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The good people at SPR have a new report out about the rape of Drug War prisoners. It contains words from the victims themselves. You can read the accompanying press release here. The report is absolutely damning of our drug policy and our treatment of prisoners. It is one of those things that make you wonder how the sympathetic eyes of this nation have been blinded for so long.

Some excerpts from the report can be found below.

Remember, these are all people who were sent to prison for non-violent drug offenses:

When I went to prison, people started preying on me. I started getting attacked almost right away. I got jumped on in prison. I got beaten. I had a knife pulled on me.

I got sexually attacked too. You get labeled as a faggot if you get raped. If it gets out and then people know you have been raped, that opens the door for a lot of other predators. Anywhere I was, everybody looked at me like I was a target. I wrote everything down and documented it. I filed grievances. I did all the procedures that I could do.

I fought. I deliberately disobeyed so I could run away from my predators. I deliberately caught charges. I went to the hole. When they put you in the hole, it’s complete isolation. It was just so hard.

Eventually, they put me in protective custody. That didn’t work. I was raped there too. A lot of folks get into protective custody. They put me in a cell with a predator, a guy that had full-blown AIDS. He attacked me. He made me perform oral sex and then he had anal sex with me against my will.

You never forget. You never heal from it emotionally. You might heal your body, but you will never get over it emotionally. That’s something that is stuck in you. I wake up with it on my mind.

I started getting sick. I started bleeding really bad from the rectum.  That’s when I got the devastating news. Then everything added up. The guy that raped me in the cell had full-blown AIDS.

I felt suicidal. I felt like my world had come to an end. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, degraded, and humiliated.
[...]
I spent eight months in jail, I got raped, and I lost everything I own, but my sentence was probation.
[...]
I saw all this stuff about Abu Ghraib. People were outraged that this was happening overseas, but this is also happening in our nation’s capital. It’s happening to people who need drug treatment. It’s happening to 19-year-old girls who have low self-esteem. It’s happening to people who are arrested for the first time after being completely strung out. This is  happening in our country.
[...]
In Sacramento, the deputies were letting inmates into my cell to have sex with me against my will. The first time it happened, I tried to tell the inmate no. He showed me some autopsy photos. He said, ‘This is what happens to people who fuck with me.’
[...]
One particular evening, when they opened the cell doors to allow the inmates to come out to the dining hall, I stayed in my cell to eat food from the commissary. When the officers opened my cell door, a muscle-built guy who was doing a life sentence for aggravated rape came into my cell and tried to get me to jack him off. When I refused, he hit me four or five times in my sternum, my ribs, and my kidneys. Then, he raped me in the cell.

I did make an attempt to fight back, but I was no match for this guy. I weighed about 165. He was about an inch or two taller than me and I’d say he weighed about 220 or 230 pounds.

He gave me body blows that literally put me to the ground. He grabbed me and put his arms around me and slammed me up against the bars and forced me down and forced my pants off of me. At that point, my sternum was cracked and my ribs were bruised. I felt like there was a possibility that he might kill me if I resisted. I’d seen what he had done to me at first when I resisted. I was in a lot of pain and I was scared.

A few hours later, I took an overdose of several hundred Tylenol. I refused to allow them to pump my stomach. They took me to the hospital. They forced me—there were four or five officers that held me down while the doctor gave me some kind of injection to make me go to sleep. They pumped my stomach while I was unconscious.

The next day I woke up in intensive care. I felt really humiliated and disrespected and embarrassed. I felt anger. I was still suicidal. I told the doctor what had happened. The officers that were at the hospital were making derogatory comments like, ‘Well, he should have fought back if he didn’t want to get raped.’

Shameful, simply shameful.

If you have the time be sure to read the whole report.

Here's a past diary on the subject:
Signing statment may cover-up prison rape

Originally posted to Daisy Cutter on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:26 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great issue -needs pursuit (5+ / 0-)

    I have long been disgusted by the tacit acceptance of prisoner rape in society.

    It's even gleefully enjoyed by some whenever a hated person gets convicted.

    The behaviour of the guards sickens me.  I know two prison guards and it wouldn't shock me if either did stuff like this.

  •  Yet another shameful side effect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FutureNow

    of the "war on drugs".

    Victimless crimes. What an oxymoron.

  •  Can he sue them? (0+ / 0-)

    He reported the rapes, he tried to get the prison officials to stop it.

    Can't he sue the prison for MEGABUCKS?

    •  Tough (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, greenskeeper, Kingsmeg

      It's extremely tough to sue for prison rape for several reasons:

      1. The prison controls all the information.  They control all the reports, have personnel around who can give bland reports that they saw nothing, can hire one of a number of experts whose only job is to go around at trials testifying how wonderful prison is and how all prisoners are liars.
      1. To get witnesses, you need other prisoners.  They have their own interests and are completely under control of the prison.  Very few are willing to go against the prison and risk sub-rosa punishment (say, being placed in a cell with a rapist with AIDS).  Worse, trials can take years.  Even if you get someone to testify and interview him, there is a good chance he will have been leaned on in the intervening time and will clam up.
      1. Your victim is rarely sympathetic.  He is a criminal.  The prison knows everything bad about everything he's ever done, and he's probably done lots.  Prisoners have bad times in prison.  They do drugs and become untrusting.  They make very unsympathetic people on the witness stands and juries often don't trust them.
      1. People quietly accept it.  There is a real, though often unspoken, feeling that it is the fault of the prisoner, either for his crime or for being weak enough to be raped.  While anyone would support a rule banning rape, few juries will give damages for something that they really blame the victim for.

      Those are just a few of the issues facing prison rape suits.  They are incredibly difficult to win, which is why the problem is so hard to address.

  •  This is aweful... Good story. Needs to be heard. (0+ / 0-)

    nt

    The First Casualty In War Is The Truth.

    by Olivebranch on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:45:13 AM PDT

  •  Welcome to the police state... (0+ / 0-)

    Land of the free, and home of the jailed.

    No one seems to know or care that our supposedly "free" country incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than anywhere else in the world.  That includes such beacons of freedom and democracy as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Russia, etc.

    It is a national disgrace that no one is talking about.  I did finally hear Jim Webb mention that it was a problem, and Kucinich has come out against the war on drugs.

    Where are our "Leaders" on this issue?  It's time they are called to account!

    It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

    by Red no more on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:51:54 AM PDT

  •  Drug war problem and prison problem in general (0+ / 0-)

    It's atrocious that anyone should expect to be raped if they're sent to prison for any crime.  It sounds like prison rape has been unofficially institutionalized and this amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.  The government needs to work this.  It seems that prison rapists could be easily identified with DNA tests.  

  •  Joe Biden: #1 Prison Rape Enabler eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marquer
  •  Mind-numbing violence that rampages through (0+ / 0-)

    our society, but as long as it is kept "secret" or the victims are "the other" we can pretend we're all just normal and everything is okay.

    Thanks for diary Daisy.

    <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

    by bronte17 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 09:38:10 AM PDT

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