----- Original Message -----
From: Taoss - Sherry Swiney
To: PATRICK Crusade
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 9:34 AM
Subject: Fw: Bill targets prison sex abuse
They need to add to this legislation that it is a crime for inmates to have sexual relations with an inmate to stop prison rape among prisoners. Interesting that Alabama says it does not have a law to protect inmates from abuse - when abuse of any kind is a human rights violation no matter how you look at it.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 10:28 PM
Subject: Bill targets prison sex abuse
Bill targets prison sex abuse
By Bob Johnson
A bill was prefiled in the Alabama Legislature Wednesday that would make it a crime for a corrections officer or other prison officials to have sexual relations with an inmate.
Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, also introduced the bill last year when it passed the House but died in the Senate. She said Alabama is one of only four states that does not have a law "to protect inmates from abuse."
Boyd said the need for the legislation was highlighted in 2001, when some parents complained their daughters were sexually abused at the Alabama Department of Youth Services, Chalkville campus. Several employees were fired and others quit during an investigation that originally involved 15 workers.
"The case in the youth facility got people talking about the problem," said Boyd, a retired school teacher.
Standing beside Boyd at the press conference was Lucille Nelson, who said her daughter, Olivia, is incarcerated at Tutwiler Prison for women in Wetumpka. She said her daughter was forced to have sexual relations with a male officer at Tutwiler last year.
"This was humiliating for her and humiliating for me. It's wrong and should have already been against the law," Nelson said.
Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said the alleged incident has been investigated by prison officials and the results of the investigation turned over to the Elmore County district attorney's office. He said the officer resigned before any disciplinary action could be taken.
Corbett said Department of Corrections officials support the concept of Boyd's bill but have not seen the proposed legislation. He said such a bill would make it easier to take action against an officer in such incidents.
"We can take internal action, but prosecuting can be difficult," Corbett said.
Boyd's bill is supported by Amnesty International, which has pushed for similar legislation around the country.
Sheila Dauer, director of Amnesty International's Women's Human Rights Program, said guards can intimidate inmates.
"Male correctional officers can retaliate against female inmates who complain about sexual assault and harassment," Dauer said.
Boyd and Nelson said the inmates at Tutwiler are particularly at risk of such incidents because of overcrowded conditions. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has ruled that Tutwiler is a "ticking time bomb" and has ordered the state to relieve overcrowding at the 60-year-old facility.
"The situation out there doesn't make me feel good," Nelson said. "It's overcrowded. It's vulnerable."