Allowed to resign

Via Marcus Ranum: Pro Publica reports that guards may be responsible for half of prison sexual assaults.

new Justice Department study shows that allegations of sex abuse in the nation’s prisons and jails are increasing — with correctional officers responsible for half of it  — but prosecution is still extremely rare.

The survey also shows a growing proportion of the allegations have been dismissed by prison officials as “unfounded” or “unsubstantiated.” Only about 10 percent are substantiated by an investigation.

But even in the rare cases where there is enough evidence to prove that sexual abuse occurred, and that a correctional officer is responsible for it, the perpetrator rarely faces prosecution. While most prison staff shown to be involved in sexual misconduct lost their jobs, fewer than half were referred for prosecution, and only 1 percent ultimately got convicted.

Roughly one-third of staff caught abusing prisoners are allowed to resign before the investigation comes to a close, the report concludes, meaning there’s no public record of what exactly transpired and nothing preventing them from getting a similar job at another facility.

Why, that sounds exactly like the Catholic church and its way with priests who rape children. Huh. What a coincidence.


  1. Shatterface says

    The threat of prison rape is deliberate; it’s part of the supposed ‘deterrent’ of prison.

    Police officers will use rape taunts as a way of coercing suspects into accepting a plea bargain: ‘A good looking boy like you won’t last a week in prison’.

  2. doublereed says

    I heard something about this specifically in the context of solitary confinement. Prisons often claim that solitary confinement for trans or younger people is necessary for security reasons, but solitary also makes it far easier for the guards themselves to abuse and assault the prisoners.

  3. Gordon Willis says

    “that sounds exactly like the Catholic church”

    Just what I was thinking. Presumably “lost their jobs” means “lost their jobs”…But no: “there’s no public record of what exactly transpired and nothing preventing them from getting a similar job at another facility.” Although the RCC distinguishes itself here by insisting that “a similar job at another facility” is not only available as a matter of standard policy but is actually assured, the result in practice is just the same. No public record — probably, in fact, no record at all. No evidence, never happened. This might be believable if guards are invariably honest, upright, concerned citizens…

    Shatterface’s comment is truly shocking. Can it possibly be true? And would such a threat — surely illegal(?) — have teeth if it were not in fact carried out from time to time?

  4. doublereed says

    Of course police can taunt you like that. Police can do a lot more than that. Specifically, they can lie to you about judicial proceedings and what they are and are not allowed to do. That’s why you ask for a lawyer. Because the police are under no obligation to tell you the truth about anything.

  5. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I had a good friend (we’ve since lost touch) 15 years ago who told me in a research interview that the trans sex workers in DC (mostly POC, almost entirely MtF) considered it common knowledge that it was riskier to be alone with guards than to be in gen pop custody with people who had convictions for drug use, theft, and assault, among other things.

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