A common trope in popular culture is that if you commit crimes against the weak, particularly children, prison won’t be kind to you. There are many in there who committed all manner of horrific crimes but who, whether because of life experience or their own sense of justice, don’t take kindly to those who abuse children.
In fact, “don’t take kindly” is quite an understatement. When it comes to those who, like the ones who many say were given a slap on the wrist by Kentanji Jackson, commit crimes involving child pornography or abusing kids, “prison justice” (or injustice, depending on your take) can be swift and severe, as ABC reported, saying:
Prison can be a menacing place for child molesters like the former Roman Catholic priest John Geoghan, who was killed in his cell Saturday — or for other alleged pedophile priests working their way through the criminal justice system.
“If you take out a sex offender like this former priest in Massachusetts, maybe the person who took him out thought he’d make a name of himself,” said Margot Bach, a spokeswoman for California Department of Corrections. “Taking [a pedophile] out would gain [the killer] a lot more respect among the other inmates.”
[…]”Once their crime has become known, they usually don’t make it” without protective custody, said Lt. Ken Lewis, a corrections officer and spokesman at California’s Los Angeles County State Prison.
Such was about the case with 24-year-old convicted murderer Semajs Short, who was imprisoned for murdering a toddler. Though he wasn’t accused of being a pedophile, he did kill a child, so other prisoners decided to take the law into their own hands, as the North Carolina Department of Public Safety described a press release on the subject, saying:
Offender Semajs Short (#1539014), 24, was attacked in a housing area at the prison by a number of other offenders at 2:14 p.m. today. Three other offenders were injured during the group assault and were taken to an outside medical facility for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.The Windsor Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident. The Department of Public Safety is fully cooperating in the investigation and will seek criminal prosecution against any offender involved in the altercation.
While the prison officials will interview those involved and try to find out who all was responsible, doing so might be hard. As was the case with another killing of child molesters, those involved in doing the killing can be already serving life sentences, which makes punishing them for killing the kiddie killers difficult. Furthermore, prisoners don’t want to be known as “rats,” and so are unlikely to be willing to say what they say, if anything.
Given the nature of Short’s crime, it’s unlikely that many within the prison population will come to his defense. CBS reported on his crimes, saying:
Short pled guilty to second-degree murder of a 2-year-old girl in 2017, according to reports. He was 17 years old at the time of the murder. He was serving a 31-year sentence and was scheduled to be released in May 2042, DPS said.
Short has more than two dozen infractions on his DPS record, including gang involvement, lock tampering, and fighting with weapons.
Killing a two-year-old? Frankly, it’s surprising that he made it as long as he did: “prison justice” tends to be swift and severe, as the ABC article noted, particularly for those who commit crimes involving children.
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