Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called solitary confinement “torture” while being under the impression that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is going to be held there, Yahoo News reports. What’s more, he’s going to be held at Rikers Island, which is in the freshman Democrat representative’s home district.
Manafort is currently serving a federal sentence at a Pennsylvania prison. However, whether or not he’s in solitary confinement, protective custody, or any other form of separation from other prisoners there is not clear. However, he will soon be brought to New York City to answer state charges, and while he’s in town, he’ll be held at Rikers Island, which is where almost all New York City inmates are kept.
Rikers Island is no walk in the park under the best of circumstances, but Ocasio-Cortez seems to have concluded that Manafort will be held in solitary confinement while there, according to a New York Times report. That’s not because he’s necessarily considered an escape risk, a danger to other inmates, or because of being a repeated rule breaker. Rather, it’s for his own safety.
Prisons and jails across the country often have to deal with high-profile inmates, such as politicians or celebrities. Often other prisoners target such inmates, especially if they have a beef with the inmate. In addition, an inmate’s “high-profile” status may disrupt the routine day-to-day goings-on inside a penitentiary. For these reasons, such inmates are often kept away from other inmates.
Remember the FBI's overkill, guns-drawn, dawn raid on Paul Manafort's home? Now, he's being moved to Riker's Island, solitary confinement. 'He's not a mob boss.' From Fox: https://t.co/Ps0yWY6sXf— Byron York (@ByronYork) June 4, 2019
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, like other progressives, is against solitary confinement on the grounds that it’s tantamount to torture, a claim that Amnesty International also makes.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez reiterated the claim that solitary confinement is akin to torture.
“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,” she wrote.
She followed that up with another tweet, in which she clarified a couple of points that may have raised some confusion.
“Yes – released from solitary… ‘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.”
As it turns out, though, Ocasio-Cortez might not have been fully aware of the entire picture when she wrote her tweets. An unidentified law enforcement source confirmed that Manafort will be held away from the prison’s general population, but he won’t be in solitary confinement. Rather, he’ll be in a seldom-used portion of the prison away from other inmates. There, he’ll have access to a day room and all of the other amenities that regular prisoners at the facility are given.