Archive for the ‘sexism’ Category

California prisons

December 23, 2006

(I will edit this post and add comments later.)

With males vastly outnumbering females behind bars, prisons are typically designed and managed for violent men.

At a minimum, advocates want more female guards, to protect women’s privacy and dignity; more food for pregnant inmates; easier access to sanitary products; and regulations for visits that enhance, rather than discourage, the preservation of close family ties.

The California Legislative Women’s Caucus has made incarcerated women its top priority this year. In an unusual April fact-finding mission, four lawmakers visited Valley State, and two of them spent the night.

They went through processing as inmates do, minus the strip search, receiving bedrolls and cell assignments. They ate in the dining hall, slept on the thin mattresses and asked women about their problems and personal stories.

Some complaints mirrored those in men’s prison: Many inmates said they were hungry all the time and could not land spots in academic or job-training classes. What differed were complaints about medical care and concerns about children.

Measured on a per-inmate basis, the Corrections Department spends 60% more on healthcare for women than for men. Reproductive issues are cited as one reason, but women also arrive in prison with a greater incidence of HIV and AIDS and have more mental health needs. Some inmates told the legislators that they had not had a mammogram or Pap smear in years.

“The model for women in prison in California is wrongheaded,” said state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), who was joined on the sleepover by Assemblywoman Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge). “Most of the inmates we spoke to were in for DUIs and drug offenses…. Why are we spending billions upon billions to house these people in such a high-security environment?”

After years of protest from female inmates and their families, male guards may no longer conduct pat searches of women.

Dawn Davison, who runs one of the four California lockups housing women, called that a key achievement. Because more than half of female inmates have been physically or sexually abused, she said, they were traumatized anew when pat-searched by men.

As for their conduct once imprisoned, officials could find no record of a female prisoner in California killing another. By contrast, 14 male prisoners were killed by fellow convicts last year.

And although assaults and even small-scale riots are common in men’s prisons, fights among women are usually “nothing more than a lovers’ quarrel and a little slapping around,” Davison said. Attacks on staff by women, she added, rarely go beyond a kick delivered by an inmate resisting an order.

Arriving 7 1/2 months pregnant, she worried constantly about her baby’s health. She said she received iron pills and prenatal check-ups but always left the chow hall “starving.” The servings, she said, were too meager for someone eating for two.

Most upsetting, Foster recalled, was “the total lack of privacy from men,” who make up 75% of the correctional officers at Valley State.

Male guards were able to look down on women in the showers from a control room, she said, and mingled near the inmate reception area while female officers conducted strip searches, in which hand mirrors are used to search incoming inmates’ private parts for contraband. That was most humiliating, she said, for women who were menstruating.

“It’s all run by men. The doctors, the officers. There are men everywhere,” said Foster, of Redding. “You just feel violated all the time.”

Afterward, with an ankle fastened to the bed, she was allowed to spend a few days in the hospital bonding with her daughter, Olivia. Then it was back to the cellblock, where the pain of separation was enhanced by pain from breasts engorged with milk.

The prison, Foster said, crying as the memories washed over her, did not provide a pump.

California prison population:

Men: 93%
Women: 7%

Female inmates:
Number in California prisons: 10,800
Average time served: 14 months
Serving time for a nonviolent crime: more than 66%
Have been physically or sexually abused: 57%
Average age: 36 * With minor children: 64%
Babies born to inmates each year: about 300

Sources: California Department of Corrections, Little Hoover Commission

http://www.clientsystem.com/content/view/80/69/

sperm

December 16, 2006

The hackers erased the explicit content and wrote that “the holy kabbalah warns that the sin of spilling sperm in vain is the cause for most diseases and misfortune!”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3238536,00.html

If each sperm cell resulted in the birth of one baby, Earth would get real crowded real fast.

just some female inmates

December 10, 2006

Maricopa County female inmates march for chain gang duty in Phoenix, Arizona in this file photo. Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

maricopa-county.jpg

I realize that this may be a sexist comment, but the fourth and fifth prisoners look like some pretty tough females.

Alabama Department of Corrections

October 29, 2006

http://usmjparty.blogspot.com/2005/09/great-prison-panty-rebellion-of.html

Arianna on Hillary

October 22, 2006

Would you vote for Hillary Clinton?

