Prison Gang Rape in New Mexico

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From the ABQNewsSeeker:

The Gallup Independent is reporting that an inmate at the McKinley County Detention Center was gang-raped by four other inmates on the weekend of Feb. 3-4, and that the inmate reported the incident to jail authorities, triggering a State Police investigation.

Peter Olson, state Department of Public Safety spokesman, confirmed that the State Police was looking into the alleged incident but said no information, including the original incident report, would be released until the investigation is completed, the Independent reported.

The State Police told the Independent on Monday that some documents in connection with the case could be released upon written request and not for at least three days.

And McKinley County District Attorney Karl Gillson told the Independent on Friday that his office still hadn’t received any information from the State Police about the alleged incident, the paper reported.

This reminded me of a blog post I saw on Ezra’s site yesterday, detailing a former convict’s “experience” in prison:

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.

There’s more, but Ezra adds this point:

The crime this man committed for us to throw him into a jail where we know he’ll be brutally assaulted, raped, and possibly contract a terminal immune system disease? Drinking and driving.

We spend a fair amount of time talking about detainee treatment and Guantanamo. But there is no greater, or more common, human rights abuses in America than those occurring in our overcrowded, constantly expanding, jails.

I don’t want to say that we shouldn’t punish offenders, but the injustices which occur in this country every day make it easier to spread those injustices throughout the world. Every time we turn a blind eye to a gang rape in a U.S. prison, we set a precedent that that type of behavior is acceptable, when it is not. Ezra had a later update:

There’s no political upside to helping criminals, and the prison guard’s unions are terrifically powerful on the state level. But politically tough as it may be to address, it’s morally abhorrent to ignore. And we have to remember: Every single time we sentence a suspect to jail time, we are tacitly consenting not merely to his imprisonment, but to his savage sexual assault, with all the physical and psychological damage it will bring.

If you want to get involved, or donate money, or learn more, Stop Prisoner Rape is the leading organization on the issue. Their website is here.

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