Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, a generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar. That means when you give $10 to Democracy Now!, we'll receive $20. So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Amnesty International Condemns the Use of Stun Belts

StoryJune 11, 1999
Watch iconWatch Full Show

As the number of inmates in prisons and jails all over the country continues to rise, law enforcement and prison authorities are turning more and more to the use of electroshock stun belts and other stun weapons. A new report by Amnesty International condemns the use of these devices, and details a number of allegations of torture and ill treatment by authorities.

It also names more than 130 jurisdictions believed to have the stun belt, a remote-controlled device that can subject its wearer to an eight-second, 50,000 volt electric shock. It is mainly used on prisoners perceived to be a security risk during trial or transportation, and it has sometimes been activated by accident.

The belt caused an international outcry last year when California defendant Ronnie Hawkins, who was being tried for second-degree burglary and petty theft for stealing $200-worth of aspirin, was electroshocked in open court for repeatedly interrupting the judge. His subsequent lawsuit led to a federal court ban on the belt in Los Angeles County.

Stun belts are manufactured by the Cleveland-based company Stun-Tech, and by Nova Products of Tennessee.

Guests:

  • Janice Christiensen, Campaign Director for Amnesty International USA.
  • Dennis Kaufman, President of Stun Tech based in Cleveland, Ohio, which manufactures stun belts.

Related link:


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation