Angola State Prison, Louisiana
by Kenny Zulu Whitmore
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.