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It’s time to expose the sexual abuse of inmates by prison employees: Reports from Angola and Ely

March 11, 2009

Angola State Prison, Louisiana

by Kenny Zulu Whitmore

Many Americans were unaware of torture and rape of prisoners by guards until the photos from Abu Ghraib leaked out. But the atrocities at Abu Ghraib – and many of the guards there – came from U.S. prisons, where prison personnel torture and rape with impunity.
Many Americans were unaware of torture and rape of prisoners by guards until the photos from Abu Ghraib leaked out. But the atrocities at Abu Ghraib – and many of the guards there – came from U.S. prisons, where prison personnel torture and rape with impunity.
On Feb. 19, an Angola social worker was arrested for the aggravated rape of an inmate housed in the mental health unit of the prison.

While the general public has been exposed to stories of rape among prisoners, there is little awareness about the high incidence of brutal rape of both men and women by prison employees. These cases remain under the radar because victims are threatened with violence to prevent them from speaking out, while the employees involved, who generally feel shielded from society, might simply be charged with “malfeasance in office.” I have heard many of the guards in Angola say, “Society thinks you are animals,” with the implication that whatever a prison employee does to one of us, society couldn’t care less.

The social worker in this case, Gary D. Widkiff, is said to have used threats of violence on Oct. 7, 2008, to force the inmate to allow Widkiff to perform oral sex on him.

At Angola, threats and violent behavior by prison employees against inmates are not uncommon. An employee may accuse a prisoner of spitting on him, with the result that the inmate in question can be gassed, badly beaten or sent to Camp J, a house of horror that I have been unlucky enough to experience for an extended period.

In this case, the victim did not immediately report the incident to Angola authorities, reportedly for fear of not being believed. A claim like that can also lead to a disciplinary report, with the victim accused of spreading rumors.

Four other inmates had complained about Widkiff’s inappropriate sexual conduct, to put it mildly, yet Angola authorities did nothing. Had they thoroughly investigated the complaints made, they could have acted to prevent another individual from being sexually assaulted.

Many men in prison who are raped choose to suffer in silence – ashamed and conscious of the social stigma associated with being sexually violated. No one inside or outside prison should have to suffer alone as a result of a degrading act of violence. I urge everybody with a similar experience to rise above their fear and speak out; if you stay silent, you remain a victim for life.

Send our brother some love and light: Kenny Zulu Whitmore, #86468, RC/CCR, U/C 11, Louisiana State Prison, Angola, LA 70712. Learn more at http://freezulu.co.uk/.

Ely State Prison, Nevada

by Gregory

This letter is to inform you of a incident of a sexual assault which took place at Ely State Prison here in Nevada on May 14, 2008, which happened as follows: After making a written complaint on staff members making threats of physical violence naming D.W., I was told to pack my property for a cell change. Then sometime afterward, seven guards – Officer W., Officer R., Mr. C., Officer S., Officer D., Officer L. and Officer S.C. – came to my cell and placed me in full restraints, handcuffs and leg shackles.

I was escorted to an abandoned cell by these officials. Soon as I entered, I was picked up from behind and slammed onto a empty metal bed frame, where Officer W. then snatched down my undershorts and said to me he’d teach me a lesson about snitching on staff members at Ely State Prison.

He then forced his fingers into my rectum cavity, causing me much pain and discomfort. After this, I was taken down on the floor, where Mr. C. performed oral copulation and masturbation with my penis and scrotum. Sometime later after Mr. C. was done, I was positioned onto my knees where Officer W. and Officer R. stood over me with their penis exposed masturbating and attempting to make me submit to do oral upon them, but as I refused I was brutally kicked in my back and ribs from behind while these officers continued to masturbate and ejaculate on me. I was later repositioned and slammed face down onto a desktop where I was bent down and anally penetrated with penises and other unseen objects. After this, these very officials took turns and stood over me and urinated on me.

Sometime later this day, I reported this incident to the supervisor, Sgt. H., and his response was to reorder me into restraints and drag me to an empty shower where he himself refused to allow me to see medical, stating that he would fabricate that I refused medical attention and there would be no collection of evidence. He also said that if his officers did indeed sexually assault me, that he may as well join the party.

