From NYPD to Prison to Prison Reform

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Bernard Kerik, recent federal prison inmate, former New York City Police Commissioner and author of The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice (Regan Books, 2001) talks about his post-incarceration activism on behalf of sentencing reform.



Bernard Kerik

Comments [25]

steve cym from queens/brooklyn ny

Folks, PRISONS=JOBS for some pretty rural and otherwise impoverished areas. why else would we send 18 year olds from NYC 300 miles away for smoking a joint? its wrong, but tell that to the elected officials in the areas where the prisons are located.

Feb. 06 2014 10:33 PM
DoingTimeWithBernie from USA

What ACTIONS has Bernie Kerik taken. Actions do speak louder than words and his talk is especially cheap! I have personal knowledge Bernard Kerik is still the liar and manipulating felon who went to prison. Read more at

Feb. 06 2014 06:42 PM
Liza Wheeler from Staten Island, NY

Regardless of Kerik's sins it pleases me that someone with as much insight into the treatment of criminals has the balls to speak out about what he has observed and what he thinks our sick system needs to know and do. Having worked in a prison system as a nurse practitioner I can assure you that what he said about the "end of life" for those who have served time is mostly true. I saw repeat prisoners so often that I recognized them and knew their names when they came to the clinic - some serving time for the 5th-6th-7th time. When are we going to start treating people with mental illness - including addictions - in a way that could prevent imprisonment? There was a time when we actually DID provide health care for mental illness but today it seems the prison system is where we put them rather than treat them - no wonder they can't do any better.

Feb. 06 2014 01:21 PM
Gary from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

A is right. Millions of people have known for decades what Kerik is now saying and his comment that one cannot understand the immoral wastefulness of our criminal justice system unless you've been inside is simply not true. If it is, then there is little hope for reform, since most people will not spend time in jail. The mandatory sentencing guidelines were imposed because the Republican party figured out a long time ago that appearing tough on crime (and the not so subliminal racism inherent in that position) won elections, even if such laws did nothing to reduce crime and had severe social and economic impacts. It would be much better if Kerik at least acknowledged his own participation, when he rose to the level of being a policy maker, in perpetuating the system he now condemns. His pleading ignorance just doesn't work.

Feb. 06 2014 11:56 AM
William from NYC

There's a certain Zen listening to him talk about what's wrong about the prison system as if it's a new discovery one can only get through an insider experience.

Feb. 06 2014 11:52 AM
Janet from Westchester

I think Mr. Kerik's stay in prison has made him, if not a better person, at least an enlightened one.
I suggest that every politician should have to spend a couple of years in prison (even if they have
done nothing wrong - yet), to give them some insight into the poverty of our justice system and
it's egregious unfairness. It could be quite an eye-opening learning experience. And we might
even get better elected officials!

Feb. 06 2014 11:45 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The solution is...putting more of these pols in prison...where they probably belong they can get a clue.

Feb. 06 2014 11:45 AM

Can we have a comment from Kerik on whether or not he realizes millions of Americans have known this for years?

Feb. 06 2014 11:44 AM
Saskia from NYC

Don't confuse the messenger with the message. And hear what he says. I think it is amazing to hear how he experienced this time and how it is different. You're not interested because it is him? That is just too bad. It is not about him.

Feb. 06 2014 11:42 AM
Nick from UWS

And despite of what I think of him personally, his message is 100% correct and I support him wholeheartedly in spreading this message.

Feb. 06 2014 11:41 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Ask Kerik what Rudy thinks of what he's saying?

Feb. 06 2014 11:40 AM
Mike from Tribeca

There are many other ex-cons working for prison reform whom you could have on your show to address this issue than this creep who dishonored his office and his city.

Feb. 06 2014 11:40 AM
Bob from Flushing

So the takeaway appears to be: We have an unjust system enforced by insensitive people. Welcome to world of everyone else, Mr. Kerik.

Feb. 06 2014 11:40 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Is the moderator commenting? Interesting.

Feb. 06 2014 11:39 AM

It's nearly impossible for a politician to fight for reduced sentencing because all it takes is one convict to get out of prison earlier (or be in an alternative program) and then commit another crime, and that politician's competitors can run all sorts of smear campaigns about how they're soft on crime, regardless of how many lives the program helped.

Feb. 06 2014 11:39 AM
fuva from harlemworld

I'm sorry but the hugely disproportionate incarceration of black people is simply the perpetuation of this country's original sin. Future generations, who will hopefully know the gory details of this country's history, will look on us, who sit back and accept it, the way we look back on those who accepted overt segregation and lynchings in the past...

...Interesting that Anna keeps turning the convo back from social justice (however sincere) to the personal..

Feb. 06 2014 11:38 AM
Jennifer from NYC

Don't care how deceitful people think he is - the truth is the prison system in this country is one of the most corrupt. It needs to be scrapped, prison-for-profit ended. If he uses whatever celebrity he has to make a difference, here, then by all means . . . . It's long overdue.

Feb. 06 2014 11:38 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Does Mr. Kerik think his sentence was just? As a law enforcement agent who deliberately committed a federal crime, can we believe him when he says that he can judge whether someone - a convicted criminal - will be of use to society when released from jail or will wind up back behind bars? And how does he reconcile his crime with his position in law enforcement?

Feb. 06 2014 11:37 AM

It's hard not to feel this is a very self-serving (and self-pitying) ploy so he can have a new forum to be out on a speaking tour to earn speaking fees, maybe a book deal about his "horrendous" experiences as a prisoner. And to hear he didn't know/understand the reality of what prison and sentencing guidelines are indicates he was derelict in doing his previous jobs as a corrections officer and NYPD commissioner. Ignorance is no excuse when he was enforcing the law. He is a FELON and his crime in a way was worse than a poor person stealing food because he had a high salary, high connections, a pension, etc. he was GREEDY and ARROGANT! His new concern for the downtrodden is not credible.

Feb. 06 2014 11:37 AM
Andrea from Philadelphia

He was a corrections officer, warden, etc. and "didn't understand" mandatory minimums?! Give me a break. Unfortunately he gives credence to the stereotype that law enforcement officers live in an "us-them" world and think everyone they come in contact with who isn't a cop is a criminal. If he wants redemption, he should do volunteer trainings with police officers, ADAs, etc. to share his "new found" knowledge.

Feb. 06 2014 11:37 AM
Nick from UWS

This guy saw the injustices and brutality of the prison system ALL THE WAY THROUGH HIS CAREER, not just in his time in prison, and he did NOTHING about it, and cared NOTHING about it and said NOTHING about it. He has no moral compass whatsoever.

Feb. 06 2014 11:36 AM
Tony from Canarsie

The message is important, but the messenger is a repulsive human being.

Feb. 06 2014 11:33 AM

Sorry, Bernie. Too little, too late. If you had shown even a drop of interest in this issue before it effected you, I might have a drop of interest in this segment. But you did not, so no thanks.

Feb. 06 2014 11:29 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Kerik was never a "choir boy". He was a crook before Giuliani made him commissioner, ask any police captain at that time, about the sham mass promotions of Kerik's cronies in the NYPD.

For a man that promoted the harsh and unforgiving side of the criminal justice system, I lose no sleep that he deservingly experienced it first hand.

Feb. 06 2014 10:54 AM
Arthur Aptowitz from Forest Hills, NY

I'm not interested in what this deceitful criminal, who betrayed his offices at every level, has to say. If he believes the Federal prison system needs reform, let him return to old bed there and work from within.

Feb. 06 2014 10:08 AM

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