I’d love nothing more than to vote for a woman. But this country needs an authentic leader, not someone who watches every word for maximum political advantage. We need to trust our leaders.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/08/21/8383641/index.htm

Guantanamo insider

October 18, 2006

An Army nurse who said he worked at its medical facility for a year until last May wrote in a blog that he wouldn’t hesitate to kill a former detainee if he saw him in his town.

“I can tell you that if I ever saw a detainee face-to-face here in the States, I would immediately assume that I was targeted and do my best to kill them without further warning,” wrote the soldier, who would be identified only by his nickname, Stashiu.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/17/AR2006101700727.html

There are about 435 prisoners from about 40 countries at Guantanamo, according to the Pentagon. Military tribunals have concluded that about one-quarter of the prisoners are not a security risk, or are otherwise eligible for release or transfer.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/16/AR2006101601339.html

This is an interesting situation. Stashiu could possibly live until year 2085 and might come across someone who looks or acts like one of the prisoners at a family reunion, a church play, or a medical school classroom.

If Stashiu is right, then the military tribunals must be wrong.

Below is some more information from Stashiu and others, via patterico.com

Stashiu arrived at Guantánamo aboard a plane operated by Delta Airlines. Although military aircraft fly into and out of GTMO, the military also uses Delta to ferry passengers to and from Guantánamo Bay.

Like most deployed personnel, I worked many more than 40 hours a week.

For example, one routinely asked us for an explosive suicide vest so he could assassinate Osama Bin Laden or George Bush for us, whoever he could find first (he was completely serious).

[t]he incidence of true mental illness was exactly the same as stateside correctional facilities, between 16 and 17 percent.

We were told about one female medic who had to have major reconstructive surgery on her face following a detainee assault. She was too close to the beanhole (door opening) and the detainee was able to reach out, grab her head, and pull her face-first into the steel frame of the door, shattering most of the facial bone structure.

Intel and all that was secondary.

They really talk bad about the Army guys who opened the camp. Most say it got better after they left and the Navy took over most things.

Dental care is same-day or next-day (deployed personnel can’t get dental except for emergencies).

GTMO was the first time I ever heard someone claim that they could only eat hamburger buns and not regular bread.

They get to smoke (sometimes 4 or 5 packs at once, uggh!), watch new-release DVDs that have been screened by Intel so they don’t get current events, eat pizza or fast-food, listen to music, smoke a hooka, etc…. The better stuff they give up, the more the interrogators get for them.

That’s also why the Intel folks objected to Colonel Bumgarner’s changes. While it did help settle the camp somewhat, it reduced the motivation to cooperate with interrogators. Just normal give and take between two sides with different objectives. Intel wanted information, Colonel Bumgarner wanted a safe and smooth-running camp.

In war, under the rules of previous conflicts, anyone found to be an unlawful combatant could be executed on the spot by the decision of the ranking officer. There did not have to be a trial or proof beyond a reasonable doubt, just reasonable suspicion

When GTMO was opened, my understanding is that there was no effort made to disguise names either, so he may very well know SGT Foshee by his name, depending on the timeframe he is talking about.

That was from before I got there, but sounds possible. IRF [Immediate Reaction Force] teams were routinely taped and that the tape is missing smells to me.

One of the stories was that a detainee reverse-kicked the first member in line and broke his riot shield in two, then proceeded to lay out the rest of the team.

But it wouldn’t be the first time some inexperienced Lieutenant over-estimated his abilities to set up appropriate training. I would have expected the senior NCOs to keep the LT in line (many NCOs have a lot more practical experience than a new Lieutenant), but I don’t even know if it really happened.

The “news” that Bush had been assassinated brought great joy to the detainees in camp on more than one occasion, although I’m pretty sure that one wasn’t accurate.

No female detainees in Camp Delta at all, as has been reported in the media. Many of the guard force and medical personnel are female though. No special effort [was] made (as far as I know) to prevent or include females in that assignment.

In one of our conversations, Stashiu told me that Guantánamo has Chinese and Canadian prisoners. I admit that this surprised me, as I don’t think most people realize that anyone at Gitmo is anything but an Arab terrorist.

Most people are aware, or have been, of David Hicks from Australia.

While there may have been abuses in the past — as evidenced by the detainees’ talking bad about the Army guys who used to run the place — that is mostly a thing of the past.

skeezers

October 16, 2006

“Mommy, can I just say something?” she asked. “You think every time you hear a black guy’s voice it’s automatically going to be something bad.

