Friday, April 09, 2010

Female guards biggest source of inmate sex abuse allegations

One excellent result from the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is that we're getting for the first time a more accurate picture of sexual assault behind bars that in many ways defies the usual stereotypes. A Houston Chronicle editorial this morning ("Stopping prison rape," April 9) remarks on the results of a study authorized PREA which showed several Texas prisons led the nation in alleged sexual assaults on inmates:

Even by the standards of the Texas justice system, the number of rapes committed in our prisons is astounding. And it's even more appalling that most of the rapists are corrections officers — the very people charged with enforcing our laws.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that of the 10 U.S. prisons with the highest rates of sexual abuse, five are in Texas. The Estelle Unit, in Huntsville, is No. 1 on that wretched list.

Nationwide, 4.5 percent of prisoners report that they've been sexually victimized in the last 12 months. At the Estelle Unit, it's 15.7 percent. Assuming that Estelle is running near its capacity, that means roughly 470 people are raped there each year; many of those victims are raped more than once.

The other four Texas prisons on the list — the Clements Unit in Amarillo; the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls; the Mountain View Unit near Gatesville; and the Coffield Unit near Tennessee Colony — had rates between 9.3 percent and 13.9 percent.

Most often, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics surveys, the rapists are corrections staff. The prisoners most at risk tend to be the weakest: women, gay men, juvenile offenders, the mentally disabled, the physically small and those new to life behind bars.

In every state, it's a crime for corrections officers to have sex with prisoners, whether it's consensual or not. But that crime is rarely prosecuted.

Relatedly, Mike Ward at the Statesman has a blog post about a bipartisan letter from legislators asking TDCJ officials to address the issues raised in a recent report by Just Detention International.

And I'd missed last month an essay in the New York Review of Books focusing on carceral rape and in particular the TYC sex abuse cases. Notably in juvenile lockups, "Fully 80 percent of the sexual abuse reported in the study was committed not by other inmates but by staff. And surprisingly, 95 percent of the youth making such allegations said that they were victimized by female staff." In county jails, 62% of alleged incidents involved female guards.

While it's sexual assault by definition under the statutes, even when there's no coercion involved, female guards having sex with male inmates isn't the typical image that comes to mind when you hear the phrase "prison rape." That also flies in the face of statements that the most likely victims are "women, gay men, juvenile offenders, the mentally disabled, the physically small and those new to life behind bars." I doubt those are the inmates female guards are targeting: Stronger inmates preying on the weak and vulnerable seems like a strikingly different dynamic than what's happening with female guards and male inmates, and will require different strategies to stop it. OTOH, relationships between inmates and female guards are far from harmless and pose potentially grave security risks.

UPDATE: R.G. Ratcliffe at the Houston Chronicle has a followup published April 10 titled "Prisons chief says rapes down 40%." However, TDCJ chief Brad Livingston is distinguishing "rapes" from consensual sex between guards and inmates. Ratcliffe writes:

The state prison system officially had 248 confirmed inmate-on-inmate sexual assaults in 2007; 195 in 2008; and 154 in 2009.

“From all of the reporting, the alleged sexual assaults in our system, those numbers are headed in the right direction,” Livingston said, adding, “One sexual assault is one too many.”

But the state's numbers may not reflect the size of the problem. These numbers reflect sexual assaults that were reported to the Office of Inspector General and were determined to have some element of non-consensual sexual assault.

However, a Bureau of Justice Statistics anonymous survey of prison inmates done in 2007 estimated that 15.7 percent of the inmates at the Estelle Unit alone had been victims of sexual abuse. That would have accounted for about 433 inmates in that one unit in 2007.

If the survey of 15 Texas prison units is correct, more than 2,600 state inmates were victims of sexual abuse in 2007 — almost 10 times what the state is reporting.

