Brown: It definitely is exceptional punishment, don't you think? They don't have a category in jail that says, "[You're a] celebrity, and we're going to protect you." So they put you in administrative segregation, which takes away quite a few of your rights but protects [the county] from being liable for anything because nobody's going to be able to touch you.
SI: Spike Lee said he thinks the jailers realize you are so popular that inmates might rise up in support of you if you were in the general jail population.
Brown: I would never attempt to cause an uprising. But I have the ability to communicate with inmates and gang members. That's what my work has been. I've taught [rudimentary life skills to] more than 18,000 inmates in California state prisons. I've been in a room with 400 inmates, basically by myself.
SI: What do you do during the day?
Brown: I've been reading a lot of Scripture, a lot of history, the history of Navajos, American history and some civil rights history.
SI: Have you ever considered running for political office to make changes?
Brown: First, I'm not sure I'm qualified. But the truth is that politicians are basically tied to trying to get reelected, so they can't really make landmark changes. And the changes we need can't be made from the top. They need to be bottom-up changes that involve fathers and mothers, not politicians.
SI: Do you ever want to act again?
Brown: Only when it is a great director. An Oliver Stone, Spike Lee or [Tim Burton], the guy who did Planet of the Apes. It is always fun when you have a good director.
SI: What do you think of the NFL today?