They came for the skeezers but I didn’t speak up because I’m no skeezer, they came for the freaks, but I said nothing because I’m not a freak. They came for the bitches and the hos and the tricks.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/13/AR2006101301426.html

Tammy Duckworth

October 16, 2006

In this campaign video, US Senator Bob Kerrey implies that that racist and anti US Constitution President Abraham Lincoln was a hero, and somewhat compares Republicans to rocket-propelled grenade launching people.

http://www.tammyduckworth.com/

Abu Ghraib / Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego

October 13, 2006

She was only 20 when many of the Abu Ghraib photos were taken — so young that her then-boyfriend, Charles Graner, 35, had to buy her drinks for her at an officers’ club where they used to hang out in Fort Lee, VA, before their deployment to Iraq.

At Pilgrim’s, England helped oversee the marinating and packaging of chicken. “Not long after I started working there, I noticed some chicken parts were discolored and diseased-looking, but the workers still sent them down the line at the plant,” she tells me. “I told my supervisors.” They ignored her.

“People were doing bad things. They’d let bad chicken go through the line — chicken that still had blood on it — and look the other way. Management didn’t care.”

She spoke of Abu Ghraib, and how they would “smoke” the detainees — the code word for forcing prisoners to exercise until the point of collapse — as well as making them walking around wearing women’s underwear on their heads and other unusual disciplinary measures.

“She told me their job was to keep them awake: Let them sleep a little bit and then wake them back up. I said, ‘Are you allowed to do that?’ And she said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what we’re told to do,'” says Hardy. “She told me the officers were involved; they knew what was going on. There were a lot of what she called ‘OGAs.'”

Officially, OGA stands for “other government agency.” But everyone in the army knows it means the CIA. It also means, don’t ask questions.

In fact, if England touches anything her family has handled, she’ll be subjected to a full-body cavity search. As it is, she goes through a strip search after each of our four visits: “If you have your period, and you have a visitor, they make you take your tampon out afterward and squat and cough,” she says. “You think those are mirrors?” England asks me, pointing to a row of reflective glass panes on the side of the room. “Those aren’t mirrors. There are people on the other side, watching us the whole time.”

Not surprisingly, rules are strict: Inmates have to rise at 5 a.m.; they have no choice in what they eat (tonight, macaroni and cheese); and they must perform chores like mowing the lawn, tending vegetable gardens, and folding the American flag. England, however, isn’t allowed to take the flag down at the end of the day, “because I’m high-profile,” she says. “Somebody might be on the golf course [nearby] and see me touching it” — and maybe even snap a picture. She illustrates, clicking an invisible camera in the air.

Prisoners who break the rules — “push buttons,” England calls it — are sent to “DeSeg.” (Button-pushing includes such things as engaging in sexual activity with another prisoner.) “In DeSeg, they make you sit in isolation in a windowless room. You can’t watch TV or read,” she explains. “You have to sit at a desk. You can’t sleep from reveille to nighttime.”

A former civilian prison guard, he’d also been accused in a federal lawsuit of assaulting an inmate at Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution-Greene in 1998 and putting a razor blade in the inmate’s mashed potatoes.

“In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector — a senior male, let’s say, who’s sitting in a vehicle with her,” says Karpinski.

In another photo, England is standing near a detainee, Hayder Sabbar Abd, a 34-year-old taxi driver, as he is being made to simulate masturbation.

But her military attorney has advised her to grow her hair longer, to try and look more feminine.

When she speaks, she does so carefully — the way she’s been coached.

Clearly, England has confided in her lawyer about things she saw or did that never came up in court, and Hardy wants to protect her from any new charges. So he has counseled her to say, “I heard,” or “There were rumors,” or “I was told,” when she describes things.

Is it true that an American contractor sexually assaulted an Iraqi boy in prison?

“I heard rumors he did things to boys in the cell,” she says.

“Lynndie is away from the flagpole, in Abu Ghraib — the most terrible place. You’re being mortared every night. You are breathing dust and broken concrete. It’s hot. You feel dehumanized. You’re drained of every bit of compassion that you have. She did it because she wanted to come back from this godforsaken war and be able to say, ‘We did this for the government.’ She was made to believe that this was of such importance to national security.

http://magazines.ivillage.com/marieclaire/print/0,,703130,00.html