1) These prisons are not only messing up the minds of young black men who get sent there, but I believe is the primary source of HIV infection among straight African-American women, when they get out.
2) That the authorities know these things happen and feel that it's OK, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Seriously, I don't have much sympathy for someone who burglarizes or in one case, set fire to a dumpster, but to send someone into a cell with a known rapist? The words I have for this cannot be posted without posting a warning for minors. Personally I cannot imaging going through that, being released and not wanting to commit a few homicides (against those who let it happen) and then taking myself out. Seriously.
3) I'm seriously thinking that these gang members are undercover homosexuals. Some of the stuff I read just doesn't make sense even in the power dynamic discussed. I believe that if they were really straight they would stop with the cell cleaning and beatings. The reading does demonstrate that at it's heart rape, of a male or female, is ultimately about power. I suppose the brutality written about here is a reflection of the relative powerlessness that these individuals feel.
[During one six-month period], I had the orbit of my left eye fractured, and was assaulted by another prisoner with a knife, among other altercations. This was all due to my refusal for sex. My mother has been a prison guard for over 20 yrs in Florida and the other prisoners wanted to "turn me out" to homosexuality to get back at her and the department.
After 6 months of this treatment I requested to be placed in Protective Management (P.M.), and was taken before the special review board where I presented several letters written by other prisoners who were threatening me with violence if I would not "be with them" sexually. The board refused to put me on P.M. . . . I was then placed back in administrative confienment, waiting on an open cell in population. It was then that I realized the violence would not stop. At the end of my mental and emotional endurance, I tried to kill myself with a razor. 40 stitches and 11 days later I was returned to A.M. II where I wouldn't need "protection" because I was locked in a cell 24 hours a day.
6 months later, in 1997, I was returned to population where I promptly requested P.M. once more. I was given the distinct impression that if I tried to pursue the issue I would be put back on A.M. I couldn't stand the thought of being locked away in another cell all my life, so I did the only thing I could do—I found someone to "be with." I determined I'd be better off to willingly have sex with one person, than I would be to face violence and rape by multiple people. The most tragic part to this is that the person I chose to "be with" has AIDS.
. . . . My life is in danger at F.S.P., and I want the public to know this. A place like F.S.P. could not exist, could not do such things without public support. The opposite of compassion is not hatred, it's indifference.
—M.M., Florida, 7/30/99