Rape is Rape: More CCA abuses at Saguaro

From Arizona Prison Watch:

According to Courthouse News this week, a suit was filed against the State of Hawaii and Corrections Corporation of America due to the October 2009 sexual assault of a prisoner who was coerced to perform oral sex on CCA Saguaro Correctional Center guard Richard Ketland. Apparently in Eloy, Arizona, the rape of a prisoner brings – at worst – a felony charge of “unlawful sexual contact,” and can be settled as a lesser offense so as to only require probation.

The guy he assaulted was just in on a drug charge, by the way, for those of you to whom it matters.

The real “truth in sentencing” in America is that you may be raped, regardless of the severity of your own crime. As for Ketland – on July 14, 2010 he plead guilty to “attempted unlawful sexual conduct” (a class 6 felony), and sure didn’t hit the news or go to prison.

I doubt he did a day in jail, either.

You wouldn’t know this kind of thing happens here from the mainstream media in Arizona. Here’s an interesting article in the region’s Tri-Valley Central notifying the nearby Florence community of sex offenders who have been released there. That was posted the day after Ketland’s victim filed suit. I don’t find any mention of a CCA guard sexually assaulting a prisoner at all, though, after a number of different searches of the publication: nothing on Ketland even in the deeper archives.

I only got six hits on Google when I looked up the terms ” ‘richard ketland’ cca prison arizona”, too.

I assure the uninitiated out there: being forced to your knees and having someone ejaculate in your mouth is a pretty heinous form of penetration. Most of us would call that rape. Prison guards in this state have the authority to use lethal force against prisoners to prevent them from harming anyone else or escaping – and no one believes a “criminal” over a “cop”. The victim could have easily been crucified by Ketland and CCA if he even survived putting up a fight.

I’d hope that if the same thing happened to me in Pinal County, the good sheriff and prosecutor would call rape what it is and treat it accordingly – especially if my assailant wore a uniform and a badge, and carried the responsibility of the public’s trust.

I guess I should commend the Pinal County prosecutor for calling it a crime at all. Still, I’m disappointed. Some of you should remember that in December 18 other prisoners from the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy filed suit over brutality by guards on a massive scale. I have yet to hear anything about criminal charges being filed for the assault, intimidation, threats to prisoners and families, etc. – crimes that were apparently perpetrated with the blessing of the CCA warden, however.

So, I again urge the public that cares – wherever you may be – to contact the Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, the Pinal County Attorney, James P. Walsh, and the Arizona media to shine a spotlight on this abuse and prosecute the criminals working for CCA at Eloy’s Saguaro Correctional Center. All the contact info you need is here from December: “Prosecute CCA prisoner abuse.” If you didn’t speak up against violence and abuse then, please do so now.

For reference, here’s the Private Corrections Working Group’s rap sheet on CCA prisons across the country; they have four facilities in Eloy alone.

And here’s the Hawaiian victim’s actual legal claim

Welcome to Eloy, AZ. Note their affection for Jesus.

He was a prisoner, too.

Prosecute CCA Prisoner Abuse

Hey folks: this is Peggy Plews at Arizona Prison Watch. My comrade from Nevada Prison Watch set up this site and has been staffing it, but we could use some help from Arizona and/or Hawai’i. For more information, contact me at:


Arizona Prison Watch
PO Box 20494
Phoenix, AZ 85036 

Most people have probably read the news reports on the lawsuit filed by the prisoners who were repeatedly assaulted and threatened with more time in prison, rape and even death. Even their families were threatened. Read the actual suit. It’s really contemptible. As a member of the Arizona public, I even feel violated by what’s happened here. 

Now, maybe I missed it, but I haven’t been able to find anything about aggravated assault charges, among other things, being brought against the guards and warden at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy AZ. That’s criminal conduct, and if the assaultive behavior was the other way around all those prisoners would be up on the most serious charges the state could bring against them by now.

So, I’m encouraging EVERYONE who cares about human rights out there to please contact the Pinal County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices to ask about criminal prosecution of those people responsible for the violence committed against their prisoners. Here’s the contact info:

James P. Walsh
Pinal County Attorney
P.O. Box 887
Florence, AZ 85132

Front Desk: 520-866-6271

email:  PinalCountyAttorney@co.pinal.az.us

Paul Babeu, Sheriff
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office
P.O. Box 867
Florence, AZ 85132 

PCSO Main Number: 1-800-420-8689
Administration: 520-866-6800

Public Information Office: 520-866-6800
Records: 520-866-5193

you need to go here to submit an email comment to the Sheriff.

I plan to write to them both, myself, soon, and will post my letters so you get the gist of what I’m advocating here. Don’t wait for me, though, if you already know what you want to say. Letters/email are best, because they provide written documentation that phone calls can’t capture, but doing both is even better.

Also, here’s the info you need to send copies of your correspondence to the area media, and to urge them to investigate the matter as well:

Phoenix New Times
PO Box 2510
Phoenix, AZ 85002
Phone: 602-271-0040
Fax: 602-340-8806

Tucson Citizen
4850 S. Park Ave.
Tucson, AZ, 85714

The Arizona Republic
Letters to the Editor

P.O. Box 2244
Phoenix, AZ 85002

Main switchboard
(602) 444-8000
(800) 331-9303 toll-free

Letters may also be faxed to (602) 444-8933.

Arizona Daily Star
4850 S. Park Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85714

Cruz, Veronica
News Assistant
520-573-4179 office
520-573-4107 fax

Fell, Cina
News Assistant
520-573-4203 office
520-573-4107 fax

O’Sullivan, JayneNews Assistant
520-573-4133 office
520-573-4140 fax

That should get you started, at least. Send copies of what you end up doing to the above email or PO Box addresses, too, and I’ll post them. And again, READ THE LAWSUIT! Then you’ll know what you’re talking about.

Thanks –