual abuse within a 12-month period which became part of this study. can you elaborate? guest: is staggering -- a staggering number but probably does not accurately reflect a problem because many individuals will not be willing to acknowledge this occurred and that was only an evaluation of federal state -- federal, state, local prison deals but it did not cover juvenile, halfway
house, pre-try out the tension, immigration facilities, so if you assess those facilities the number is probably even greater. host: what we want to remind you we are dealing with a sensitive topic of sexual abuse inside u.s. prisons. please be forewarned, the details of exactly what happens. the obvious question is, why. guest: i think to some degree there is an indifference on the part of some about the well- being of individuals who are incarcerated admittedly, you are dealing with a difficult population. so you have populations in the facilities to will prey upon individuals who are vulnerable. also there has been a lack of funding provided to ensure that individuals are in safe facilities. host: there was an editorial in "the washington post" called a prison nightmare. it says eradicating it requires
a change of mindset as well as rules. how do you do that? guest: absolutely. it is totally unacceptable for individuals to make fun of the fact that this is something that occurs. i think we have to also buy and on the proposition that there should be zero tolerance. -- we have to buy in on the proposition that there should be zero tolerance. there are some doing a fantastic job make sure this does not occur but others are not doing as well. host: 11 report, some of the blame is on the correction facilities and the officers themselves. what should they be doing that they are not? guest: there has to be an appropriate screening process to make sure you are hiring individuals who respect the rights of other individuals regardless of their circumstances. i think there has to be training and/or has to also be an appreciation that of guards stepped over the line that there would be serious consequences.
host: that is not happening? guest: in some jurisdictions, it does not happen. there are sometimes union rules that and peed the ability to make prison guards accountable for what they do -- that impede the ability. reluctance on the part of some prosecutors to prosecute cases of this nature. and sometimes there is a general indifference to the plight that many of these inmates in door. host: the issue of sexual abuse in u.s. prisons. our guest is d.c. judge reggie walton, the chair of the present -- commission. the phone lines are open. as always, the numbers are at the bottom of the screen and you can send an e-mail or a tweet comment. you alluded to something i want to elaborate on, that for many it is expected. when you are in prison, it is part of the culture. guest: there are some people who
believe that somehow that is the consequence of going to prison. i have been a judge for over 25 years. i have sentenced well over 1000 people and i never in my sentences indicated that part of the penalty would be sexual abuse when someone was incarcerated. it is just not part of the punishment. it should not be. but i think there is a perception on the part of some that goes with the territory. host: lewis is on the phone from raleigh, north carolina. good morning to you. caller: my question is, why don't they keep the prisoners under supervised activities like work and doing jobs when they are not in their cells? guest: there are many facilities that do in fact provide work opportunities for inmates. but sometimes that work is not available. there is a difficult issue that many present encounter in producing present -- present
encounter in producing goods because many may challenge the activities because they could be produced at a cheaper cost and therefore that has an adverse impact on industry and their ability to sell their goods. so there is some level of opposition to prison industry and as a result the ability to have individuals work is restricted. host: you looked at integrating some of these prisoners back into their communities. for those who experienced the horrible details of rape or incest, what does that do to them? guest: well, many of them -- and we have had testimony from individuals who were sexually assaulted -- are emotionally injured as a result of what happened to them. we have to provide mechanisms in halfway houses where most individuals will come before they are released where they feel they can receive psychological assistance for what happened to them, and if
they can feel free to relate what occurred to them without potential of recrimination. host: another part, with some who have the sentiment, and the paraphrasing -- who cares? they are in prison, they deserve it. guest: a lot of people feel that way, but the reality is 95% of the people will come back into society as if they are sexually abused and mistreated in the manner of this indicates, they would pose an even greater threat to society. host: cocotte, mass., on the democrats' line. good morning -- cape cod, massachusetts. guest: i wanted to say to the judge that it is such an honor to witness and to listen to your sensitivity towards human rights. and that prisoners deserve to be treated with respect. i know you are familiar -- and i would not go into what now -- with the inequities of the
justice system -- justice system. people suggest this is green. you are the only other -- the only other person i saw like you was a war and in angola state prison and it really touches my heart that there are people like you. dostoevsky said that you can judge to the level of civilization in a society by how it treats its prisoners. thank you. guest: @ thank you. i think it is very true. there are a lot of committed people in the prison industry that do care about this issue and who are trying to confront it, but it is obviously going to take a greater effort. host: what about sexual harassment, not just physical abuse, but verbal harassment? guest: @ it happened -- guest: @ it happens. it could be a prelude to the assault. one man testified was small in stature and when he went in he
was cautiously sexually harassed by one of the guards' and ultimately won the guard was able to have isolated, he then was sexually assaulted by this guard. host: why, why would the guards do that? is it sexual abuse, violence of use, a control issue, a combination? guest: i think it is a combination. it is similar to domestic violence. it is power and control. host: mary is on the phone from van nuys, california. caller: i have a question for you. what would happen if a human being is violated with human- rights -- they judge wrongly. the bible says if the judge makes wrong -- they have to
give 100 percent that they made the mistake. i am a strong belief here -- believer. how would they recognize the mistake they made already? host: thank you, maria. guest: i am not sure i understand the question, but obviously individuals who are sexually assaulted, it is a violation of their rights and if they can establish that somehow the government played a role and letting that happen, they can seek to bring a lawsuit and recover damages. however, that is a difficult path for an individual to take. holes cut in your executive summary, you talk about -- host: in your executive summary you talked abut zero tolerance policy that needs to be in writing and needs to come as a culture from the top.
