DOJ Looking Into Ala. Prison Sex Abuse Claims
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Rape, sexual assault and harassment from male guards are a way of life for prisoners at an Alabama women's prison, according to inmates past and present, and the Justice Department is looking into the allegations. (June 18)


[Location - Date:MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- June 22, 2012][Source:AP][VO:][Notes:NATS UP Stephanie Hibbett, Prison Sexual Abuse Victim: "The sexual abuse that goes on there in ungodly."]STEPHANIE HIBBETT SPENT A YEAR LOCKED UP AT THE JULIA TUTWILER PRISON IN ALABAMA.A PLACE WHERE FEMALE INMATES SAY THEY'RE ROUTINELY RAPED .. SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AND HARASSED BY MALE GUARDS ...AND FOR STEPHANIE ... IT DIDN'T STOP WITH THE GUARDS ...SHE DESCRIBES ONE TIME WHEN SHE WAS HARRASSED BY A SARGEANT.[Notes:SOT Stephanie Hibbett, Prison Sexual Abuse Victim: "He kissed me. I pushed him away and he was fired, he did lose his job but for the wrong reasons, it was put in his paperwork that he just touched me on the backside and gave me a piece of peppermint, that is how they go around prosecuting."][Notes:SOT Bryan Stevenson, director of Equal Justice Initiative: "We decided to talk to as many women as we could."]BRYAN STEVENSON IS DIRECTOR OF EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE.HE SAYS CORRECTIONS EMPLOYEES ARE BEING UNDER-PUNISHED FOR THEIR CRIMES.HIS GROUP IS NOW INVESTIGATING THE COMPLAINTS COMING FROM TUTWILER ... [Notes:SOT Bryan Stevenson, director of Equal Justice Initiative: "Over a three-month time period interviewed over 50 women who complained about being the victims of sexual violence, sexual assault, rape and other sexual abuse, and that's what led to our very serious concerns about what was going on at Tutwiler."]THOSE SERIOUS CONCERNS HAVE CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ...BUT SO FAR OFFICIALS THERE HAVE NOT COMMENTED ON THE ALLEGATIONS.[Notes:NATS UP Robert Chancey, Cousin impregnated by Tutwiler guard "Kamaria, Monica's little girl."]MONICA IS ROBERT CHANCEY'S COUSIN. SHE'S SERVING TIME AT TUTWILER ON A ROBBERY CONVICTION. HE NOW CARES FOR HER ONE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ...BORN AFTER MONICA WAS ALLEGEDLY RAPED BY A PRISON GUARD.[Notes:SOT Robert Chancey, Cousin impregnated by Tutwiler guard : "Something needs to be done about it, you know. Just because someone is incarcerated, that don't mean that you treat them any different than a free person."][Notes:SOT Kim Thomas, Alabama Prisons Commissioner: "If it occurs it's a problem. If it occurs one time, to me it's a problem."]ALABAMA PRISONS COMMISSIONER KIM THOMAS SAYS DESPITE THESE ALLEGATIONS - THEY'RE NOT LAUNCHING A SEPARATE INVESTIGATION ...HE SAYS THEY ALREADY AGGRESSIVELY PURSUE ANY REPORTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE. [Notes:SOT Kim Thomas, Alabama Prisons Commissioner: "By state law we are required to refer any violation of state law to the local district attorney and we have been doing that."][Notes:SOT Stephanie Hibbett, Prison Sexual Abuse Victim: "If it was done to us out with us being free, people would go to jail for what they were doing. It seems that the laws don't apply with the department of corrections."]STEPHANIE SAYS SHE'S TALKING WITH LAWYERS TO SUE THE PRISON FOR THE WAY SHE WAS TREATED. ULTIMATELY .. THOUGH ... SHE WANTS AN ALL-FEMALE GUARD STAFF ....SHE SAYS SHE WANTS TO PROTECT FUTURE INMATES ... SAYING NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT SHE DID. [SIGOUT/REPORTER, LOCATION, ASSOCIATED PRESS]------------------