Life Was Hell For Gay Black Man In Texas Prison
Roderick Johnson is doing something about the indignities he suffered in a Texas prison. A gay, black man, Johnson was raped by more than one hundred men--nearly every day for 18 months. He's suing the Texas Department of Corrections and developing a program to "aid the re-integration of troubled young adults into mainstream society as productive, responsible citizens."
Hearing him speak, however, it seems the lawsuit embodies not an attempt at payback, but a demand for justice. "What's done is done," said 35-year-old Johnson. "I have harsh feelings, but I'm not vengeful."
....he was placed in Allred Prison, a maximum-security facility outside Wichita Falls, Texas. For Johnson, it was like being thrown into a viper's nest, he said. "I was in prison with people serving two life sentences," Johnson said. "They don't care about anything. Their lives are over."
At first he tried to survive as an independent - someone unaffiliated with any of the various gangs that Johnson said controlled the atmosphere inside. Soon, Johnson took another role, one forced upon him by inmates because of his sexuality, he said. "I became a 'she'," Johnson says. "In their eyes, I'm a woman."
Some of the inmates made him clean their cells and cook their food, he said. Then the rapes began. According to Johnson's lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, he was raped nearly every day for 18 months. He attempted seven times to convince a prison committee to move him into the safekeeping wing of the prison, where vulnerable prisoners such as known homosexuals and ex-police officers remain segregated from the general population. Each time, the committee refused his appeal.
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