Prison RapeHere's something a little off-topic that I saw over at Shakespeare's Sister.
J and I have been watching season one of the HBO series Oz recently, and although it's a fictionalized drama, we've both talked about how terrified of going to prison it makes us. Not that we haven't already been scared of such a thing, or that going to prison would remotely ever happen to us, but the stories of rape, murder, and beatings are bone chilling even for someone that would never expect to be in such a situation.
Well, the Human Rights Watch has recently launched an investigation (update: the report is 6 years old. The good news is they are currently holding hearings about this problem) into the problem of prison rape, which seems to be a complete epidemic nation wide. Take a look at this first hand account and tell me if any crime is worth this type of punishment:
When I first came to prison, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly none of this. I'm a tall white male, who unfortunately has a small amount of feminine characteristics. And very shy. These characteristics have got me raped so many times I have no more feelings physically. I have been raped by up to 5 black men and two white men at a time. I've had knifes at my head and throat. I had fought and been beat so hard that I didn't ever think I'd see straight again. One time when I refused to enter a cell, I was brutally attacked by staff and taken to segragation though I had only wanted to prevent the same and worse by not locking up with my cell mate. There is no supervision after lockdown. I was given a conduct report. I explained to the hearing officer what the issue was. He told me that off the record, He suggests I find a man I would/could willingly have sex with to prevent these things from happening. I've requested protective custody only to be denied. It is not available here. He also said there was no where to run to, and it would be best for me to accept things . . . . I probably have AIDS now. I have great difficulty raising food to my mouth from shaking after nightmares or thinking to hard on all this . . . . I've laid down without physical fight to be sodomized. To prevent so much damage in struggles, ripping and tearing. Though in not fighting, it caused my heart and spirit to be raped as well. Something I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for.
I once read the story of a man that was wrongfully convicted of child molestation when he was 15 back in the molestation scare of the 1980's, and his story was much the same. A slight young man enters a prison and endures hundreds of violent rapes while the guards and the prison system do nothing. The fact that we allow this to happen in America, even to our prisoners, is unbelievable. It makes me think that if I was ever facing time in prison, I probably wouldn't stay around for a trial.