World renown billionaire and talk show host Oprah Winfrey pitched a story to CBS “60 Minutes” about the conditions of solitary confinement after visiting Pelican Bay Prison.
Winfrey walked the halls of one of America’s dangerous state penitentiaries. She visited the prison to learn more about its “SHU” known as solitary confinement. The housing unit is to keep prisoners completely isolated from the general population. They usually stay in a dark room with no windows and sleep on either concrete or metal beds. People have considered the “SHU” as a form of torture for decades.
The “super-max” facility members defended the form of punishment. However, Winfrey spoke to several of the inmates who described it as a “modern-day dungeon.” She and producer Rome Hartman paid a visit to the penitentiary to evaluate America’s prison reform motion to reduce the use of solitary confinement.
Winfrey told the senior producer of “60 Minutes Overtime” Ann Silvio that it was important to cover the story because of how the “SHU” affects the psych and mental health of prisoners. She doesn’t feel sorry for inmates but believe their story deserves to be heard.
“They’re going to come out, this is what people don’t realize,” Winfrey said. “You’re going to be in my world and so do I want you more prepared when you come out?” She continued, “If you say, ‘Lock them up and throw away the key,’–yeah, you can throw away the key, but the key’s going to always get found.”