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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Incident Leads To Changes In Prison

Guard at Kentucky facility fired in alleged assault of Isle inmate

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — A male corrections officer has been fired and a privately run Kentucky prison has changed some of its housing unit procedures after a Hawai'i female prison inmate accused the officer of sexually assaulting her in her cell last fall.

According to a written statement by the 34-year-old inmate that was provided by a family member, the inmate alleges the corrections officer came to her room in the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky., between 4:15 and 4:45 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2007, and demanded that she perform sex acts.

The inmate alleged she saved evidence from the encounter and turned it over to prison officials the same day.

In a letter to the family, Tommy Johnson, deputy director of the Hawai'i Department of Public Safety, said the Kentucky State Police investigated the incident and referred the case to prosecutors.

The corrections officer was "immediately terminated," and is scheduled to go on trial in Floyd County District Court on a misdemeanor sex offense, Johnson said in the Sept. 16, 2008, letter to the inmate's family.

The Advertiser does not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults, and is also withholding the name of the family member to protect the privacy of the inmate.

Johnson said in a written statement that prison operator Corrections Corporation of America immediately changed its operational procedures at Otter Creek to require that "whenever possible, a female correctional officer is paired with a male correctional officer in the housing dorms /units."

"In addition, the Department of Public Safety has reviewed the changes and approved them with further modifications that are specifically designed to ensure that at least two correctional officers (preferably females) are always posted in the housing dorms/units," Johnson wrote.

previous incidents

Allegations of sexual misconduct involving corrections workers and Hawai'i inmates have surfaced before in private prisons in Oklahoma in 2000 and Colorado in 2005, and were followed by a felony conviction of a corrections officer in Colorado and inmate lawsuits in both states.

Prison officials transferred some of the inmates who made sexual misconduct allegations against prison staff in the past back to Hawai'i, but that didn't happen in this case.

"Since the officer was the only staff person implicated by (the inmate) and given the fact that he was immediately removed from the facility, CCA quickly addressed her security and took corrective action," Johnson said in his written statement. "Her safety was not in question, nor was there a need to relocate (the inmate) to another facility. Further, (the inmate) did not request protective custody and therefore, the department determined that moving her was not warranted."

The inmate's aunt disagreed, and the female prisoner who allegedly was assaulted has been placed in lockdown for about 50 days since she reported the sexual assault. The aunt contends the lockdown punishment was retaliation against the inmate for reporting the alleged assault.

Honolulu Advertiser


Themis said...

Is there anything we can do to stop corporate corrections. It is my understanding they indulge in excessive use of lock downs and the hole to deal with inmates; especially ones with mental illness, adult A.D.D., etc., or just for revenge such as this case.

Anonymous said...

The governor is opposed to the private prisons, he tells people, but just like a politician, he signed a contract for a new 1,500 bed male or female prison in Hudson that has had it's ground breaking with state officials present, and will open in 2009.
When you get a chance, you should vote every single incumbent that lies to the public like this, out of office. mpc

Anonymous said...

i agree with MPC however there are several other things that need to happen. Guards who rape female inmates should be castrated, badges taken away fore ever. Loss of pension credits also.
Yes vote the liars out of office, and better yet do not vote for any attorneys period.The laws they pass end up lining there pockets!!djw

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