Julia Tutwiler Prison, completed in 1942, was described in a report by the Department of Justice as having a “toxic” environment. Most prisons could in some form or fashion be described as toxic, but I think the DOJ took it easy by describing it as toxic. The investigation was not the first one done by the DOJ, and their findings concluded that the constitutional rights of the inmates were violated, and violated often.
The DOJ report says investigators did an on-site inspection at Tutwiler for four days in April 2013 and interviewed staff and dozens of prisoners. They analyzed incident reports, investigative reports, disciplinary reports and other documents and received 233 letters from current Tutwiler prisoners detailing a variety of concerns.
In a summary of findings, DOJ says it has made a number of factual determinations, including:
— For nearly two decades, Tutwiler staff has sexually abused and sexually harassed inmates with impunity.
— Staff has raped, sodomized, fondled prisoners and coerced prisoners to engage in oral sex.
— Prison officials discourage prisoner reporting of sexual abuse by, for example, placing women in segregation after they make a complaint. (Thomas said that practice has been stopped.)
— Tutwiler fails to adequately investigate allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.
I tried to finish the report, which you can find here, but I had to stop. I have family and friends who work for ADOC, and it’s hard to think that people could treat others like that. I’m not shocked that it happened. I’m shocked that it happened for so long without someone trying to step in and stop it.
Regardless to what a woman is locked up for, that’s still someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, or even mother. Those responsible for this, both in action and in allowing it to fester, should be brought to justice as swiftly and painfully as possible. We should never stoop so low as to screw over the constitutional rights of other fellow Americans. I can understand wanting to be tough on crime, but you don’t punish criminals by forcing criminal acts upon them.