TDCJ has a Long History of Abuse Allegations
A recently filed lawsuit alleges that in a north Texas prison Major Jonathan Eastep pinned a female sergeant against a fence and pressed his body against her, breathing down her neck. The incident was caught on camera. An internal investigation was started when the female sergeant reported the incident. Investigators found the video footage to back up her allegation but stated there was no Texas Department of Criminal Justice policy violation.
After reporting the incident the female guard allegedly faced retaliation almost immediately including being made to suffer mentally and physically.
Although Major Eastep is taking the position he did not violate any policies, he was allegedly placed on probation for an unrelated issue and moved to a different unit.
Last year, Texas paid $225,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming a lieutenant raped a woman in against prison staircase.
Another $250,000 settlement was paid when a different female guard was raped. The male guard was fired 13 months later and was never indicted.
Earlier this year, more than a dozen current and former employees reported incidences of harassment, retaliation, and gender discrimination dating back several years.
One former correctional guard stated she was more afraid of her male coworkers than of the inmates.
Maryanne Denner filed a federal lawsuit against prison officials and won a $120,000 verdict for her sexual harassment claim. She is now suing Texas for retaliation.
Another woman recounted that she was forcibly kissed and inappropriately touched. When she reported the incident she was moved and reassigned to cleaning offices.
In 2017, a male officer at the Michael Unit was fired for suggesting a female coworker should a have anal sex with him. He bent her forward over a desk and bit her neck. She reported the incident and investigators found that what the male officer did was not sexual harassment. This was not the first complaint on this guard. He was fire later for an unrelated incident.
Female guards have to contend with harassment and abuse from co-workers every day. Reports of lewd comments, inappropriate contact, masturbating, and fear of retaliation all stem from their male coworkers, not from the inmates.
From 2007 through 2017, there were more than 3,500 sexual harassment complaints filed by TDCJ employees. However, recent events have shown that many more incidences likely occurred and went unreported because women are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation. There is an unwritten code of silence at TDCJ and women who break that code will be punished for filing a complaint.
This just goes to show there are deeper systemic issues within the Texas prison system with a culture of cover-up that dates back decades.
TDCJ is in denial and states that the hostile work environment is a thing of the past. The days of male domination are gone.
They are wrong. And if the male guards are treating the female guards this way, what is happening to the female offenders?
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