These data require further parsing to make sense: The number TDCJ says went down 40% does not compare apples to apples with the study that estimated 15.7 percent of inmates at the Estelle Unit were "victims" of sexual assault. The inmate survey documented BOTH inmate on inmate assaults and illegal sexual contact with guards, including consensual relations. By all accounts, the latter is more common than the former, which is probably the situation that's represented by the high figures at Texas prison units.

35 comments:

Charlie O said...

Prison rape exists and is not prosecuted because way too many people in this country believe that anyone in prison deserves whatever happens to them. Regardless of the perpetrator. Just watch any police drama on TV on any given night and see how many times arrested suspects are threatened with being put in a cell with "Bubba" and then comes the obligatory laugh and giggle from the cops.

Anonymous said...

Dang, you got female guards giving bjs to the young bulls locked up?

No wonder they keep reoffending.

Debbie said...

If they're youth, and female prison guards, then we're talking about not just rape, but statutory rape. :p

Anonymous said...

It's a racial thing for the White females.

Anonymous said...

To anyone with any degree of familiarity with the inner workings of the prison system, this is hardly news. In many (if not most) instances, these female officers are seduced by sex starved male inmates who have nothing better to do than play little con and seduction schemes. There certainly is very little incentive for the male inmates not to pursue the female officers. Once the relationship is started, Grits is absolutely right about the inevitable security risks which ensue. Female officers who are in these illicit relationships become especially vulnerable to blackmail which leads to traffiking of contraband, increased potential for escape, etc.. Not to sound sexist, but what did anyone expect when female officers started working in male prisons? Really.

Anonymous said...

"Raped by The State" revealed several situations where female JCOs had sex with locked-up male juveniles. Its difficult to understand WHY they do it. One even divorced and then married the juvenile later. Really strange people that desire sex with people locked up. The administration usually just allows the offender to resign, rather than prosecute them.

Anonymous said...

It used to be very common with female staff at TYC. The cameras make it more difficult these days. Some staff like a little privacy. Administrators covered up for their favorites.

Anonymous said...

, "these female officers are seduced by sex starved male inmates"

Feminist much? Why i it that rape is always the man's 'fault'?

"A man raped someone today, no matter he has no arms or legs, HE is still the perp.." That statement would be accepted faster than someone saying a woman sexually assaulted a handicap man... And why is that? Fem groups have so emmasculated men that we sit back and take this non-sense. Time to say no more and put these sexually oriented predators ni the correction system BEHIND the bars they see every day.

Pirate Rothbard said...

"And why is that? Fem groups have so emmasculated men that we sit back and take this non-sense. Time to say no more and put these sexually oriented predators ni the correction system BEHIND the bars they see every day."

Yeah I agree that feminists can have some messed up ideas. But what do you expect? There just a bunch of girls.

On the other hand, I would have liked to have banged a teacher when I was in high school. I wouldn't have liked for the gym coach to do that to my sister. So there is a difference.

Matthew said...

I you folks recall, I stated this in the earlier string regarding prison sexual allegations.

Matthew said...

Here is what I posted last:

"I used to work at the Bill Clements Unit as a correctional officer at the ripe old age of 19 years old until I was 21 years old.

What must be understood that (at least at that facility) what happens is that there are very few officers for quite a few inmates. Like one officer to a few hundred inmates. The inmates will abuse each other where the officers are not.

Now as for a male officer raping a male inmate... That was unheard of there. At least I never heard of it when I was there. However a female officer having consesual sex with an inmate (the crime is called Violation of the Civil Rights of a Person In Custody; Improper Sexual Activity with a Person In Custody--Not a sexual assault) was more common than I would like to admit.

However the administrators actively attempted to route out these female employees that were doing that, but few were ever prosecuted....

Also, there was often a general apathy towards prisoners which I must admit that I shared. I was there to protect free citizens of Texas, not the criminals that were there. If I came accross a major incident, I would report it otherwise what happened when I wasn't around wasn't my concern. I just wanted to go home at the end of the day.

You can solve deliberate indifference maybe, but you can't make people care about sex offenders, murderers, theives or gangsters.

Just being honest folks. Working in a prison is an experience, I would suggest a tour sometime.

