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McPherson Women’s Prison under investigation after abuse claims

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NEWPORT, Ark. — The Justice Department announced it has opened an investigation of the McPherson Women’s Prison in Newport.

According to the news release, numerous allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment by correctional staff have been brought to the department’s attention by staff members.

They claimed some of the employees had sexual intercourse and performed other sex acts with prisoners, exchanged money for sexual favors, inappropriately watched prisoners while the changed or showered, and took photos and videos of prisoners while they were naked.

“Staff sexual abuse of prisoners violates the constitutional rights of prisoners, undermines prison safety and security and can lead to other crimes,” said the head of the Civil Rights Division, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “This investigation furthers the Justice Department’s goal of zero-tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual harassment in our nation’s jails and prisons.”

The Justice Department has asked that anyone who can help in this investigation come forward.

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