Update: Prison superintendant Hall has retired. Lead officer Jackson has resigned. David Jones is still under investigation, and SBI is reviewing the case, according to an update by Raleigh News & Observer.
Inmates at a prison southeast of Raleigh sent a handwritten note to US District Court in Greensboro complaining of sadistic sexual abuse and torture by prison staff.
Sampson prison guards are accused of forcing inmates to perform humiliating acts, “including stripping nude and pretending to have sex.” Most bizarre are reports of inmates being forced to gulp and rub on their testicles extremely spicy hot sauce and, while working on road crews, being made to catch and kiss wild snakes and throw bunnies into oncoming traffic, adding animal cruelty to guards' crimes.
Allegations say inmates who cooperated were rewarded with cigarettes, beer and preferential treatment.
It’s not clear why the inmates sent their letter out of the district to Greensboro, but this leaves the outcome of their complaint and legal representation uncertain.
NC's DOC has a history of sexually abusing women prisoners and settling to avoid legal action. Tell NC, Sampson prison guards must face criminal prosecution if guilty of these sadistic crimes.
We, the undersigned, are outraged by the current reports of bizarre sexual abuse, torture and animal cruelty committed by staff at Sampson Prison as well as NC’s history of sexual abuse of women.
Most disturbing is the NC DOC’s history of sexual abuse, without those committing the acts facing criminal charges. The Raleigh News and Observer reported that in at “…least seven separate sexual assaults on female inmates …the state has offered payouts to avoid legal action.” The same report also noted that often when women tried to complain within the system, they faced threats and punishment, or else their reports were dismissed. One woman, says the report, dropped her complaint after the only alternative she was given was to be placed in isolation “for her protection“ - clearly a retaliatory punishment.
The report also reveals a tendency to downplay abuse in NC prisons by fixing at least one study to make it appear that NC prisons “fared better than most states for occurrences of sexual assaults.” But, adds the report, “None of the prisons selected for study…housed women, who “are far more susceptible to abuse than men.”
Even though one woman won her case against prison administrators for not protecting her and other women from abuse, the guard who repeatedly sexually assaulted her was apparently only terminated from his job and never faced criminal prosecution. Gov Perdue, who just responded to the Sampson case by saying she has “… zero tolerance for unprofessional conduct by any state employee," was governor at the time this guard and others were able to avoid criminal prosecution for their crimes against women.
This trend of cover up, denial and inappropriated response to prison staff abuses may explain why the men alleging torture and abuse at Sampson would feel the need to go outside their district to complain. And this should be no excuse for the state to dismiss their claim or deny them legal representation.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the lack of outrage in Dept of Public Safety’s reported response to the Sampson allegations by Pamela Walker - "DAC considers the allegations to be serious and the alleged actions in violation of policy, which warrants further review by management."
This kind of sadistic sexual abuse and torture should be considered on the level of that committed at Abu Ghraib and far more than just a “violation of policy.“ The response to it should be nothing less than outrage and determination to completely shake up and reform the entire prison system in NC and ensure that all those involved in this criminal conduct are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
We request that NC no longer allow excuses for any abuses by staff of its Dept of Correction and that all abuses be prosecuted to the fullest extent.
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