To tell you the truth I am WAY happier in law enforcement."

I think that some female prisons guards (and in female institutions male prison guards) are highly suseptable to inmate manipulation. They should know better, they work in a prison. An inmate will do anything he/she can to gain some of the comforts of the outside life: contraband, sex or even to escape. I think this matter is less about sex but rather an abuse of authority on behalf of staff members and a prison game to inmates.

Just thought I would throw my two cents in.

Anonymous said...

I fill for the good female officers that have to work in a mens prison they are disrespected on a daily bases the inmates masturbating every time a female goes on a tier or just pulling their piece out on them. Instead of writing cases on them they should go file freeworld charges on their nasty asses. Put that sex offender jacket on them. Because if they will do that in prison just think what they would do once on the streets,

Cindy said...

I am currently working in TDCJ and there are lots of female officers that do enforce rules and are good officers. There are bad male and female officers the same as there are with any other organization. Bad clerics, bad teachers, bad police, bad nurses, bad counselors, bad employers and bad employees. It doesn't matter where you work, there are always going to be good people and bad people. TDCJ Officers HATE dirty officers (at least all the ones I work with). I have "discovered" several illicit relationships on several TDCJ Units, County Jails, City Jails and 2 Sheriff's Depts (over last 7 years). I document what I found, report it and try to follow up that action was taken. If not, I report it to someone else until that person is no longer employed.

Charlie O - yeah we laugh at the Bubba jokes and "don't drop the soap", but I would never condone someone being abused and would do everything in my power to stop it.

Prison rape is serious and is taken seriously by the officers and TDCJ administration.

Thank you Scott for the opportunity to comment on these posts.

Boyness said...

Anonymous said...

I fill for the good female officers that have to work in a mens prison they are disrespected on a daily bases the inmates masturbating every time a female goes on a tier or just pulling their piece out on them.
-----------------------------------
One small point of clarification here, they DO NOT HAVE to work in a men's prison, they CHOSE to.

Anonymous said...

Some single moms do for the Insurance and to make a living for them and their children. But I guess if it was your mom sister or wife that worked for TDCJ you wouldn't have a problem with an inmate showing them their JOHNSON. But then again a sex offender wouldn't have a problem with that.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see more discussion on the methodology here. How many of these prisoners are fabricating their stories about hooking up with a female correctional officer?

JTP said...

We send people to prison because they commit crimes. Prison is supposed to limit and eliminate access to some free world perks, including sex with other. Masturbation is ignored as long as it is done in private and not as an act of indecent exposure.

Some offenders are not content with this release. They seek physical contact with another person, consensual or forced. They seek human touch and intimacy. That is intentionally forbiden because part of the prison experience is supposed to be a limitation on this freedom. It happens because human beings a) tend to need touch, and b) sex is a very pleasurable form of sex.

Prison staff are not screened for their values around sexuality, needs for touch or intimacy.

Women are raised as care givers and helpers before they are trained as correctional officers. Training can overide some things, but it is difficult to eliminate what most women are raised with. Yes, they can mouth it for the administration, but they are vulnerable. Some women are more capable of segregating their personal needs from their professional needs and are more able to resist temptations. For those women who get involved, it seems to be related to a self-image that is poor and requires some affirmation as being "wanted" and "sexy". Some women come through the gate and bring their personal problems with husbands and boyfriends with them. Offenders pick up on attitude, appearance, facial expressions, etc. that give away what these females are going through. It starts out as a casual conversation and then gets more private and more personal. These things develop over time. Even in prison, as in the free world, few people walk up to another person and say, "would you like to have sex with me." Once the relationship is established, it is hard to hide, because prisons (adult and juvenile), are filled with "eyes". Usually, another staff or another offender becomes jealous or angry that this relationship is happening and "snitches" the couple off to administrators.

