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An unflagging spotlight: sexual abuse in women's prisons

We prominently note on our website at Kennedy Kennedy Ives the sadly egalitarian nature of sexual abuse.

What we mean by that are the recurring instances of abuse that routinely occur in virtually every type of venue. We underscore at our established pro-victims' law firm in Albuquerque our diligent advocacy of injured parties "in public schools, group homes, residential treatment centers, subsidized housing and other institutions that receive public funding."

And we would be remiss to omit women’s prisons from that lengthy list. And in fact we don’t, noting on our website that sexual perpetrators also take advantage of vulnerable – often flatly defenseless – individuals in lock-up facilities across New Mexico.

Today’s post does not mark the first time we have spotlighted state jails and prisons as being venues of abuse for female victims. We cited an insider’s view on that subject matter in a blog entry from this past summer, noting in our August 8 post her reasoned take that sexual abuse in New Mexico detention centers is “pervasive.”

The reasons why are both evident and multiple, and we tick off several of them in the above-referenced blog entry. Inmates comprise a captive audience. High-level officials often dismiss victims’ complaints as fabrications or tactics designed to elicit favor. And speaking up is reportedly responded to often with retaliation, which promotes silence surrounding criminal behavior.

That the problem is endemic seems quite clear in the near wake of recently filed litigation by the ACLU charging New Mexico prison guards with sexual assault. A lawsuit filed last week is the third in a series of complaints targeting prisons as venues of pronounced abuse.

“[W]e can be pretty certain that more is happening than we even know about,” says one ACLU spokesperson.

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Albuquerque, NM 87102

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