Please forward this error screen to sharedip-10718057212. Casey Hodge stepped from the prison van, trembling under the weight of women seeking men ocala thick handcuffs and leg shackles.
The slight 25-year-old was led with a group of other women into a small room and ordered to strip naked. From lockup enforcer to murder victim: Maurice Harris Jr. A Miami Herald I-Team investigation into corruption, sexual abuse and medical neglect at the largest women’s prison in the nation, Lowell Correctional. Hodge, who has been legally blind since she was 16, then was told to remove her glass eye. They wanted to make sure I wasn’t hiding anything in my socket,’’ she remembers. So she pulled it out with her fingers.
The officers nearly fell off their chairs, she said, mocking her like children and pretending to vomit. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. Hodge, who had never been in trouble with the law before her arrest on drug trafficking charges in 2012. Hodge once dreamed of growing up to be a photographer. Now she was inmate No.
155778, sentenced to three years to be served at Lowell Correctional Institution, a state prison that houses the five women on Florida’s Death Row — and has the distinction of being the largest women’s prison in the United States. Casey Hodge, a former inmate at Lowell Correctional Institution, says she was forced to perform sex acts with a corrections officer at Lowell and that he mailed her sexually explicit letters while she was an inmate. But the women who have done time here say Lowell’s quiet veneer belies the corruption, torment and sexual abuse within. They say that over the past decade, the abuse has become intolerable. Documents show inmates have complained that officers from the Florida Department of Corrections spit in their faces, threaten to slam them into concrete and call them whores, bitches and porch monkeys. They say male prison staffers tramp through the showers, make them flash their breasts on a whim and force them to beg for basic necessities, like toilet paper, soap and sanitary napkins. But perhaps the worst indignity of all, women say, is that the officers — both male and female — use their positions of power to pressure inmates to have sex and to perform indecent acts.
Women alleged in complaints, filed between 2011 and May 2015, that the sex happens in bathrooms, closets, the laundry and officers’ stations. Sometimes officers go into dorms in the middle of the night, taking women to isolated areas of the prison, they say. It’s like a lion with a bunch of gazelles. It’s a perfect breeding ground for sexual predators, and it’s a game to them who is f—ing who and who is involved with who.