From Colorado Independent:
An arrest warrant has been issued for a former prison guard with the Colorado Department of Corrections who is facing both civil and criminal charges of sexual misconduct with inmates, including rape.
The corrections officer failed to appear in court on Tuesday for criminal charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a female inmate he used to supervise, according to Denver district court records. A civil suit filed earlier this month accuses the same guard of raping a female inmate while she was in state custody.
District court records show that 37-year-old Lashawn Terrell, a former sergeant at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, was first charged by state authorities with engaging in sexual relations with an inmate at the prison in 2006. The sexual acts were reported to have taken place from June to October that year, according to legal statements in the case.
While it is great that this case is being prosecuted, it seems like Terrell's sexual violence was allowed to continue for months until one inmate was left bleeding. Whether his violence was allowed because other guards didn't care or whether it was allowed because of lack of oversight I don't know, but either way there is a systemic problem that this prosecution alone won't fix. For this reason I'm glad that the state corrections department is a co-defendant in the civil suit against Terrell.
All prison employees need to understand that trying to initiate any sexual relationship with an inmate is a rape attempt. It doesn't matter whether that inmate would consent if he or she weren't incarcerated. The threat of physical violence and other harm is implicit when a non-inmate requests sexual contact from an inmate.
The behavior of prison guards and other prison employees should be a positive example for inmates. When it isn't that sends a message which supports the rationalizations of inmates who hurt others through their crimes.
When prisons turn out inmates who are worse than they came in it is usually other inmates who are given all the blame for this change, but prison guards and other prison employees can definitely contribute to this bad outcome.
When members of the public dismiss any harm done to inmates by guards or other prison employees because the inmates don't deserve the protections given to non-criminals they are contributing to an escalation of violence which will spread beyond prison walls.