He then ordered me onto my knees where officers pulled me close to the shower bars using a dog leash attached to my restraints and Sgt. H. took out his penis and urinated on me. I was later tossed back into my cell and remained at this very location of this rape under non-stop sexual harassment and retaliation by these very perpetrators.

No attempts to prevent further abuse or retaliation were ever taken. The warden and the [other top-ranking prison official] are aware of this abuse and multiple other abusive incidents, but they absolutely don’t care to intervene upon these situations. They only promote and encourage these officers’ misconduct.

Anyway since this incident I was transported to Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC) on July 3, 2008, where I’ve yet to receive any mental health counseling. And this institution is also aware of this incident but only makes threats to send me back to Ely Prison, even though I’ve informed staff of the danger that exists there.

This report first appeared at www.justdetention.org, the website of Just Detention International, 3325 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 340, Los Angeles, CA 90010, (213) 384-1400, info@justdetention.org.

26 thoughts on “It’s time to expose the sexual abuse of inmates by prison employees: Reports from Angola and Ely

  1. Tim Neiter

    If you people actually believe this then there is no need for discussion.
    Is there rape and brutality in our prisons? Of course there is and actions are being taken to address it. But this story is pure fantasy. A conspiracy of that size involving the Warden all the way down to the lowest rank is simply unbelievable.
    Are there incidents in prisons of abuse by staff? Without a doubt. Those staff members will be prosecuted as they are caught,

    Unfortunately, most abuse, rape and brutality is inmate on inmate. Very often along race lines. The lack of effort to prosecute these monsters is criminal.

    There should not be rape and brutality in our jails and prisons. Television makes light of it. Comics crack wise about it. Movies justify it. It is terrible and every effort should be made to quell it. THe social worker in Angola was arrested. The Abu Ghraib atrocity was brought to light and action was taken. Rightfully so. Your article is flawed and biased.

    Reply
  2. LWO

    Yes Tim we do actually believe this is true. First of all, where does it say that the Warden was involved, it says that he knows about it and does nothing about it. Second of all did you know that about half of all sexual assaults are committed by staff within the prison? Why not check out the link to the Department of Justice on this issue which I will attach for you…

    http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/abstract/svsfpri07.htm

    This is a real problem and just because you think that it so out there it couldn’t happens make you just as bad a people within the system that know that it’s happening and choose not to do anything about it but sweep it under the rug.

    The only thing I see that is flawed and biased is your inability to read something with an opened mind and think, maybe this could happen in this country. Just Detention International is a organization that deals with this type of thing on a daily basis and instead of something being a fantasy, you should go read some of the information on their site.

    As for the social worker that was arrested for sexual assault, it didn’t happen as soon as the assault took place, it took a lot of investigation to get him where he needs to be today, maybe even a year or more.

    Also you are wrong about rape being mostly inmate on inmate and shows your lack of education on the subject. It also doesn’t go down race lines at all. Another misconception you have. I am not saying that inmate on inmate doesn’t happen but it more likely going to be from a staff member than the latter. It also has nothing to do with race of the victim.

    It’s not the TV, movies, anything like that, that justifies it, it’s people like you that think when someone has the nerve to come forward and tell their story that it’s fantasy that are making light of it than the movies, TV, newspapers or comics could ever do.

    Unless you know anything about Nevada Prison system, I suggest you do some research before you come back and try to say that what I am saying is wrong. Nevada is corrupt right down to the plumbers that unclog the swear system. So if you think that something can’t happen from the Warden on down to the lowest rank you are SADLY mistaken. That is what is unbelievable is that this is still allowed to happen.

    If you are going to post like you know something, please post with proof as I have done with the link for the DOJ on this issue with staff raping inmates. Just talking off the top of your head makes you really look bad because there is way to much information out there of me to base my comment on. A quote our site got from an email from Just Detention..

    “It is very common for people to disbelieve survivors of sexual assault. I worked in rape crisis in the community and found there as well, that the stories of survivors are so disturbing and painful that many people would rather believe that the survivor is lying than that they live in a world where people behave this way toward each other. For survivors in prison, that burden of proof is doubled because they are already seen as lacking in credibility.”

