NM judge believes daily prison rape is a fit punishment for nearly all defendants

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I’ve seen the “Criminals deserve to be raped in jail” argument many times. Especially in anonymous comments on social media… It boggles the mind.
But to come from a judge, and a female one to boot. We’re living in interesting times, I say.


She’s a dick, idn’t she?


No, the judge did not say that rape is just. The author of the article is putting words in her mouth. She neither said nor implied that.

Reporting at its worst. Ugh.


I think you’re reaching here, Cory, and your headline is misleading. She believes that this particular defendant would be raped in prison. That doesn’t logically infer that she thinks nearly all defendants will be raped when she sends them to prison. In fact, in this case she specifically did not send someone to prison who she believed would be raped. Now she might be right or she might be wrong, but your conclusions about her beliefs are simply not founded on logic.

Doubtless there are judges who do believe prison rape is just punishment, and certainly many people who aren’t judges have expressed that reprehensible belief. This judge may or may not be one. I’m wondering what you hope to accomplish by singling her out when she may or may not represent that belief. While I admire your polemical editorials, you normally adhere to logic and you don’t seem like someone who would say things about a judge simply because she is in fact a judge. I can only assume an honest leap of faith in this case that you believe she must believe nearly all prisoners will be raped. Which leaves me wondering why you made that leap.


I checked to see if the guy was white, and he appears to be Latino, so at least I’ll give her points for that.

But, the idea that a young man is raped daily in prison comes from TV and movies, not reality. A judge should know the criminal system better than that.

Classic “scare them straight” rhetoric, nothing more.

Does it work? Who knows.


Back in the '90s an American prosecutor attended a court hearing in Canada, seeking to have a Canadian telephone scammer extradited to the US. He warned the Canadian - in front of Canadian court officials - that if he fought extradition, then he’d be repeatedly raped once he arrived in a US prison.

That ended the perp’s extradition process right there and then, and he walked free.

Here in Winnipeg our remand center - where suspects are held BEFORE they’ve had their day in court - and often before they can talk to a lawyer - is notorious for being worse than any jail. Not surprisingly, people will make a deal to plead guilty regardless of guilt just to get out of it.

Apparently American officials use the threat of rape the same way.


If the judge reasonably believes that an inmate or detainee is likely to be raped in jail or prison, then jail or prison as a sentence becomes cruel or unusual punishment, and therefore unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment.

By articulating her belief, but not the reasoned foundations of that belief, she has opened the door to have defense explore those reasons in future trials, to determine whether their defendant fits those reasons — or to determine whether the judge makes sentencing decisions arbitrarily based on prejudicial factors. It may be sufficient to require recusal or mistrial.

If she believes that any arbitrary inmate may reasonably be subject to rape in a particular jail or prison, then that opens the door to question her previous decisions.

There need to be more Eighth Amendment challenges to sentencing and detainment. If the jail or prison is incapable of serving as punishment without sacrificing the basic human dignity of the inmate, it needs to be reformed, excluded, or abolished.


A Cory article where it is a complete fabrication. I’m shocked. Yet again. As I was the last 17 dozen times they were complete fabrications.

Honestly, I believe the judge was absolutely right in her assessment. Men get raped in jail, especially young good looking ones. And he needs to know this. This does not make it right. It makes it horrific that the US gov’t allows this to happen. It is horrific that men come out of prison with death sentences (or at least lives that are cut short) due to HIV and otherwise. And while this should not be the case, anyone committing crimes SHOULD know this is a possibility. It is disgusting that a nation that prides itself on being the best nation in the world (not saying this is anywhere close to being correct…just the national sentiment) would allow this.

And as such, judges should tell criminals what may happen. And I’m glad she gave him probation status. Which should probably be given to most first time offenders.


I work with men recently paroled federal and state prisons who talk about how certain victims are picked for rape. Certain prisons are known to be worse than others. I have also talked with young men who describe the medical treatment they have needed to repair the damage to their bodies. The surgery only can repair the physical injury, rape is a trauma to mind and spirit as well. The administration, the staff of prison facilities know what happens. Some men imply that staff are more than just aware. Even the staff who are appalled by such behavior are generally helpless to stop it.

