Tag Archive: sexual assault

New ACLU Report Examines Devastating Impact of Solitary Confinement on Women

ross-hawaii-youth-correctional-facility-kailua-hawaii-2009By Victoria Law/ From Solitary Watch

Today, the ACLU released Worse than Second Class: Solitary Confinement of Women in the United States. Recognizing that women in solitary are often ignored, the report examines the gendered impact of solitary and issues a series of recommendations. These recommendations assume that vulnerable populations will continue to be incarcerated and focus on ameliorating the harmful effects of solitary.

Further Harming Those with Mental Illness

Nearly seventy-five percent of incarcerated women have been diagnosed with mental illness, a rate much higher than that of their male counterparts. The report notes that a disturbing number of women with mental illness are held in solitary, sometimes for behavior that is beyond their control. Mental health experts recognize that long-term isolation is harmful for anyone, but particularly for those with pre-existing mental illness.

Recommendation: People (of all genders) with mental illness should never be held in isolation. Furthermore, women should be evaluated by competent and qualified practitioners to assess their medical and mental health conditions before being placed in solitary.

Re-Traumatizing Survivors of Past Abuse and Increasing Likelihood of Future Abuse

The majority of incarcerated women have reported past physical or sexual abuse. The lack of contact, human interaction and mental stimulation contribute to psychological deterioration for people who have experienced abuse. In addition, across the country, women in solitary are regularly supervised by male guards even when showering, changing clothes and using the toilet.

Solitary confinement also places a woman at greater risk for physical and/or sexual abuse by prison staff. Isolated from the general population, these abuses are easier for staff to hide. (more…)

Alabama Women’s Prison Still Guilty of Sexual Abuse

tutwilerFrom The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Corrections officials and Gov. Robert Bentley’s office say they had been working to improve conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison before a federal investigation found evidence of inmates being sexually abused by staff and fellow prisoners.

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice said instances of sexual abuse at the hands of prison staff and others have been underreported for nearly 20 years. The report also said jail staff condoned a strip show inside the facility and would deliberately watch inmates shower and use the restroom.

Federal officials visited the prison in April and recently sent their findings to Bentley in a 36-page letter. Investigators have said prisoners there fear for their safety. (more…)

Women in Solitary Confinement: Sent to Solitary for Reporting Sexual Assault

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

From Solitary Watch

By Vikki Law

It seems absurd that a person who has been sexually assaulted would be punished for speaking up, especially since prison policy prohibits sexual contact between staff and the people whom they guard. Yet, in many women’s prisons, those who report rape and other forms of sexual assault by prison personnel are often sent to solitary confinement.

After enduring over a year of repeated sexual assaults by a guard, Stacy Barker became one of 31 women incarcerated in Michigan who filed Nunn v MDOC, a 1996 lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for the widespread sexual abuse by prison guards. The following year, Barker was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an officer, who was also a defendant in Nunn. After a month of silence, she reported the assaults to a prison psychiatrist. Barker was immediately placed in segregation and then transferred to Huron Valley Center, which was then a psychiatric hospital for prisoners. There, she reported that hospital attendants verbally harassed her.

In October 1997, Barker attempted suicide. Barker did not receive counseling or psychiatric evaluation. Instead, three male guards stripped her naked, placed her in five-point restraints (a procedure in which a prisoner is placed on her back in a spread-eagle position with her hands, feet and chest secured by straps) on a bed with no blanket for nine hours. She was then placed on suicide watch. She reported that one of the staff who monitored her repeatedly told her he would “bring her down a few rungs.” (more…)

The Ex-Worker #8: Prison Abolition

ep8-250From Crimethinc.

Though a week late (sorry!), the eighth episode of the Ex-Worker is our longest yet, and wraps up our series on prisons and police, as we look at ways to dismantle the prison industrial complex and to address harm directly without the state. We interview members of Critical Resistance and Support New York to learn about how prison abolition and community accountability processes play out in practice. You’ll also hear also a review of a new collection of writings from political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoats, responses to listener feedback and anarchist perspectives on gun control, plus a letter from revolutionary Tom Manning about his transfer from solitary confinement. And of course we’ve got news from struggles worldwide, event announcements, Contradictionary entries, and plenty more.

You can download this and all of our previous episodes on our podcast page. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to podcast@crimethinc.com. A new episode is supposed to be released on the first and third Sunday of every month.