Cal Skinner: Prison rape isn't rare .Chicago Sun Times. January 24, 2006

The Jan. 18 article [''Sex assault rare in prisons, disputed study says] about researcher Mark Fleisher's conclusion that rapes are rare in prison certainly does not match what I found in the 1990s while I was state representative. There were at least 40 men who wrote me about being raped in Illinois prisons and Cook County Jail.

Some victims were deliberately placed in the cell of a known rapist. One young man was enticed into a cell by a promise of pot and locked up overnight without the guards noticing.

My constituent Michael Blucker was sodomized in a Menard shower while a loud ruckus was taking place on the cellblock between black inmates and white guards. A gang got him transferred to the cell of an "impotent gang elder" who proceeded to pimp him out several times a day for as little as a pack of cigarettes. Oh, yes. He can prove he became HIV-infected in prison.

And there are folks like the late Donny Donaldson of Stop Prison Rape, who decided to "hook up" with a stronger inmate in order to avoid being randomly raped. Any such resulting sexual relations could look voluntary, but, in reality, are not.

I can't tell you why the researcher couldn't find anyone who was raped in his $939,233 federally financed study, but I think the money would have been better spent putting cameras in prison blind spots.

Cal Skinner, Crystal Lake