Justice Department Checking On Abuse Reports at Alabama Prison for Women


The U.S. Justice Department is looking into allegations by current and former inmates about rape, sexual assault, and harassment from male guards at Alabama’s Julia Tutwiler Prison for women, the Associated Press reports. A former inmate reports that male staff had unrestricted access to the showers and bathrooms and would often make comments about female inmates’ bodies, both to the women and among themselves.

The Justice Department investigation comes after legal aid group Equal Justice Initiative filed a complaint last week asking it to look into allegations, based on interviews with more than 50 women incarcerated at the maximum-security prison. Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas said, “We’ve been very, very proactive in hunting down and investigating thoroughly any complaint we’ve received.” Equal Justice director Bryan Stevenson said women are routinely punished for reporting sexual abuse or trying to speak up about it.

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