22 Aug 08

Convict Justice (by Shane)

Shane - After being denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs he financed with burglaries. The medication in prison caused him to suffer a period of spontaneous ejaculations.

I was 19 and in a maximum-security prison. It was my second month there. Wanting to remain independent rather than clique up, I made friends with a couple of recognized independents on the yard.

One such independent became my partner. Although quite an intense guy at times, he was a jovial person. He looked like the ’80’s wrestler Ultimate Warrior. Steve was a character.

“Hey, youngster, I got a favor to ask you. I need you to watch my back today going to chow,” Steve asked one day, a serious expression on his usually smiling face.
“What’s up?” I responded.
“I gotta handle this chomo who just drove up, and I don’t want anybody jumpin’ on me.”
Suspecting Steve was testing me, I agreed to watch his back.
Pointing his finger at me, he ended our conversation with, “Just make sure nobody stops me.”

Still a fish on the yard, cautious but wanting to do right by prison politics and morals, my mind justified what was about to happen. A child molester would get a beat down, and that would be that. Convict justice.

Later in the day, we walked to the chow hall together.
“Fall in behind me and stay with me,” Steve whispered as we weaved our way through the throng of prisoners heading for the chow hall.
As we passed beneath the gun tower, a notorious blind spot for the guards, Steve made his move.
In one fluid motion, Steve turned throwing a right hook to the cheek of a large heavyset man walking next to him. The punch landed flush with a loud crack as bone shattered.
The man staggered backwards, instinctively grabbing his fractured right cheek.
Instantly, the crowd parted leaving the three of us exposed.
As I circled Steve and the man, hand extended towards the crowd, I felt awkward but ready to fight.
Stunned, the man didn’t react other than to grab his face, so Steve took advantage and kicked the side of the man’s thick knee. Another bone-breaking crack sounded. Crying out in agony, the man went down.
He was on his side grasping his knee when Steve kicked him twice in the face, the second kick opening a long, deep gash below his left eye. Blood gushed down his face as he slumped forward face down.
Glancing down at the badly beaten man, Steve withdrew a newspaper clipping from his pocket, wadded it up and threw it in the blood pooling around the man’s head. “Don’t come back, chomo, or you’re through,” Steve said to the motionless man as he walked away, blending back into the crowd, which began its movement towards the chow hall again.
We moved on.

Once inside the chow hall, we split up. It didn’t take long for the man to be found. Minutes after we were inside the chow hall, guards locked both doors to contain us, while the man was transported off the yard.
When the doors were unlocked again, a guard was posted at the exit to do “knuckle checks” as we left the chow hall.
What shocked me more than the savage beating was how the guard waived Steve through without a glance as he exited.

After that day, I distanced myself from Steve. Despite having learned that the newspaper clipping described how the man pled guilty to molesting his six-year-old stepdaughter, I felt a miniscule amount of sympathy for the man having being beaten so badly.

Steve died a couple of months after this from a heroin overdose.
The child molester never returned to the yard, but he survived the beating.

Over the years I’ve struggled with sexual predator punishment. Part of me believes they deserve harsh punishment for their sickening crimes. But there’s a part of me that thinks they are human beings and human beings shouldn’t treat others so cruelly. Even if that person does cruel and disgusting things.

We touched on the subject of convict justice in the blog “Rapist on the Yard” by Warrior. Shane seems to have had a more complex reaction to the situation than Warrior. How do you feel about Shane’s “ miniscule amount of sympathy?”

Shane is looking for someone to manage his blog.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2007-2008 Shaun P. Attwood


dirtos said...

I have no sympathy for sexual predators. It's nice to think they may get a degree of physical punishment on top of being incarcerated.
Where I have a problem is with the thought that someone could get unfairly put away on false testimony, be labelled a rapist or child molester and get badly beaten, maimed or worse in prison, yet be entirely innocent. In those circumstances then prison justice is abhorrent.
My question would be however, if Steve was an independent then who put him up to the punishment beating, or did he act under his own steam?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dirtos. Sex criminals are the lowest of the low. They get what they deserve from the system and the prisoners. So be it. If the government won't do it, perhaps the prisoners should castrate them?


Chris H said...


You know my position on this subject!

Finally someone who agrees with me has commented though, I thought I was alone on your blog!

Ghost, I agree completely with you! Go Team!!!

In response to Dirtos "the thought that someone could get unfairly put away on false testimony" - this guy had confessed, right?

