PRISON JUSTICE?

AP reports,

Former priest John Geoghan, a convicted child molester who became a central figure in the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandal, has been killed in prison, a state public safety spokesman said Saturday.

Geoghan was injured in an incident with another inmate at about noon and was transported to Leominster Hospital, where he died shortly after, said Department Of Public Safety spokesman David Shaw.

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Geoghan was convicted in January 2002 of indecent assault and battery for grabbing the buttocks of a 10-year-old boy in 1991 in the first of three criminal cases against him. He was sentenced to nine to 10 years in prison.

In civil lawsuits, more than 130 people have claimed Geoghan sexually abused them as children during his three decades as a priest at Boston-area parishes.

In September 2002, the archdiocese settled with 86 Geoghan victims for $10 million, after pulling out of an earlier settlement of about $30 million.

While I’m certainly not surprised by this outcome, it brings to mind a question that has often occured to me: Why do we have so much trouble maintaining law and order in our penetentiaries? These institutions are almost certainly among the most dangerous places on the planet–much more so than even a combat zone. Why is that? Of all the places where the power of the state can be brought to bear without overmuch concern for civil liberties, it’s in prison.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tiger says:

    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that they are often understaffed with low-paid, highly uneducated personnel and a general apathy about the well-being of their charges. And actually, there is pretty good security there, when you think that you have like hundreds of criminals all piled into one facility watched by a handful of guards. In the most secure prisons, it is likely that if one prisoner wants to kill another prisoner or wants him dead, the likelihood of success, with whatever security is in place, is good. Child molesters, are, from my understanding, like viewed as vermin by real criminals, who find it despicable that they prey on innocent children for sex. Makes them somewhat unmanly, which in prison, is the mark of doom.