You’ve done it; I’ve done it.

At some point, we’ve make jokes about Prison Rape.  After reading the following, we might not want to do that anymore (h/t Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars):

And that’s not even looking at the fate of gay prisoners, who are treated like sex slaves while guards and prison officials look the other way. Kendall Spruce testified at the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission hearings in 2005:

Being raped at knifepoint was the worst thing I could ever imagine. The physical pain was devastating. But the emotional pain was even worse.

I reported the rape, and was sent into protective custody. But I wasn’t safe there either. They put all kinds of people in protective custody, including sexual predators. I was put in a cell with a rapist who had full-blown AIDS. Within two days, he forced me to give him oral sex and anally raped me. I yelled for the guard, but it was so loud in there, no one came to help me. I finally had to flood the cell to get a guard to come.

The rest of Mr. Spruce’s testimony is too graphic for me to reprint here.  Yep, you probably guessed it: Mr. Spruce is now HIV-positive, and he was being held IN PROTECTIVE CUSTODY.  Not as an inmate.  So the penal system couldn’t protect him from being raped while being held, supposedly in protective custody?

And what really got to me was this incident: (warning, it’s pretty graphic)

The officer propped up his feet and continued tormenting us. He asked us again if we were girlfriends and threateningly demanded that we kiss each other. As he told us this he jangled his keys in front of us, mocking us, and reinforcing the fact that he had all the power in the situation. In total fear that we would not be allowed to leave if we did not comply with his demands, my friend and I kissed. Unfortunately, the officer would not stop. He told us that he wanted to see us touch each others’ breasts. My friend put her hand on one of my breasts in compliance; the officer then proceeded to ask her if she liked “eating [my] p***y.”

These women were never charged with any crime, but they were told they had to perform some hot girl-on-girl action for the officer or he would find something to charge them with.

Why Susie is outraged is because apparently, there’s a deadline for the Justice Department to force state prisons to take immediate action to protect inmates, and those being held for trial, or being placed in protective custody from being brutalized in prisons.  Now, if Eric Holder, or DOJ is dragging their feet, something needs to be done to call this to his attention, but, to all intents and purposes, the Justice Department may very well be taking action as I write this, but the following is not reassuring:

The department will not say, but those following this issue closely estimate that the Justice Department is unlikely to take action until the end of this year. At that time, federal prisons will be obligated to adopt whatever standards Justice approves. State and local facilities will not be forced to embrace the measures for another year after that. In the meantime, more prisoners — including juveniles — will have been senselessly brutalized.

Some of our fellow progressives in the blogsphere, including the Washington Post,  look for any reason to bash the Obama Administration because the Administration is not hopping, shucking or buck-dancing on the blogger’s demand.  Because I’ve worked in Federal Government, I know all too well how the bureaucracy works, but if there’s deadlines to enforce humane treatment while being held in jail, then the action needs to be taken, PDQ.

My concern is about those who are being held for misdemeanors, protective custody or not being charged, and they are thrown in with some depraved individuals, and the guards, whose jobs it is to prevent such abuse, are either participating in it, or turning a blind eye to it.

That’s where my outrage is.  If DOJ is lagging, that will come to light soon enough, but for now, I’m more angry that people are being held in jail for little or no reasons, and being made to either perform sex acts so some perverted prison guard or police officer can get off; or non-violent inmates being forced to be jailed with violent inmates that have rape charges on their rap sheets.

The National Prison Rape Commision has said this pretty loudly:

“RAPE IS VIOLENT, destructive, and a crime — no less so when the victim is incarcerated.” These were the opening words of a report delivered to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last June by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. By law, the attorney general was given one year to consider the report’s recommendations and issue standards to reduce the scourge of sexual violence in the nation’s prisons. The Justice Department is about to miss its June 23 deadline — and probably by a shamefully wide margin.

As I said, we probably may not want to joke about this anymore…especially in light of this travesty.

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