Police can take people into custody for various reasons, and numerous laws limit and define what can happen after. The legislatures and governors of two states recently acted to place one significant new restriction on police-detainee interactions: having sex has been legislated to be taboo, something a detainee cannot legally consent to. It’s not as…

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By Christopher Zoukis

When you put any human being in a box and put others in charge, you create an environment that is ripe for abuse without strict oversight.  Unfortunately, because prisons are supposed to be a punishment for law breakers (and those confined therein have left victims in their wake), there is often very little sympathy for inmates, and that means that millions of inmates are placed in prisons that are matrices for abuse.

Female prison inmates are especially prone to abuse from prison guards and other prison employees, because it is more difficult for them to defend themselves against such abuses.  The United States Department of Justice is currently investigating one of the worst cases of this abuse at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama, where rapes and harassment have been common occurrence for almost two decades.

Years of Abuse in Alabama Prison for Women

It is estimated that over 33 percent of the female prisoners at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women have been forced into sexual relations with employees of the prison, often for basic necessities such as toilet paper.  The New York Times reports that this type of abuse has not only been active for over 18 years, but that prison officials knew of the abuse early on and did nothing to put a stop to it.  They simply turned a blind eye.

While abusive prison employees are, and have been, an ongoing problem at the prison, local lawmakers argue that there are three other reasons responsible for these abhorrent conditions:

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By Prison Legal News

The Alabama Supreme Court has held that a third party to a lawsuit may be made a party when a counterclaim is filed. The Court also held a sheriff named as a defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity on a federal claim in her individual capacity, but was entitled to immunity on a federal official capacity claim and state law claims.

The case involved a lawsuit filed by Scott Cotney, an administrator at the Clay County Jail, against former jail guard Phillip E. Green and prisoners Anthony Haywood and Daniel Hall, alleging defamation, slander, libel, invasion of privacy, negligence and wantonness. The claims resulted from a report filed by Green, Haywood and Hall with the Alabama Department of Corrections, claiming that Cotney had used his position to sexually abuse or assault Haywood and Hall while they were held at the jail.

Haywood and Hall filed a counterclaim against Cotney for violations of their Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They also filed counterclaims against the Clay County Commission and Sheriff Dorothy “Jean Dot” Alexander, in her official and individual capacities. They alleged Alexander “had knowledge of [Cotney’s] unlawful acts … and permitted the abuse to occur,” and made the same claims against her as those against Cotney in addition to a claim of negligent supervision.

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