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Culture of abuse.

The article by Anne-Marie Cusac in the July issue, "Abu Ghraib, U.S.A.," mentioned many of the abuses of prisoners by guards, but it didn't bring up the most prevalent form of abuse: rape by prisoners preying on other prisoners. It is estimated that 20 percent to 25 percent of those incarcerated in American prisons are sexually assaulted. Little is being done to stop it. Young, nonviolent prisoners are routinely raped by hardcore violent prisoners. This institutional sexual abuse is cruel and unusual punishment, forbidden by the Constitution, yet until the recent Prison Rape Reduction Act, it has either been ignored or been the subject of bad jokes. Prison administration and staff need to be held accountable for those they have in their control, custody, and care. Prison rape and violence need to be addressed, not ignored.

Jeff Copenhagen

Washburn, Wisconsin

As a Texas prisoner who has suffered severe retaliation for writing articles for publication, I can tell you that Abu Ghraib was born in Texas. It is clear the Bush Administration recruited barbarians to build and implement his incarceration policy for terrorist suspects, starting with Texas-ex prison official O. L. McCotter and Texas-ex Senior White House Counsel Al Gonzales. From there the shit flowed downhill.

William Bryan Sorens

Livingston, Texas

Having just finished reading "Abu Ghraib, U.S.A.," I would like to add some thoughts, mine being from a very specific perspective, inside looking out.

The American people have got to, at some point, ask themselves why their tax monies are being spent, at both the federal and state levels, to keep imprisoned more than 2.1 million men, women, and children. We have more citizens incarcerated than any other nation, and the majority of them are nonviolent or drug offenders.

What are the long-term results of placing millions of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, husbands, and wives of Americans in a revolving-door prison industrial complex that offers few, if any, rehabilitation programs and is a huge financial burden?

If anyone believes that only a handful of those incarcerated are abused in the American penal system, look here: The Iraq and Afghanistan abuse scandals are the tip of a much, much bigger iceberg that exists right here in the U.S.

Christopher Reynolds

Bradford, Pennsylvania
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Title Annotation:Letters to the Editor
Author:Reynolds, Christopher
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Words:379
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