Tutwiler prisoners experience sexual abuse

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inmates at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women have been victims of widespread sexual abuse and sexual harassment by male guards, according to a report released Tuesday by the Equal Justice Initiative.

The nonprofit justice system watchdog group said it has “uncovered evidence of frequent and severe officer-on-inmate sexual violence,” and the group has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the Alabama Department of Corrections’ “failure to adequately protect prisoners,” according to a news release.

Tutwiler Prison is located just north of Montgomery and has a 956-inmate capacity.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The Equal Justice Initiative’s report says between 2004 and 2011, the Corrections Department has received “dozens of complaints of sexual misconduct” between male staff and female inmates and reports of women becoming pregnant after being raped by guards.

Between 2006 and 2011, according to the report, several women inmates were sexually assaulted or coerced into sexual favors in exchange for contraband goods such as food and toiletries.