Who Rapes In Prison?

Jim Crow lives, the New York Times reports, not in Mississippi or Alabama but in California, or at least the California state prison system, in which the penal authorities have for long routinely separated inmates of different races for the first 60 days of their extended vacation at the expense of the taxpayers. Now, the iron logic of egalitarianism is catching up with this insidious vestige of white supremacy in a lawsuit launched by a black inmate who feels deeply wounded because his rights have been violated.

This citizen is a gentleman named Garrison S. Johnson, convicted murderer, who has been demanding redress since 1997, with the pro bono assistance of a New York law firm. Two federal courts have already rejected Johnson`s suit, but now it`s going before the Supreme Court on appeal.

“The decision below undermines a national imperative to eliminate racial discrimination,” the appeal argues, and those who defend the system have to tiptoe their way around that particular holy cow. The defense of the prison policy usually offered is that it`s not permanent and doesn`t confer any advantage on one race or another (it`s applied to several different racial groups known for animosity toward each other, not just to blacks and whites—Japanese and Chinese, Vietnamese and Laotians, etc.) and is necessary simply to avoid interracial violence among chaps who are violent by their nature. [Justices Agree to Evaluate Prison Policy Based on Race, By Linda Greenhouse, March 2, 2004]

The Times doesn`t mention it, but the in-prison segregation needs to be preserved for yet another reason—to keep non-white inmates from raping whites, which they reportedly do routinely and with little concern for punishment or retaliation.

In a 2001 report published by the liberal Human Rights Watch, a researcher named Joanne Mariner disclosed facts the mainstream media have long ignored or denied: There are more men raped in the United States—about 90,000 every year—than women—a mere 40,000. Most of the male rapes take place in prison, and good many of them are interracial, with blacks and Hispanics searching out and raping white men. [No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons]

The stories the report recounts, described in a 2002 article in the newsletter American Renaissance, are graphic and repellent. “I had no choice but to submit to being Inmate B`s prison wife,” one white convict said. “In all reality, I was his slave.… I determined I`d be better off to willingly have sex with one person, than I would be to face violence and rape by multiple people. The most tragic part to this is that the person I chose to `be with` has AIDS.”

Another white prisoner in Michigan reported that the black inmate who “claimed me as his property” “publicly humiliated and degraded me, making sure all the inmates and guards knew that I was a queen and his property. Within a week he was pimping me out to other inmates at $3.00 a man. This state of existence continued for two months until he sold me for $25.00 to another black male who purchased me to be his wife.” Those are only a couple of the less lurid stories from the Human Rights Watch report.

And why does this sort of thing happen? It happens not only because prison authorities don`t stop it but because white prisoners themselves won`t either. The report recounts that though neither black nor Hispanic convicts will tolerate a white man raping one of their own races, whites do virtually nothing to protect each other against black and Hispanic rapists.

As the report puts it,

“African Americans typically face sexual abuse at the hands of other African Americans, and Hispanics at the hands of other Hispanics. Some inmates told Human Rights Watch that this pattern reflected an inmate rule, one that was strictly enforced: `only a black can turn out [rape] a black, and only a chicano can turn out a chicano.` Breaking this rule by sexually abusing someone of another race or ethnicity, with the exception of a white inmate, could lead to racial or ethnic unrest, as other members of the victim`s group would retaliate against the perpetrator`s group.”

The American Renaissance article put it a bit more bluntly: “The racial dynamic in prisons puts whites at a tremendous disadvantage. First, whites are often outnumbered by both blacks and Hispanics. But far more important, just as they show no racial solidarity in `the free world,` whites in prison do not band together to protect each other from predators.”

All of which helps explain why prison authorities want to keep the races segregated, at least until newcomers learn their way around. It may also explain why Garrison Johnson brought the lawsuit in the first place. But most of all, it helps explain what`s wrong with white people—and not just those in prison.

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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis` website. Click here to order his monograph, Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future and here for Glynn Custred`s review.]