This story will probably make you sick to your stomach. A complaint for civil damages was recently filed against the Live Oak County jail system in Texas, naming the county and three guards as having turned the jail into their own personal sexual torture dungeon. The complaint alleges that three guards at the county jail ran a “rape camp” where they “repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates,” and forced them to masturbate and sodomize male guards, and one another. The three guards named in the report are Vincent Aguilar, Israel Charles Jr. and Jaime E. Smith.
The complaint states, “Beginning sometime in 2007 to at least August of 2010 the Live Oak County Sheriff’s office ran a ‘rape camp’ known as the Live Oak County Jail,” the complaint states. “In this facility, numerous jailers, all employed by the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office, repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates over an extended period of time. These forced acts of lasciviousness included, but are not limited to, forcing female inmates to repeatedly perform oral sex on male guards, forcing female inmates to repeatedly masturbate the male guards, the male guards masturbating in view of the female inmates, male guards forcing digital penetrative sex acts in the female inmates’, forcing female inmates to engage in sexual sex acts with other female inmates, including but not limited to forcing female inmates to have oral sex with each other, among other things.”
“In addition to the repeated sexual assaults, numerous female inmates were sexually harassed. Certain male guards would strip the female inmates of their clothing and provide only shaving cream to conceal their genitalia. Certain male guards would sometimes force the female inmates to shower in front of them while instructing them to shave their vaginas. In other instances, while detailing their degenerate sexual fantasies, the jailers would pin the girls against a wall, grope their persons, verbally berate them, digitally rape their vagina and/or anus, then force them to perform oral sex.”
“In order to facilitate their carnal impulses, these guards would withhold food and water, engage in physical abuse, restrict privileges and verbally and emotionally abuse the women – even threaten to kill them in order to compel their compliance.”
You need a strong stomach to read the full complaint.
One of the three guards named was sentenced to prison for a year, the other two got 18 months. Pretty good deal for turning a jail into your own sexual torture dungeon. Imagine if you grabbed a woman off the street and held her as a sex slave in your basement. You’d never see the light of day again.
This comes on the heels of a prisoner abuse report filed against the Ontario prison system, which lead to 31 guards getting fired and another 108 staff being disciplined. The report stemmed from a team of investigators reviewing about 2,800 cases of use of force reported over an 18-month period in 2010 and 2011. As far as I’m aware, no guards were criminally prosecuted for the acts of torture uncovered by the investigation.
In a separate incident, two guards had charges filed against them for acts of torture committed in a Toronto jail. One officer testifying in that case against her fellow officers said, “I’ve been shunned, people won’t talk to me. When I go to enter a room, they’re all quiet and stop talking.” She also said that a colleague asked her to change her report to justify the use of force.
While this behavior may come as a shock to people who still believe in the necessity and virtue of a state run prison system, it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with basic psychology. Stanford University ran a psychological experiment that mimicked the modern prison system back in 1971. They had to halt the experiment just six days in because the abuse of students had gone completely out of control.
You can watch a documentary on this experiment here:
I have to believe there are better ways of dealing with criminals besides locking them in cages and torturing them. However, suggesting any alternatives to incarceration causes a great weeping and gnashing of teeth among most of western society. Our society has such a deeply ingrained need for vengeance and retribution that the thought of anything less than a cage just doesn’t cut it.
In the end, this blind need for vengeance will cost society dearly. Presently, America has more prisoners than any other country in the world, by both per-capita and total population. No one does prison better than the land of the free, where 86% of the federal prison population is there for victimless crimes. The costs associated with this vast level of incarceration are staggering, and they are only going to get worse as the number of prisoners over the age of 65 is rising at 94 times the rate of the general prison population.
To me, I view our present prison system as a form of double victimization. When criminals are incarcerated, their victims are forced to pay for the associated incarceration costs through the tax system, so in essence, the system victimizes the victim twice. Further, in the vast majority of cases, at some point in the future, that prisoner is going to be released from prison. So society has a choice to make. They can either stick with the current system of vengeance based double victimization, which leads to high rates of recidivism and churns out exceptionally violent and sociopathic criminals, or society can look for more humane and cost efficient alternatives.
I believe the goal of a penal system should be reform, not vengeance. Every criminal that is put behind bars becomes a black hole of resource destruction. They produce nothing, yet consume everything. Putting prisoners in a structured environment where they can be productive and learn to value their life, as well as the lives of others, leads to a more productive society. Our present system of punishment accomplishes the exact opposite.