guest: absolutely. when we say from the top, from our report, we're talking about the top of the prison organization itself but i personally believe it has to come from the political leadership at the top because governor's obviously have a responsibility to ensure that inmates are protected in their states and therefore they have to send a message out also to those who work under them that this is totally unacceptable. it has to come from the white house. it has to be let known that in our federal institutions this is not going to be tolerated it we know that if an attitude of zero tolerance exists and we have strong leadership we can in fact accomplish that. at least to some degree. you are, as you say, talking about a difficult population so it may be difficult to totally eliminate the problem but we believe the strong leadership and attitude of zero tolerance we could add a significant impact. host: how do you also deal with what some say is human nature in
the prisons. if a prisoner is telling what is happening, he or she may face retribution. guest: that is something we do address. there has to be a means by which inmates are able to report was happening without the fear they are going to be retaliated against. and that they will in fact be protected if they do make reports. that is why it is important that went inmates come into the facility they are aware of the fact that this is unacceptable behavior and it does occur they can report it and something in fact would be done. host: adam russell has this comments -- what about large, open days with no two-man sells or opportunities for privacy? is privacy rights in prison? guest: there is some level of privacy obviously imprisoned -- when they are in a state of undress or using the rest room they have a certain level of a right of privacy. i mean, one of the difficulties
we have is we do have a lot of old facilities. many of those old tiered facilities are difficult to police. and obviously if you have a single bunking, that could go a long way to protect individuals but that would be extremely expensive and i don't think our society is prepared or even able to spend that amount of money. host: our guest is judge reggie walton, the rate elimination commission and serves as a u.s. district judge for the district of columbia -- rape elimination. our next call is from southern california. caller: first of all, i respect judge walter is a very much for taking this issue on. it is something that disturbs me greatly. i am greatly opposed to putting inmates who are in new therefore
misdemeanors -- who are in there for this -- in their for misdemeanors, mixing them with violent criminals, and that happens sometimes. for example, folks who are in there for repeatedly having drug possession, i see that as somewhat of a disease or if you want to see it as a weakness, ok, whatever. i am actually opposed to incarcerating folks for that. that is a big debate. we don't have to get into it right now. but i don't think that those folks should be in their comic incarcerated -- should be in there, mixed in with a violent individuals who are prone to attack them and write them. host: thank you. guest: we totally agree. one thing we indicated in our proposed standards is there is a
very aggressive classification system that assesses individuals who are potential predators and individuals who are at risk and to make sure that those individuals are not combing old -- comingled. host: our guest served in the just department an end the drug control policy in the first bush administration and now u.s. district judge for the district of columbia. if you want to read more you can go to the web sitetonprec.us -- website on nprec.us. this will sunset and the to do list will go to the attorney general. guest: will sunset in 60 days from the released -- from the release date of the report. it is now on the table of the attorney general and he had indeed has an obligation within a year to adopt standards that will be implemented and then a year after that the states and
localities have an obligation to also implement standards or else risk losing some of the federal money. host: in chairing the commission, what surprised you the most? guest: unfortunately we have individuals who are charged with protecting individuals when they are incarcerated who themselves are engaging in sexual assault against inmates. i knew that there was a problem with female inmates, for example, being subjected to sexual abuse by male guards. i was totally unaware of the fact that this was a problem with male guards raping or sexually assaulting male inmates. that was probably one of the most shocking things. host: allison from beverly, new jersey. good morning. caller: i want to commend you for at least bringing this to the forefront. having had a son within the
