JDI IN THE NEWS - ARCHIVED

Jana-lyn Hill, Activist Speaks out on Prison rape, Grand Prairie News, Feb.18, 1999.

There are more prisoners raped every day than women and children on the outside combined, said Tom Cahill, president of Stop Prison Rape, Inc., during a recent appearance at St. Charles Anglican Church in Grand Prairie.

"Only recently, has Amnesty International looked into the rights of United States prisoners in the organization's 27-year history," Cahill said of the advocacy group he represents for global human rights.

According to a survey conducted in 1995, 83,000 prisoners are raped each year on a daily basis. Most victims are men. The survey was taken by Stephen Donaldson, who died in 1996 of AIDS, reportedly contracted as a result of prison rape.

"I believe the criminal justice system just doesn't condone violence, it encourages violence -- manufactures violence and profits from "violence by frightening taxpayers out of more appropriations," Cahill said.

Prison rape not only violates the 8th Amendment of the US. Constitution, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment, it also violates the 13th Amendment which forbids slavery, Cahill said.

"Once a prisoner is raped, he usually becomes a sexual slave to another prisoner who will force him into prostitution for amenities such as drugs," Cahill said.

Cahill believes in recent years, more people are jailed longer for non-violent crimes which has caused overcrowding and ultimately prison rape.

"Most of the victims are young, nonviolent, first-time offenders, confined for a little too much pot and too poor to buy their freedom," Cahill said.

In the February 1, issue of Time magazine, it was estimated that nearly 2 million men, women and children are behind bars, Cahill said.

"The United States is the biggest gulag, a term used for a Russian political prison, in the world. These are more prisoners per capita than any other nation. We have no statistics of women and children raped in captivity, but we estimate they are much fewer simply because there are far more males locked up," Cahill said.

In the late 1960s, Cahill was an activist for civil rights and published an underground newspaper, The Inferno. In October 1968, he was jailed for civil disobedience.

"I was placed in what was known as a gorilla cage, where I was beaten, gang-raped and otherwise tortured for 24 hours. Afterward, I learned from my cellmates they had been told by my guard that I was a child molester and if they took care of me, they'd get An extra ration of Jell-O," Cahill said.

Cahill contends the criminal justice industry is expanding by putting fear into middle class taxpayers by using propaganda and technology.

"Have you seen the bumper sticker, 'Empty the prisons: make room for Congress'? This a is no joke to me, it is a prayer," Cahill said.