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.




Groups Say Government Failure To Protect Prisoners From Sexual Violence Is Unacceptable

August 17, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union and a broad coalition of religious, political, human rights and civil rights groups today called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately adopt a set of proposed standards aimed at eradicating sexual assault in the nation’s prisons.

The standards, issued over a year ago by the blue-ribbon, bipartisan National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC), would, if adopted by Holder, provide an important guide for corrections professionals to eliminate sexual abuse in their facilities and measure the effectiveness of their efforts. The coalition previously called on Holder to adopt the standards in a letter sent last week.

“The commission’s proposed standards merely put into words what the Constitution already requires,” said Amy Fettig, staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project. “Prison officials have a constitutional obligation to provide prisoners with protection against violence and sexual abuse, and Attorney General Holder should implement the standards without delay.”

The proposed standards would also help hold corrections officials accountable by helping reform-minded officials indentify their facilities’ strengths and weaknesses while ensuring that those who continue to deny the high incidence of sexual abuse of prisoners are no longer able to minimize the extent of the problem.

The proposed standards also include important provisions which would make it easier for prison rape victims seeking their day in court to file lawsuits challenging their inhumane treatment. Since the 1996 passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), victims are forced to exhaust the internal complaint processes of their correctional institution before filing a lawsuit – processes that are often comprised of arbitrary rules that are impossible for prisoners to navigate.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 60,000 prisoners – one of every 20 – were sexually assaulted last year. The problem is even worse in juvenile institutions, where one in eight juvenile detainees were victims of sexual assault last year.

“There is a deeply ingrained culture of acceptance when it comes to prison rape in too many prisons and jails across the country,” said Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the ACLU National Prison Project, who testified before NPREC and served on a committee of experts that helped develop the standards. “The proposed standards are a milestone in the long battle to end a shameful era of rampant violence and abuse within our nation’s prisons and there is no excuse for the Attorney General’s delay in adopting them.”

The proposed standards were issued by NPREC after a comprehensive study of the issues surrounding prison rape, including site visits, public hearings and consultations with corrections experts, academics, survivors of sexual abuse in detention, health care providers and others.

According to the coalition’s letter, while many corrections leaders strongly support the proposed standards, some officials have exaggerated the cost of implementing the basic measures outlined in the proposed standards. Cash-strapped states like California and Oregon have already begun to implement the standards without substantial additional costs. And the cost of failing to address the problem of prison rape is huge – one state prison system, for example, recently paid $100 million after more than 10 years of expensive and protracted litigation, to settle lawsuits filed by women who were sexually abused by staff at a women’s facility.

The ACLU today is also calling on Congress to pass the Prison Abuse Remedies Act, which would eliminate barriers created by PLRA for all prisoners seeking protection of their rights in federal court.

“The Prison Abuse Remedies Act is currently sitting idle before Congress. Passage of this bill could protect millions of our nation’s prisoners from unnecessary suffering,” said Jennifer Bellamy, ACLU Legislative Counsel. “This country currently incarcerates over 2 million Americans in increasingly abusive conditions. We cannot continue to leave them without recourse. Congress should pass the Prison Abuse Remedies Act before this legislative session is up.”

Along with the ACLU, the letter sent to Holder urging adoption of the NPREC standards was signed by a wide array of organizations from across the political spectrum, including Prison Fellowship, the American Conservative Union, Focus on the Family, the Southern Baptist Convention, The Sentencing Project, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

A copy of the letter is available online at: http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/coalition-letter-attorney-general-holder-prison-rape-elimination-act-prea-standards.

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

Denim Day 2010 Takes On Prisoner Rape

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and next Wednesday, April 21, is Denim Day — an international day of action during which hundreds of thousands of Americans wear jeans as a statement against sexual violence. This year’s Denim Day campaign will emphasize the urgent need to end prisoner rape

In addition to raising awareness, the goal of Denim Day is to stimulate policy change. Next week, Just Detention International and Denim Day sponsor Peace Over Violence will encourage participants to send postcards to the U.S. Attorney General in support of strong national standards addressing sexual abuse in detention.

Please join us next Wednesday by wearing jeans and by taking a stand against all sexual violence — in the community and behind bars. 

Thank you for your support,
Lovisa Stannow
Just Detention International

Former woman prisoner files rape suit against CCA guard & CCA

Former inmate alleges rape at private prison

By Stephenie Steitzer February 25, 2010
Louisville Courier Journal

A former inmate at the beleaguered private women’s prison in Eastern Kentucky has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was repeatedly raped by a prison employee in 2007.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, alleges that the employee at the Otter Creek Correctional Center forced her to engage in non-consensual sexual acts between March and October 2007 and threatened to block her parole if she reported him to authorities.

The alleged victim also names Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the prison under contract with the state, and the Department of Corrections as defendants. It alleges that they failed to properly screen, train and supervise the employee.

CCA spokesman Steve Owen said in an e-mail Thursday that the employee was terminated last March.

Owen said CCA has not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday, and could not comment further at this time.

Department of Corrections Commission LaDonna Thompson said Thursday that she had not yet seen the suit and could not comment.

It could not be determined whether the employee is facing criminal charges relating to the allegations.

A Kentucky State Police spokesman familiar with cases against former Otter Creek workers could not be reached for comment Thursday.

At least six workers at Otter Creek have been charged with sex-related crimes involving inmates at the facility.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced last month that the state will move more than 400 women prisoners out of Otter Creek given the allegations of sexual misconduct by male workers there.

The women prisoners will be transferred to the state-run Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Fredonia this summer, and the nearly 700 male inmates now there will be moved to Otter Creek, which has more than 650 beds, and other prisons in the state.

CCA has been under fire since last summer after multiple inmates at Otter Creek made allegations that they were sexually assaulted by corrections officers and other workers there.

A Department of Corrections investigation found that prison authorities failed to investigate seven alleged incidents of sexual contact between workers and inmates since 2007. In four of those cases, the workers involved were fired.

But investigations required under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act were not conducted.

The suit filed this week states that the alleged victim originally denied that she had been raped because “she was so afraid of (the employee’s) threats regarding her parole.”

It says she told investigators last July that the incidents had occurred.

The suit says that the alleged victim was released on parole in September 2008 under the condition that she remain free of any parole violations for six years.

She seeks damages, including punitive damages, in an amount to be determined by a jury, according to the lawsuit.

Her attorney, William Butler Jr. of Louisville, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100225/NEWS01/2250359/1008/Former+inmate+alleges+rape+at+private+prison