Lisa Ling - Examining Prison Life and Police Morale in "This Is Life with Lisa Ling"

September 22, 2016 - Lisa Ling 09/22/2016 Views: 34,142

CNN's Lisa Ling discusses her investigation into prison conditions in Los Angeles and the challenges faced by police in the U.S. (6:43)

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Please welcome Lisa Ling!

(cheers and applause)

(applause and cheering swell)

-Welcome to the show.-Thank you.

I'm such a huge fan of you andyour show and your dimple and...

The feeling is mutual.Thank you very much.

-(laughter) -Thank you so much.That's weird. Um...

-Sorry. I...-Okay, now I'm on the spot.

-Hi.-Welcome to the show.

Big fans of yoursin the building.

Big fan of what you're doing.Congratulations, first of all.

-This is the third season ofyour show now. -Yes. Thank you.

-So congratulations on that.That's exciting. -Thank you.

-Premiering on Sunday.-(applause and cheering)

-Yeah.-Let's get straight into it.

You know, you say "this islife," but is this really life?

You go out there,and you discover worlds

-that I think a lot of peopledon't even know exist. -Well,

honestly, that's why I feelso lucky to be able to do it.

I mean, I really feel like

by gettingto know each other better,

getting to know worldsthat you may be unfamiliar with,

we become smarter people,um, we become better people,

and I think, ultimately,that's our goal.

I mean, we don't becomeTomi whatever. God.

24 years old? How do you...?Like, how are you so angry?

-It's insane, right?It's insane. -Yeah. Yeah.

But if you live in a worldwhere you believe

that you only should be angry,than I guess it makes sense.

Yeah, and our showdoes the opposite, you know?

It really gives you a chanceto let people talk

and gives you a chanceto get to know people,

rather than judging themoff the bat.

In this episode, or the clipfrom the episode that we saw,

you went to, I guess, one ofthe largest prisons in America.

The largest jail in America.Yeah.

The largest jail in America.Yes.

Yeah. It's my hometownof Los Angeles.

It's the largest jail systemin the country,

maybe even allof the free world.

It's also the largestmental health institution

in the countryand the biggest...

But how? How does that...?That shouldn't be, though.

It shouldn't be, but Los AngelesCounty alone is just massive,

and so,as a result of this population,

the jails and prison system--they're just exploding. -Yeah.

When you wentinto this environment,

I mean, you obviously plan aheadand you know a lot,

you have the information, youhave the facts ahead of you.

But what are the thingsyou discover

once you get into the jail?

What are the thingsthat blow your mind,

even though you're expectingalmost everything?

Well, this jail is unlikeany jail system

I've ever experienced.

I mean, I've done workinside prisons in this country,

in jails in this country,even some overseas,

and this place is just, uh,kind of a beast unto itself.

I mean, the-the biggestfacility, it's seven facilities,

but the biggestis the men's central jail.

And the-the architectureis entirely antiquated,

and there are thousands of men,

and it's just thisteeming environment,

-with such gang politics,-Yeah.

and so many issues involved.

Los Angeles is the gang capitalof the country,

and, so, navigating thosepolitics is incredibly complex.

And it's a system that has beenmired in controversy for years,

and-and there have beenso many allegations

of the abuse of inmates,

and-and those allegationslead all...

led all the way to the top,even to the sheriff.

-There's-there's another episodecoming up in the series, -Yeah.

where you go into thePhiladelphia Police Department,

and I think that,

especially with what's happeningright now in America,

-is particularly intriguing,-Yeah.

because they gave you accessinto their world,

and they seemto be acknowledging

that they do have problems?

Well, you know, not a daygoes by, it seems,

that we aren't hearing aboutpolice-involved shootings.

You know, Charlotte, Oklahoma,perfect examples.

And the Philly Police Departmentgave us very rare access

to embed with them.

And over the years they havereally been trying to implement

some new thingsthat seem to be working.

The incidents of-of violence

by-by police officershas-has been reduced.

And a coupleof their main things,

I mean, they-they are deployingpolice body cameras.

And-and the copsthat we spent time

seem to be in favor of that.

Because often, they say,

-that when we these images,-Yeah.

we don't see them from when thepolice officers first arrive.

Often citizen cameras catch thema little bit later.

But the police chiefs,

uh, the current chiefand the previous chief,

they have implementeda lot more training.

And the police officerswe spent time with

had been in the departmentfor many, many years,

and they said that this training

has really helpeda tremendous amount.

And-and-and one has to wonder

whether police officersthroughout the country

are getting the same levelsof training,

-because we spent timewith six police officers. -Yeah.

And most of them had beenwith the department

for many, many years,

and only one had everdischarged his weapon.

-Of the six.-Like, ever?

Ever.Ever in their entire careers.

So we see so many imagesof-of-of police brutality,

and-andofficer-involved shootings,

so our assumption isit's happening so often.

-But I think that themajority... -The assumption...

Yeah. The assumptionis that a lot

-of police officers are...-Are aimlessly firing.

-in a space where they'redoing this... yes. -Yeah.

But I think that the majorityof police officers

do try to do the best jobthey can.

But they-they...their-their image, obviously,

gets tarnishedby-by the news reports.

Was there a moment where,candidly,

you were able to discuss this?

Because, it is true--and, I mean, there are unions.

There are institutions.

It's very different becausethe public reacts viscerally.

Police are within a body.

But were there moments wheresome of the police said to you,

"Hey, I get there are bad cops

and I don't know whatto do about it."

Or that "I understand whythe image is tarnished."

-Was there some sort-Oh, absolutely.

-of reconciling with whatwas happening? -Absolutely.

The police officerswe spent time with,

I mean, th-th-they're feelingpretty demoralized.

They... a lot of themwent into police work

because they really wantedto be cops.

They really wantedto help people.

And-and, uh, because of allof the news,

and-and that's not to underminethe egregious acts of violence

that we've seen,but they-they have a hard time.

Because they-they don't feelthe pride that they felt

when they, when theybecame police officers.

But one of the other thingsthey're trying to implement

in Philly, um, is when yougraduate from the academy,

for six months you haveto be on foot patrol,

-so you have to go into thecommunity, -Community, yes.

and get to know the folksin the community.

Allow them to get to know you,and, so, you have to do that.

-And so those three things...-And that's interesting,

-So that you can see themas people. -Yes.

So those three things, the bodycameras, more training,

and-and getting copson to the streets

seems to be working in Philly.

And I hope other policedepartments take a page from it.

Well, I will say this,

just watching a few of theepisodes from your show

has just, uh, opened my mind

and I hope everyone,uh, joins in.

So congrats on everythingyou're doing.

-Thank you.-Here's to many more seasons.

-Thank you.-Thank you so much.

-Thanks to more dimples.-Thank you for being here.

The season premiere of This is Life With Lisa Ling

airs Sunday, September 25that 10:00 p.m. on CNN.

Lisa Ling, everybody!