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Discussing Medical Neglect in Immigrant-Only Prisons with Journalist Seth Freed Wessler

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Aired on Monday, February 22nd.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we explore the topic of unsettling medical negligence in America's immigrant-only prisons. Our guest is freelance journalist Seth Freed Wessler, whose recent cover story for The Nation in this regard is entitled "This Man Will Almost Certainly Die." As noted in the tag line for this story: "Dozens of men have died in disturbing circumstances in privatized, immigrant-only prisons. The Bureau of Prisons itself says there's a problem. And yet the privatization scheme continues." Indeed, as we learn on our show today, many of these immigrant prisoners are dying because, quite clearly, the prisons they've been placed in -- there are about a dozen of them nationwide -- are routinely and dangerously cutting costs on health care and medical facilities. As Wessler continues is his Nation article: "The full scale of the medical neglect at these immigrant-only contract prisons has remained opaque -- until now. After two years of negotiations with the Bureau of Prisons in and out of federal court over an open-records request, I obtained more than 9,000 pages of medical records that contractors submitted to the Bureau of Prisons. They include the records for 103 of at least 137 people who have died in federal contract prisons from 1998 (the year after the first one opened) through the end of 2014. The records all concern men; women are sent to regular Bureau of Prisons-run prisons. The documents include nurse and doctor notes, records from hospital visits, psychological files, autopsies, and secret internal investigations. In their pages can be found striking tales of neglect." Further, as he tells guest host John Schumann, Wessler has also reported on his privatized-prison findings for the public-radio program known as Reveal.

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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