Our culture historically has not considered females as sexual predators. Only lately has this become something we see in the media. Female elementary teachers having sex with male teens in their charge. Babysitters sexually masturbating or sexually penetrating pre-verbal children that they babysit. These images challenge the helper/caregiver role that women naturally were expected to carry out.
Our society still considers the offender who gets sex from a female officer as ver lucky. He is not usually complain that his Civil Rights have been violated.
It is true their is some "grooming" of female officers by offenders, but you can't groom just any female. She has to have a "chink" in her emotional armour. Until that is addressed through ongoing training and support groups for female officers, the problem will continue. To think otherwise is naive. Some prison systems allow conjugal visits in an attempt to normalize the prison experience. Texas is not open to that concept because it would be seen as not being "tough on crime".

Anonymous said...

Cindy, a lot of us think it would make more sense to just not have female guards around male prisoners than to have an elaborate intervention for the horny female guards.

As far as conjugal visitation, that will only help the small number of prisoners who can get women willing to come in and do that.

sunray's wench said...

This is such a complex issue, so many different factors and scenarios. The world inside prison is simply not the same as the one outside, and trying to fix it with free-world answers sometimes (as in this case) does not always work.

There are clear options for an officer (male or female) who is "attracted" to an inmate. Either keep it to yourself, or request to transfer from that unit. It is NEVER alright for an individual in a position of power and trust to put themselves and others in danger by engaging in physical or emotional intimacy with an inmate.

I will never understand an individual who has every opportunity to pick up someone in a bar, but chooses to do so at work when they work in a prison. We hear a lot of criticism about women who have inmates as penpals and how low their self-esteme is supposed to be. No one says the same about women who have sex with inmates while working in a prison. How low must their self-esteme be?!

With inmate/inmate rape, this is a serious issue and rarely about the sex. TDCJ has few single person cells. While TDCJ is pretty good at the control side of their remit, it fails miserably at the corrections side.

JTP mentions "conjugal visits". These are viewed as much more than opportunities for sex by the States that permit them, and by the families who are eligible for them. Texas would not allow them in it's current mind set not because it would not be "tuff on crime" but because it would be seen as giving the inmates something. No thought is given to what it could give the children, spouses and parents of inmates as they are so obviously not important unless they can be squeezed for more money in some way. In some ways, Family Visits as they are known elsewhere (says a lot about Texans if all they think of is sex) are a form of parole for the incarcerated, and certainly can be used as a tool for behavioural change if the state is willing.

BportTXAG said...

We will continue to see this type of behavior in public servants until we pay them more, and not just because they deserve it. Higher pay, leads to more applicants. More applicants leads to a higher level of selectivity which leads to higher quality public servants. Additionally, more applicants leads to the ability to fire individuals who do not meet standards more freely. This goes for correctional staff, police officers, teachers, etc. and until the public demands change, we will get the same results.

sunray's wench said...

I've just had it pointed out to me that the statistical data is flawed. Texas reports all actual and allegations of rape. Most other DoCs only report actual rapes. That, apparently, is why Texas comes out on top (no pun intended).

Boyness said...

Anonymous said...

Some single moms do for the Insurance and to make a living for them and their children. But I guess if it was your mom sister or wife that worked for TDCJ you wouldn't have a problem with an inmate showing them their JOHNSON. But then again a sex offender wouldn't have a problem with that.

4/10/2010 09:34:00 PM
---------------------------------
First of all, there are other places these single moms can work besides a MENS PRISON. Save your whining for someplace else. Second, my mom and sister have never HAD to work in a mens prison because they could not work someplace else. I just dont see TDCJ as a last refuge for all the single moms who need jobs. What in the hell do you think a prison is? A social club? A church? Are you an IDIOT? These places are insane asylums and the behavior is NOT normal, ever in anyway. I am not justifying some guy showing his penis to anyone but you act like this isn't normal. I submit it IS as these facilities are strong on locking these guys up and WEAK AS HELL on dealing with there issues. What we are talking about here is a hell of a lot deeper than some job seeking single mom. (THROWING UP!)

Anonymous said...