Hugs and kisses,


Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

What Dirtos mentioned was my first thought-what if this man were innocent? A good deal of trust happened very quickly. I think Shane was right to distance himself. But the problem with any criminal or destructive impulse is whether any amount of outward punishment would take care of the problem. Even castration might not stop the impulses, though it might stop some acts. It's back to the rehabilitation/punishment/justice circle. Is that any different than the alcoholic who drinks and gets behind a wheel or a junkie who has children? I know purposely targeting a child is particularly heinous, but still singling someone out on the basis of a crime takes nothing else into account. (Good writing, BTW).

Anonymous said...

The idea that sex offenses are worse than murder baffles me. Almost everybody would rather be raped than murdered if given the choice. Rape victims can recover, murder victims cannot. Lots of people who are murdered are totally innocent (Killed during robberies or by stray bullets or whatever). Lots of them have children. Do you really do more damage to a child by molesting her than you do by killing her mother or her father or both? I'm not so sure.

Child molesters are terrible people who deserve to be in prison, but they aren't necessarily the worst. I think they get picked on because the act they are guilty of is one most criminals don't understand (Sexual impulses towards children are uncommon) and because they tend to be weak and soft compared to the majority of the prison population, making them easy targets.

If we as a society think child molesters deserve more punishment we should mete it out through the law, not let prisoners deal it out arbitrarily.

Anonymous said...

What if the cops and the media just set this guy up?

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

I know the law goes to great lengths to protect children and rightly so, but molestation cases can be very complicated. Sometimes it comes down to one person's word against another-and again, not to lessen the horror or severity of the crime. But a friend, female and a grandmother of a child whose husband (the grandfather) was accused, wound up serving time rather than going to court to testify so as not to further damage what was already a situation that ripped the family apart, and it never was entirely clear what the truth was. But there was her picture in the paper and she now has a record being complicit in this crime when she did not know anything and feared even being on the stand in her own defense would cause more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Dirtos. No sympathy. A six year old child that is innocent and you completely strip that away from them for life. Completely disgusting. If you ask me, the beating was merciful to say the least. A fractured cheek bone and cut below the eye isn't shit compared to the lifetime of mental scars that little girl would have. He had no sympathy for her, so why should we for him? A full grown adult is fully capable of understanding what he or she is doing. He knew what he was doing to her. She didn't. No excuses.

D said...

I think the chomo was already taking his appropriate punishment by serving the sentence the judge/jury gave him, and other prisoners have no right to add on to that punishment.
I agree with the anonymous commenter who said that sex offenders are no worse than murderers.
On top of that, I believe that prisoners who attack chomos in prison are doing so to give themselves a (false) sense of superiority---I think they are insecure and ashamed of causing their own selves to end up in prison, and this "beat on the chomo" crap is just a desperate attempt to make themselves seem/feel "not so bad" by comparison.
I also believe that chomos are mentally ill people who need psychiatric treatment.
And, I think Shane was right to distance himself from Steve after this incident.

Suzanne said...

Sure, chomos are mentally ill people who need psychiatric treatment but the recividism rate is pretty damn high and remorse is low. You can't fix that with therapy. I don't feel sympathy for their illness, not when it is so damaging to a child.

It takes an extraodinarily weak person to victimize a child, and yet, these people are able to plan and go to great lengths to establish trust and prep the child to carry the burden of their sickness for the rest of their lives. They deserve punishment & it's hard for me to care if they get the crap kicked out of them. It's certainly no worse than what they did to the child.

However, it's easy to say that but to be a witness or participant to the violence would be difficult. Is it OK for me to root for someone else to dispense that kind of justice without being to able to really look the violence in the eye? I don't know. Complicated stuff.

Anonymous said...

i think that ppl shouldnt get beaten up in prisons cause thats not there sentence if there sentence was go to jail and get beaten up then ok but if not then its not rite so it like shouldnt be allowed im against it


Anonymous said...

It is very hard to recover from being sexually abused as a child. I know because I was sexually abused from age 5 to 7. I am now 38yrs old, and still have a hard time dealing with it. My sister was sexually abused also, and gave up on life because of the trauma is caused her, and ended up dying at the age of 24, because she couldn't handle dealing with what happened to her. I think a child molester gets everything that happens to them, even if its a beating by someone who is totally disgusted with their actions. I know my abuser was in protective custody while in prison, so he could avoid the same beatings. And he ended up in prison TWICE for molesting three young girls.

Anonymous said...

I hear so many people talk about children who are victimized. If the thinking is "beat up a chomo because the child was damaged", shouldn't the same be said of murderers, burglars, tweekers, and other people who victimize kids. How many kids are traumatized because someone did something to them or their family the caused them trauma.
This is just more of the criminal thinking that is b.s.. I've had friends murdered and their kids suffer every day, how come no one is rolling up these guys on the yard? Exactly.There is no excuse. Its just ignorant prison politics and the stg groups who stage most of these attacks are so righteous right? lol. spare me.

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