Thursday, June 22, 2006

Prison Guard Being Arrested For Trading Alcohol For Sex Starts Gunfight


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A guard started a gunfight inside a federal prison Wednesday as FBI agents tried to arrest him and five others accused of trading alcohol and pot for sex with female inmates, officials said. When the shooting was over, two people were dead and another was wounded. The gunman and a Justice Department investigator were killed in the exchange of gunfire, and a prison employee helping with the arrest was hospitalized, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.


The guards also were accused of threatening to plant contraband in inmates' belongings or have them shipped to other facilities farther from their families if they reported the illegal activity.
According to the indictment, the guards showed inmates information about themselves and other prisoners on the prison system's computer system to prove their threats were real and that they could be tracked anywhere in the system. It said the guards switched duty assignments to arrange trysts with the female inmates.

While some may see the offense as "victimless" until the guard being arrested opened fire, this was a serious abuse of power and may in fact include rape since it isn't true consent when you are given the choice of two unacceptable outcomes.

This sort of abuse may become more common now that more than 1 in 100 of our population incarcerated, But the core problem is more than one of overcrowding. A bipartison U.S. Prison Study Faults System and the Public for a variety of problems related to prisons and prisoners. And if we fail the prisoners, we aren't just hurting them, we are actually hurting ourselves.



Attorney Tim Jansen, who represented Hill [the guard who started shooting], said his client's behavior was "totally out of character." "He had no criminal history or issues of violence in his background," Jansen said.

If the allegations are correct, this guard did have issues of violence in his background. So many times I hear this same pathetic excuse making when a man kills someone rather than face the legal system. Plenty of men and women are arrested who choose not to commit murder.

This man made a choice. We need to remember that.

Update (6/23):

Ex-Inmates Say Guard Sex Abuse Rampant

(AP) Former inmate Ashley Turner was not surprised to hear that investigators had raided a federal prison to arrest guards accused of having sex with inmates. She said she was pressured by guards at the same facility.Wednesday's raid set off a deadly shootout when one of the guards pulled a handgun on federal agents. But the confrontation also raised new questions about whether men should be assigned to guard women's prisons.Turner said she never had sex with the guards at the Tallahassee Federal Correctional Institution, but they coerced her to strip and touch herself sexually. She said other inmates would have sex with guards in exchange for cell phones, money and marijuana.The sex-for-contraband scheme had been going on for years, she said, and involved more than the six guards who were indicted.

The reason I believe guards would feel justified in participating in this sort of abuse goes back to stereotypes about good and bad women and how good men can do bad things to bad women and still think of themselves as good.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:58 AM   1 comments links to this post


At June 23, 2006 1:45 PM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Hi Marcella,
This story is shocking, as you stated pathetic excuse to avoid justice. He did make a choice, abuse his powers, alleged killed two people.
It is sad we have to still use alleged, until convicted.


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