Sunday, April 20, 2008

10 Million Dollar Settlment In Virginia Prison Sex Abuse Case

From CBS News:

A tentative settlement has been reached in a $10 million federal sexual-abuse lawsuit filed by nine former inmates of a state women's prison in Chesterfield County [Virginia], including one who became pregnant.

The nine women at the 260-inmate prison alleged that between 2003 and 2006, male and female officers and one teacher coerced them into sexual acts or sexually harrassed them.

The allegations in this lawsuit first got media attention because then corrections officer Bobby Brown Jr got inmate and convicted murderer Sheron Montrey pregnant in 2005.

When a prison guard has sex with an inmate in Virginia that guard is committing a felony whether or not there is apparent consent.

This is necessary not only because of the power imbalance which makes rape possible without direct threats but also because an inmate who initiates sexual contact in exchange for favorable treatment which they know they don't deserve can put public safety at risk. For example, an inmate could use sex in exchange for false reports about their behavior while in prison which could cause an inmate who shouldn't be paroled to get parole.

In an envirnment where sexual harassment and sexual abuse by staff toward inmates is normal or largely ignored, sexual manipulation by inmates is not only rewarded, it is actively cultivated.

Prison guards should not be teaching inmates how to put the squeeze on the less powerful. And prison administrators should not be teaching inmates that this behavior is at most a nuisance. When people talk about prison being a teaching ground for crime, they usually assume that only other inmates are serving as the teachers.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:25 PM   0 comments links to this post


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