Saturday, February 2, 2008

finally, some justice

We spent the week injecting kk up with lots of jiz. It was a freezing few days--i mean freezing, freezing cold (wind chills well below zero), and I hope the wee ones made a warm crash, slam-dunk meeting with an egg.

In other more important news. 10 women who were sexually abused in a michigan prison throughout the 1990s (7 of the women still live in prison-many with life sentences) were awarded 15.4 million dollars (amounts varied for each plaintiff) by a jury yesterday.

On Thursday night, I dreamed that the jury came back with verdicts for each of the women that were huge and just and finally demonstrative that the abuse and torture waged on these women was heard and finally something was done about it. Because for years the MI prison system did nothing about the sexual abuse that was rampant at Scott Correctional Facility. These women were held in a sexually hostile environment and subjected to rape, assaults, misogynistic comments, sexual pat downs (that included squeezing of breasts, groping of crotches, rubbing of erections on their bodies).

In my dream the jury came back and announced compensations for the women in amounts higher than suggested by the plaintiffs' council. The people in the courtroom rose to their feet and applauded for a very long time. Everyone wept and justice was served.

That was my dream thursday, after I had sat in the courtroom listening to the plaintiffs' closing arguments and then the state's closing arguments. One of the plaintiffs' lawyers gave a compassionate, impassioned closing that focused on the humanity of the women and the brutal reality that they were forced to live in day by day (torture sanctioned by the state's silence and by the state's ambivalence and absolute tendency to deny that the people in the employment of the state do any wrong).

The state's assistant attorney general used his closing to tear the women apart. He focused on the crimes they are serving time for and called them non-credible because they did not go into vivid details of the crimes when they testified (of course, the women were not on trial for these crimes; they had all been sentenced long ago. But for some reason in this society we cannot let people escape from collective taunting for the worst things we have done--we do not forgive. Unless, you are a person in a position of power then you can commit thousands of atrocities against humanity and never ever be held accountable for your actions). He also focused on the fact that it took many years for most of the women to report the torturous experiences that they were subjected to while held captive by the state. He failed to focus on the fact that the UN, Human Rights Watch, and the Department of Justice had all investigated and reported on the fact that Scott was indeed a sexually hostile facility throughout the 1990s and nothing was being done to stop it.

Anyhow, after his closing (which i had to leave early), I was nervous that if two of those jurors had any bias in their hearts against people in prison, well then...

But then my thursday night dream came true. Not only did the jury find in favor of the women, they asked the judge to read an apology to the women on behalf of the citizens of MI and then the judge let the women talk to the jury.

Of course, the state of MI plans to appeal the verdicts. They plan to waste money and time and once again belittle the women who have already suffered way too much at their hands.

But in the mean time, finally, some justice.
Click here to read article from Detroit Free Press

Click here to read All too Familiar: Sexual Abuse of Women in U.S. State Prisons

3 comments:

Zoe the Wonder Dog said...

Yay!

It always makes my blood boil to hear that excuse... "but it took them too long to report it..." Argh! I've been in that prison -- seen the open bathrooms, felt the power the guards (er, excuse me, "officers") use way to freely -- to belittle prisoners (and visitors and each other). Anyone who says the women took too long to report the crimes should go spend the night in the prison and then decide if they would have been willing to report it and face the retaliation that would surely follow...

the injector said...

staff are afraid to report...and, they want the women to report?
now, i just hope with all my heart and might that they do not get retaliated against because of these verdicts...

starrhillgirl said...

YAY!