    – Linda McFarlane, MSW, LCSW – Deputy Executive Director
    Just Detention International –

    “Survivors take a tremendous risk when they tell about sexual assault, overcoming feelings of shame, fears of retaliation, and often direct threats from the perpetrator(s).”

    – Linda McFarlane, MSW, LCSW – Deputy Executive Director
    Just Detention International –

    You have a great day and thank you for giving me the opportunity to prove you wrong in your biased statements!!

    Reply
  3. ANON

    I hope that man in the second story the one in Nevada has actual evidence. I hope he gets paroled if he was not murder or rapist. Decriminalize Marijuana but not legalize.
    Usually is in mens prison’s it prison on prioner rape. Less male prison guard raping male prisoners(unless its Central and South American prisons).
    BLACK-WHITE-BROWN-YELLOW POWER UNITED AGAINST THE HOMOSEXUALS & COMMUNISTS/LEFTISTS/MARXISTS ETC. & LIBERALS AND THE FAKE ANTI-COMMUNISTS(KKK/NEONAZI ETC)
    IMPEACH OBAMA!

    Reply
  4. Gary Midkiff

    I’m the social worker that worked at Angola that has had the accussations directed at me. I worked for eight years in a job that the majority of the people in my field would not even consider working. I treated coworkers, security staff, and the inmate population with the the upmost professional respect. I have never worked witht the mentality that inmates are always liars and cannot be trusted. Reading this article, I could understand that some people might believe there is some validiaty to these accussations. What is omitted in this article is that I have complied and answered any questions regarding my conduct at work. I have never been sanctioned or disciplined due to any type of inappropriate behavior, because these accussations have no merit. Additionally, do you really believe that security staff at a prison is going to beat an inmate based on nothing more than the word of a social worker – that doesn’t happen. Violence in prisons do occur, but not due to a mental health worker complaining about an inmate. The newspaper article also does not mention that this supposed incident occured in a cellblock area while the inmate was in his cell. How is someone going to be raped when they are in a cell with bars between them and the person that they are accusing of attacking them. Additionally, the inmate waited 4 months to make his claim. Anyone who is familiar with Angola, would tell you that this cop killing inmate that has lived the majority of his prison sentence in extended lockdown is without a doubt the most manipulative inmate in the Louisiana DOC. He has a lengthy history of being sexually aggressive with female staff and routinely makes false accussations of various natures. Many of the comments on this site seem eager to judge and take a stand on an extremely complex situation that is condensed to a few action getting paragraphs. One should not be so quick to judge someone based solely on an newspaper article.

    Reply
  5. Meyvoo

    I’m just curious what kind of stories the victims of the inmates would tell if they were still alive to tell their story? I have absolutely NO sympanthy for this people. Think about all the people these inmates have raped and/or killed? Well now they know how it feels!!!

    The only thing I don’t understands is. Why would guards who are free to go have all the clean sex in the free world that they want, risk their health by engaging in sex acts with inmates who probably have terrible hygene. That in itself just does not makes sense to me.

    Reply
  6. michelle combs

    prison rape is very much so true… it’s a shame that it is.. MEYVOO… i think your totally wrong yeah they did some sick things to get into jail but nobody deserves to be raped or killed.. officers are suppose to do their job and there job does not inculde beating or raping imates… my father is in jail not for nothing sick or twisted.. but an officer helped mEn in there beat my father… tried to kill him… cut his ankles so he counldnt walk and everything so for you to say that you have no sympanthy and now they know how it feel… your straight up WRONG!!!!!!! YOU DONT KNOW NOTHING!!!

    Reply
  7. Gary Midkiff

    The supposed DNA evidence that this inmate claimed that he obtained from me 100% EXCLUDED me from these accussations. Criminal charges may be filed against this inmate for making false accussations. This inmate’s name is Kermit Parker and he is one of the most vile repulsive people anyone would ever have the misfortune of encountering. Kenny Whitmore is a FUCKING IDIOT who clearly needs to spend the rest of his life behind bars for spouting the BS that he does.

