Kristine Sink, a former correctional officer at a maximum-security prison in Fort Madison, Iowa, says that male prisoners — some convicted of murder and sexual assault — were allowed to watch horror films (including one that showed a woman being beaten, raped, hung upside down and skinned), erotic films, and movies that showed sadism and attempted rape. Oh, and Cruel Intentions, which is probably most offensive to good taste, acting, and SMG's career.
Sink alleges that while the movies played, inmates would openly masturbate and make sexually harassing comments to her. I can only imagine that this was terrifying. Even though she reported this to higher ups, one warden allegedly said that the she created the problems by complaining, and another supervisor suggested her outfits — a standard-issue uniform — were "enticing inmates". Yee gads.
Sink said that when prison officials finally acted on her complaints in September 2011 by largely barring movies with sexually explicit content, inmates blamed her and subjected her to a torrent of insults and threats to beat or even kill her. One threw urine on her. Despite the threats, Sink said her supervisors refused to move her to a job where she wouldn't be in contact with inmates for more than a year.
When Sink was finally transfered to a desk job last month, she filed a lawsuit against prison officials alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace retaliation, and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
Some might say a simple solution is to only hire men to work in male prisons, but that's not just not fair. There are women who want these jobs, and so there needs to be proper support systems in place for them.
Of course, this is all reflective of the fact that our prisons are such dehumanizing places, in general — it's easier to blame problems on the person complaining than on the actual root of the issue. Extinguish the flame, move on to the next fire. Actually addressing some of the core issues here — respecting other people and yourself — isn't something that's within the realm of possibility in most prisons. Turning a mirror on these things would mean a major overhaul in how things are done, and, as a society, we're not even close to speaking honestly about our (most likely) fucked beyond repair prison system.