Nation

Inmates were allowed to see explicit films

Prison officer Kristine Sink said movies encouraged sex harassment.
Prison officer Kristine Sink said movies encouraged sex harassment.

IOWA CITY — Administrators let offenders at one of Iowa’s most dangerous prison units watch violent and sexually explicit movies and TV shows for years, despite repeated complaints from a female officer who said it encouraged inmates to sexually harass her.

Murderers, sexual predators, and other men housed at a unit for mentally ill inmates at the maximum-security state prison in Fort Madison were allowed to watch the movies.

Despite correctional officer Kristine Sink’s complaints, administrators told her not to turn off the movies or shows. When she did, they accused her of insubordination, according to records.

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One warden blamed Sink for causing problems by complaining, and another supervisor suggested her outfits — a standard-issue uniform — were enticing inmates.

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Sink said she has fought a lonely battle under four wardens against movies that caused inmates to become sexually aggressive — through ‘‘10 years of misery.’’ She filed a lawsuit Nov. 30 against prison officials alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace retaliation, seeking damages. ‘‘It’s inconceivable. If I had not lived through it myself, I wouldn’t believe this,’’ she said.

Sink, who started at the prison in 2003, said the movies played multiple times a day for a week on a television in a common area where 45 inmates could watch.

Associated Press