prison system, so very much aware of what is going on, what are we going to do when it comes from the top and trickles down to the guards? it is promoted. it is planned. it is nothing for a guard to set another prisoner up to be raped in order to do indeed for another prisoner or get a deed done for themselves. it even goes as far into the halfway house, which i personally reported. it has gone to the juvenile center is where i had a child witness another child -- centers where i had a job with another child had a pillow over his face and individuals came at
a rate this individual -- rape this individuals. when the child was discovered bleeding from you know where, then it was brought to the attention. everyone pretended to do nothing about it but yet my child who was there and witnessed it -- there witnessed it. if the female guards cannot go along with the program, they become subject to abuse or possibly being set up by rate. ok? if they don't give sexual favors to other male guards to male prisoners, we have this problem. so, i don't know what we are going to do here because the corruption is so high. host: thank you for the call and sharing your experiences. guest: unfortunately we have heard stories of that nature.
however, i am convinced, as i said before, that with strong leadership and a zero tolerance attitude about this, we can make a difference. i can tell you that i have met with many heads of correctional facilities and entire systems throughout the country, and i think we have a lot of good professionals who are concerned about this who are trying to address it. it is not trying to suggest we don't have a lot of work to do. we do. but i haven't met any heads of correctional systems to believe this is appropriate conduct. obviously it is going to take a lot of hard work to address the problems you described. host: your report looks at some facilities with an average rate of 9.5% up to 50% of abuse and facilities and others who have 0% -- 9.5% up to 15%. guest: the zero tolerance
perspective, it is strong leadership, it is accountability for engaging in this behavior. it is training. a lot of the things that we recommend that are in fact being done by those facilities will have a 0% of this type of assault. many institutions are not, and they are the ones experiencing these problems. host: can you point to a egregious -- particularly egregious facilities? guest: i don't want to do that. we know there are facilities to are not doing a good job, and i think if i'm -- if i identify one i am excluding others. host: hilton head, south carolina. good morning. guest: the future funding will constraint prison budgets going forward. of the whole situation will get worse -- worse. can we afford to leave but i whole group of society in jail? what it be good to get them out workings of a can return
something? will it get worse with baby boomers retire in 10 years? host: thank you, bill. guest: money is reality. one of the things we were told by congress that we could not do when this commission was created was make any recommendations that would have substantial fiscal impact. we believe we have done that. but the reality is a there is a certain level of funding that has to be available to keep people safe. we spend about $68 billion in this country detaining people. that is a lot of money. but at the same time, it is money that is well spent if we are going to protect people and hopefully improve their chances of being successful in society when they come out. one of the ways we accomplished that is ensuring that people are not sexually abused when they are incarcerated. to the extent money it will not be available to keep facilities safe, obviously that will have a detrimental impact on the future
prospects of individuals coming back into society and not going back to crime. host: is report is also available online. ed is on the phone from jackson, tennessee. caller: judge -- we create our own nightmare with the war on june rugs. why don't we end the war on drugs? it devastates the black community. do you realize we had 41,000 people incarcerated in 1980 and today we have 500,000 incarcerated for drugs in federal prison and 21% of our state prisons. astonishing three-quarters of prisoners locked up on drug- related charges are black. we are creating our own problems. and the prohibition. as abraham lincoln said, prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. host: see why. guest: i do not know i would go
as far as to say to legalize drugs, because an order to destroy the black market you would have to legalize all drugs and there are certain drugs we cannot as a society say we are going to authorize our fellow citizens to use. but, yes, i agree that there is a major problem with our drug laws. one of the other issues i have been of all been is trying to convince congress to change the of 100-1 disparity between powder cocaine and crack sentencing and that the spare seat -- disparity created a significant problem in the african-american community as far as young men getting locked up for an extended period of time. host: this, saying -- aren't prison officials, by definition, liable for the consequences of rape in prisons? the prisons are under their supervision. guest: well, if prison officials know this activity is taking place and they are i