A Letter From a Michigan Prison Cell

AuthorWestley Johnson
Published date01 May 2022
Date01 May 2022
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 259 –261
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221096892
A Letter From a Michigan
Prison Cell
Westley Johnson
I am a 27 year old black transgender female who is currently incarcerated in the
Michigan Department of Corrections.
I had no clue that me being sentenced to prison would mean that I would also be
sentenced to years of harassment, discrimination, abuse, violence, torture and rape.
I had no clue that prison staff would willfully maliciously and with deliberate indif-
ference force me to be roommates with rapists and murderers.
I had no clue that my legitimate pleas for help directed to prison staff in which I
pleaded with them to protect me from sexual violence would only result in me being
mocked, laughed at and ultimately ignored.
I reflect back on the time where a prison employee who considered me to be “sexy”
decided to use his position of power and authority to his own personal & predatory
benefit. He made it his daily goal to make unwanted sexual advances towards me. The
sexual harassment he subjected me to on a daily basis quickly escalated to the point
where he decided to rape me.
I reflect back on how I was forced to be roommates with a high profile rapist and
murderer. The fact that I had an official medical document which stated that I was only
to be housed with other gender dysphoric (transgender) prisoners, was ignored. The
fact that I pleaded for protection from being preyed upon by a convicted rapist & mur-
derer was ignored.
The fact that I was raped while two prison employees watched a movie and a third
prison employee was half asleep hurts my heart. The hurt continues as I reflect on how
I was shackled like a slave while I was at a hospital where a rape kit was conducted on
me due to the fact that prison employees failed to protect me from being forcibly pen-
etrated just hours prior. Prison employees could have easily prevented me from being
raped but instead they threatened to punish me if I did not remain in the cell with a well
known rapist & murderer.
I reflect back on how many times I have been unable to sleep because the fear of
being subjected to physical and sexual violence is so real that it is impossible for me
to close my eyes, but after so many sleepless nights it becomes impossible for me to
keep my eyes open because my body has shut down due to sleep deprivation. It hurts
1096892CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221096892Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeJohnson

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