Whats so wrong? The locked up guys get some satisfaction, while the female guards get extra benefits. Everyone wins. Just the folks that miss out on the action get worked up. Get over it since it will continue to happen. Enjoy your work or go else where.

TDCJ EX said...

One way to to reduce this is not allowing bosses and rank of opposite gender in living areas or be alone wth a prisoner . Boyness is right no one has to work for TDCJ they chose to or they live in a prison town where TDCJ is the only or best paying employers creating another problem . It wo0ntv stop it thought male bosses have have been known to rape male prisoners . I have heard of female bosses w demanding sex from women too . One reason this is a problem , prison is the near perfect place for a sexual predator to work giving them access to a vulnerable population that will not be believed if they do come forward and disclose boss sexually assaulted them . Rarely are bosses in TX at any rate prosecuted for sex crimes it is extremely difficult to get a conviction in where prison is a large an growing part of the economic base Very rarely are the bosses in Gatesville or Marlin ever charged with sexual assault though it happens .A prisoner often is not going to talk because f the very real fear of retaliation from other bosses . Who will form a gray wall of silence and make it very clear that retaliation will be fast and brutal often including rape .

I fully support surveillance cameras on all the units so that it is all but in impossible to be unseen by one there are ways to do this with out view a persons showering or using the restroom ,to be polite about it Hell I full want full on the internet for a small fee to fund them to prevfent such a agency from becoming too dependent on the state . I suspect such a agencies would easily be self supporting . .

I also support every single TDCJ employee be drug tested on a daily basic with a blood draw .Not only for illicit drugs use but testing for steroids will be huge help. So will random on the spot alcohol testing. These contribute to not only sexual abuses but other forms of abuse

It is never acceptable for a boss or rank to engage in any romantic a relationships with any prisoners they should quit and find other employment should that happen . There is no such thing as consensual sex in prison .


Sunaray the whole “tuff on crime” politics is nothing more than using the population overall lack of knowledge regarding the legal system To get elected an d of course attack a political opponent with .it has nothing what so soever to do with any real solution to any social problems Most of it is “feel good legislation” that does little good and lots of harm .


What do you expect from a public that is willing pay thousands of dollars to but virtual products for their Facebook games , more interested in the lurid details of celebrities lives and is more aware of who will win the next reality TV contest . Ironically some of those who i spend a lot of money on Facebook games and buying virtual products for things like farmville routinely make fun of some one who, god forbid sends a few dollars to a loved one incarnated or is a pen pal to a prisoners who often has lost most freewheel contact.

The more I think about the idea of remove a basic human desire not just sex but a normal social environments not such a good idea. It obviously is not working .It might be a good vote getter but that does not mean it is good policy or of any value other than revenge and retribution .

To begin stopping sexual crimes in prison , bosses and rank who commit them have to be successfully prosecuted and held accountability ,. Bosses know exactly what will happen to them should they ever go to prison. The problem is they know even if they are caught nothing will happen out side of on a bad day getting walked of the unit

If a boss breaks ranks and either reports or testifies against a dirty boss or rank it will not only wend their employment but possible result in retaliation and violence that can bedadly as bosess own and carry lots of firearms off duty .

Anonymous said...

wow! I'm surprised some of you are not saying it is a white female with a Ph.D. thing. Isn't that what you blamed on TYC?

Anonymous said...

No one wanted to say it, but you're right.

Anonymous said...

You may not be aware of it, but people do notice white females when their behavior begins to cross the line.

People are not completely unaware of the gender and the race of people who are having sex with inmates.

Anonymous said...

So true. The problem is nothing is done by management except the transfer the sex abuser to another unit or simply cover for the abusers. Wasn't TYC the typical example, but it is widespread in TDCJ and other correctional agencies. As long as management is indirectly involved and turn the blind eye, it will go on.

Boyness said...

TDCJ EX said...