More and more prisons are run as private industry, many prison are in areas where jobs are at a premium. This is a sad period of time for me. Not because of what has happened to our nation, but more because I am becoming more and more aware of the vicious nature behind the façade. I wish I knew answers, I wish I knew where to place blame. I once thought things could be changed at a ballot box…until I found out who makes those boxes. I could do with some convincing repudiating of my thoughts.


Most nations do, via the magical circular logic of patriotism.

Anyway, yeah, this post is hugely overblown. As ActuallyARegular sez, it’s clearly just the judge driving home the seriousness of nearly going to prison (though it does highlight that judges knowingly sentence people to be raped and beaten).

And it bears mentioning, this is the kind of situation where prison is highly effective. When someone actually goes to prison, then it’s failed as a deterrent and is just an expensive cruelty; but if someone has the shit scared out of them by a near miss, then (a) that costs the state nothing and (b) there’s a good chance it will work and they won’t do it again.

Obviously, the face of our social machinery that deliberately terrifies teenagers is not its most attractive face. But criminal justice is always going to involve putting a certain amount of unpleasant pressure on convicted criminals.


Assuming this judge believes the men she convicts will be raped - or at least some will - what should she do, ethically? Stop sentencing criminals? Resign from the bench? Put on her Power Ranger suit and go beat up the rapists? I don’t really see any winning strategy here.


She did not say that it was just, but her comments also reveal that she finds it to be an acceptable status quo. Prisons are designed to be tightly controlled facilities, it’s not as if the (so-called) justice system has no control over what happens in there. So I think it is rather telling of their values when they claim to have no control over certain kinds of prisoner abuse.


Has a judge the power to decide the prison? If so she could shun all the correctional facilities known for prison rapes.

Actually she did. She sentences people to jail and she assumes daily rape takes place in jail. Ergo, she believes when she sentences people to jail she is sentencing them to rape. Since she hands out those sentences, she must feel that rape is an acceptable punishment. Otherwise she would refuse to ever sentence someone to jail.


Well, I’m not all that concerned by the implied meaning that’s ascribed to a judge here. I AM concerned that she stated what has come to be an accepted reality of our “justice” system and we are all in a lather over what she said/meant/implied … or not…while the abomination that is the “prison industry” continues to thrive.

I too have heard and read things from people who “think” rape is a just and fair punishment for whatever-the-hell–now-gets-you-tossed-into-jail. Those people need, simply, to be ostracized from the debate over how to dismantle the system. The “tough on crime” sociopaths can just go screw themselves as far as I’m concerned. Those among them who think that the horrific situations in the prisons are a legitimate part of the “punishment” are in a class by themselves…and should be loudly, vigorously, and memorably denounced whenever they spew such evil.

This judge does not seem to be one of them…but if she is interested in real justice, she should make regular probation her stand against what has become of our system.


Is the problem the judge who talks about it, or the prison system which thinks locking hundreds of convicts in small spaces and letting them torture eachother serves some greater good?

It just indoctrinates people into the criminal class. Scares them. Tortures them.

What would happen with any other animal? Sticking 400 in a small dank unnatural environment thats intentionally dangerous and cruel and brutal?

Then they get loaded with drugs and brutalized.

And once thats done. They are released. Into the world. With no job prospects, drug addictions, multiple traumas, and no self esteem. Never allowed to participate in elections. Marked for life.

What fuckhead came up with this? Look in the mirror. Voter. Still enfranchised member of our democratic republic. Decent human being. Tax payer who doesnt give feedback.

Post a blog comment or write your representative.

You make the choice.


To prison? Yes. In order to remain ethical as a judge, you must uphold the laws of the United States which includes our constitutional prohibition against ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ as well as The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) which requires that facilities adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this form of abuse.
In order to maintain law and order and to protect our citizens, she should only be handing out fines, probation, and civil service.


She assumes it would happen to this defendant, who she therefore did not send there.

Prison rape is a real and serious problem in the US plantation…er, prison system, and one far too tolerated by blasé ‎Americans who assume they’ll never be locked up. However, falsely ascribing beliefs and assumptions to a particular person simply because you’re justifiably outraged helps no one. She might very well believe she sentences others to rape, but it’s wrong and illogical to infer that from her belief that this defendant in particular would have been raped in prison.