Reflections on 60 Years of Outside Scrutiny of Prisons and Prison Policy in the United States

This speech was the keynote presentation at the “Opening Up a Closed World: What Constitutes Effective Prison Oversight?” conference held at the University of Texas in April 2006. It draws on the former U.S. Attorney General’s experience as a prisoner of war to explain the critical importance of external scrutiny and applicability of human rights conventions, and explains why people should care about what happens behind bars.