Rarely are bosses in TX at any rate prosecuted for sex crimes it is extremely difficult to get a conviction in where prison is a large an growing part of the economic base Very rarely are the bosses in Gatesville or Marlin ever charged with sexual assault though it happens .
---------------------------------
OMFG are you kidding? We could NEVER prosecute all the dirty officers, we would have to build more prisons just for them!

Anonymous said...

Too true. Just look at the TYC situation. Administrators knowingly covered for child abusers by having them transfered and even promoted, rather than deal with the abuses. This type conduct went all the way to the top and still goes on. Those involved were allowed to escape through retirements, transfers and well thought out resignations. Just look at those involved and where they are today. Even the projected prosecutions of the main two will be brushed away with a slap of the hand, if even that.Now wonder why sex abuses continues in the Texas corrections system.

Boyness said...

Anonymous said...

Now wonder why sex abuses continues in the Texas corrections system.

4/13/2010 08:12:00 PM
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It's not hard to figure out. Texas is the second shadiest state in the nation right behind Louisiana.

Anonymous said...

Gatesville, Coryell county has been covering for corrupt boss for 120 years. Most crime in that county against children are really covered up, with dirt, in unmarked graves. When I was rolling through the brownwood reception center the case worker in the 70’s, a goat raper chick had the power to trade sex for a better facility placement, otherwise I would get sent to Mountain View, then tyc maximum security faculty. I was a city kid and middle aged goat raper chicks did nothing for me. Couldn’t get it up, I tried, didn’t want to go to Mountain View. Once at Mountain View, the people realized what had happened, and perhaps the duties of receiving male inmates being transferred to brownwood was still bitter and over road the skank and sent me to Terrace. There wasn’t the skank or ho parade in gatesville back then like it is today. The matrons and kitchen woman dressed modestly.
I can understand the desire of one human being to torture another wanting to work in a Texas lockup but come on cant you ho’s get some satisfaction in the free world? I have heard rumors that the ho’s are more obvious than the skanks. I guess they think they can get away with it more.

Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s
mvssb gssb Ftyc

ProCO said...

Why is that everyone seems to want to beleive the inmates at their word? These statistics are based on inmate surveys - not on staff or offficial DOC reports. Keep on beleiving what the inmates say!!! The BJS Report of 2007 showed that the overwhelming number of allegations being made by the inmates were unsubstanitaied. They have numerous alterior motives to report aledged sexual abuse. Does prison rape happen - yes, but less then it does on the outside. There are more than enough homosexuals in prison ready to accomodate. Rape is about power not sex and regardless of what the inmates want you to beleive it is very rare.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you something. Everyone here, on this post, or in the freeworld, can say "oh, it happens because... of this or that". But if it happens, for ANY reason. it is WRONG and criminal!
Get it right people. It is WRONG! Period!

it is not a "game" and there is no reason. If a guard ANYWHERE has sex with an inmate it is AGAINST the law. Seduced? against the LAW! Consensual? AGAINST THE LAW.
Lesbian guard, lsebian inmate? AGAINST THE LAW!

Any questions? None? Good.
Oh, you have object to what I say? You are WRONG!

Anonynous wrote " its a racial thing for white females" You must be totally ignorant, and dead morally, or did so many drugs your brain is fried.
Oh, yea....your answer! brilliant! that explains it....we can all relax thanks to your inifinite wisdom!

Wake up people! Do unto others as you would have then do unto YOU----

Anonymous said...

I worked in a Texas prison. I'm telling you, female bosses typically don't sexually assault anyone. Female bosses are targets for the duck game, i.e., they're considered ducks. In other words, inmates are real good at persuasive psychology. They spend lots of time learning and practicing it together. It is usually a collaborated effort on the inmates' part. These female bosses are victims to an effective game. We are all warned about it both during academy training and in our actual unit, so they should have known. But... Those inmates have been known to turn classy, respectable women into skanks or prison prostitutes. Others develop "relationships"... That where an inmate tricks a boss lady into thinking he loves her, and before you know it she's having sexual relations and smuggling in tobacco or marijuana. The rape scene in these prison units is not how it's characterized.