    Reply
  8. FatNSassy

    I agree that sexual abuse of prisoners must stop. No one should be deprived of their basic human rights. The accusations in the following article are another example of exploitation, abuse of strip searches. While they may have to be performed, they should never be in the form of a spectacle. Neither is there an excuse for inappropriate comments. If a doctor made such a comment during an exam they would be up before a review board. Of course all actions in the following link are allegations only, but I have heard this type of thing happening many times from many different sources. It is time they be taken seriously!
    http://tinyurl.com/y86ajgg
    (Scroll down to “Butt Naked With the Sheridan Cowboys”)

    Reply
  9. Barbara Joy Hansen

    I was violated by my grandfather with incest from age 2-8 & further abused sexually by a clergy. Exposing the sin done against me has helped me put the shame back on the perpatrator. Writing my book, Listen to the Cry of the Child has helped me heal & grieve my losses. I now speak at domestic violence & prison conferences including going to sex offenders in prisons giving them hope as well.

    Reply
  10. Barbara Joy Hansen

    Incest shut my voice down from age 2-8 with my grandfahter. Clergy sex abuse at age 11-12 further shoved me in darkness until I exposed the lies & abuse in my book, Listen to the Cry of the Child. I now give back to victim & perpatrators speaking at domestic violence & prison conferences. We need to tell our stories so that others can come into the light.

    Reply
  11. andre d

    as a class project, we were required to watch “after innocence” a documentary about people wrongfully accused in prison and the brutality that occurs on a regular basis. For those of you who think prison rape is fictional, watch the documentary.

    Reply
  12. Angola Visitor

    Mr. Midkiff, you would seem a lot more credible if you didn't use inappropriate, unnecessary language. You should be a whole lot more professional in your speech. We are all only human, but you should know enough about your field and the patients/inmates that you deal with to lower yourself to their form of speech. As an inmate that I used to visit in CCR in Angola told me, we need to be their role models of decent behavior because maybe they didn't have so many on the outside. Speaking like that you discredit yourself and should be fired just for an ourburst like that not to speak of any alleged sexual abuses! Working with an incarcerated population is not easy on any human being but someone has got to do it, because most (but not all) of those inmates should not be out on the street because they are predators with little or no conscious and extreme narcisissim.

    Reply
  13. angola visitor

    You are missing the whole point as you are speaking just like the incarcerated population that you are supposed to be helping! And I have every right to comment on this forum as you do. Sorry, you own mouth is condemning you as your speech towards me is abusive. Is that how you spoke to the inmates? Shame on you! I hope any one that speaks that way gets fired and quick. God help you because obviously you are not getting the point.

    Reply
  14. mee

    LEAS (Law Enforcement Agents) often do cruel things since they are to some degree mentally ill. They intentionally choose jobs where they are usually protected by other offenders or associates and get away with violating human rights regularly. I can not tell if what is written here is true but, it is likely true and deserves a very intense investigation.

    Reply
  15. Mustafa

    This is what the Americans are. They keep talking of their values but their real acts are the ones seen
    at Abu Gharib, Belgam and other places of torture.
    Shame on you America.

    Reply
  16. Sheik

    No Fuck you to the piece of shit that sent that evil comment to Asiactic people. Second I dont believe you MidKiff! You are a liar I can feel it all thru my bones. The karma of your actions will activate the retribution duly yours. I have no doubt about that. May that karma also extend and touch every family member you have including your born and unborn children.

    Reply
  17. Gary Midkiff

    Haven’t looked at this post in several years .. I may have used some poor offensive language , I can admit that. Given the severity of the false accusations , I think they can be excused . Have ur name dragged through the mud and see how strongly u fel the need to defend urself . I was 100% cleared of any wrongdoing, all charges were dropped, and I haven’t looked back at that miserable place. A couple of people that have no relevance can believe as they wish – I don’t care. The core of what I posted on here – the accusations had no merit – I stand by . As far as me offending a few people , the family of that inmate’s victim probably weren’t that offended. Those who judge ….

    Reply

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