Alabama Prison Guards Routinely Sexually Abused Inmates, Report Alleges

prison guards abusing inmates AlabamaMONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A prisoner's rights group is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to look into allegations that guards at an Alabama women's prison are sexually abusing the inmates incarcerated there.

The Equal Justice Initiative filed the complaint on Thursday, claiming that guards at the Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka have raped inmates, sexually assaulted them, exchanged smuggled contraband for sexual favors and sexually harassed female prisoners. "This is a matter of grave concern to me. Sexual misconduct of any kind, including custodial sexual misconduct, is not tolerated by this Department," Corrections Department Commissioner Kim Thomas wrote in a statement.

The U.S. Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Equal Justice Initiative Executive Director Bryan Stevenson said the group didn't have the numbers of how many instances of sexual abuse have occurred at the prison, but based on interviews with 50 victims and witnesses he said it was "pervasive."

"Some of the problems are criminal in nature, some are structural and some deal with policy," Stevenson said. He said that more than 20 Tutwiler employees had been fired or transferred in the last five years for having illegal sexual encounters with prisoners. He said female inmates have been raped and impregnated by guards, and with all but one exception received fewer than five days jail time for it.

Alabama's Response -- Or Lack Of It

Stevenson said his group started its investigation of Tutwiler last summer when it was appointed by a federal judge to represent a woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted. He said in the course of investigating her claim that the Equal Justice Initiative heard from other women who said that they had been assaulted by corrections officers.

The group settled its client's assault complaint, but Stevenson said they asked the Justice Department to investigate further because they didn't see the Alabama Corrections Department making the changes they wanted after being presented with the findings of the investigation.

"There doesn't seem to be the kind of reaction to this crime that is warranted," he said.

In a news release, the Corrections Department said it maintains a zero-tolerance policy for inmate sexual offenses and custodial sexual misconduct. It said it has practices and procedures in place to identify, monitor and track alleged sexual assaults. The department says there are a number of ways for inmates and other to report abuse, including a hotline and writing or talking to members of prison staff.

The Equal Justice Initiative claims that prison staff and administration punish women who report sexual misconduct by routinely placing them in segregation. While in segregation they are unable to send or receive phone calls, mail or personal visits. They don't have access to recreation, special programs or work.

Stevenson says this creates an atmosphere of intimidation that discourages women from reporting sexual abuse. He said things like that need to change.

"Male guards go into showers, they aren't restricted from going into bathrooms, even though there are plenty of female guards ... subtle things like that we've raised as issues that we'd like to see addressed, as well as not punishing women when they bring up these allegations," he said.

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Incarceration Guide - Sexual Abuse

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I think the prison system nationwide should take a better look at the abuse that goes on in woman's prisons with male guards vs. female prisoners. A major overhaul is well over due. We've got people working in those prisons who should be behind bars not in front of them. Male guards shouldn't be allowed access to areas where females will be in situations of undress PERIOID! As for the rouge guards they need to be swiftly prosecuted for their crimes. Deviates and miscreants are running rampant under the radar.

July 31 2013 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Browne

Female guards exclusively for female prisoners? Oh please. Many of them are bull dykes who are just as horny as their male counterparts and will abuse their petty power for sex with inmates. As Lord Acton stated: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely:" People who apply for jobs as prison guards and cops are not exactly followers of Gandhi. That porcine face accompanying this story tells it all.

September 13 2012 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I personally do not think male guards should be allowed to work at women's facilities and vice-versa, not with any direct contact anyway and maybe only in emergency, back-up type, situations.

September 12 2012 at 1:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I can't believe this is on the AOL Jobs page thats a little weird

May 26 2012 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where doyou think all the prison rape porn comes from..Do you think there are just empty prisons sitting around for rent ? I wouldn't be suprised to see the hierarchy involved like you do on TV or movies

May 26 2012 at 6:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What do you mean 20 Tutwiler "were transfered" they should be charged as criminal as should the warden as an accessary after the fact. the warden knew what was happening and did nothing worthwile. The guarde should be fired and arrested as should the warden and the captain of guards.

May 26 2012 at 4:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

They should just have female guards in certain places in the prison. Convicted doesn't mean you should be victimized.

May 26 2012 at 4:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

These Male guards are savages, they think because they have that ugly brown uniform on that they can do what ever they please and you can't tell me the WARDEN doesn' know about this. If he doesn't then he is more then likely getting a big fat pay check and he dont give a rats azzz about his prisoners.

May 26 2012 at 3:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why have the never put video cameras all over the prison? This should of been done years ago in all prisons to protect everyone's rights.

May 26 2012 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Lets see now... if you rape someone you get life in
prison. But if you get raped in prison its okay?

May 26 2012 at 2:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to andrewofkcmo's comment

Who said it's okay?

May 26 2012 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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