The NBC drama Game of Silence tells the story of four men set on revenge over the abuse they suffered in juvenile prison. The show is a remake of the Turkish drama Suskunlar, which appears to be based the book Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra, which had a movie of the same name. All four versions reveal the depth of cruelty that can occur in juvenile prisons. While the first two are fiction and there are some questions about the veracity of Carcaterra’s story, a recent case shows that this type of abuse does indeed happen.
Kevin Young went to Medomsley detention center in County Durham in 1977. There he endured abuse at the hands of a prison official:
The morning after he arrived at Medomsley, Young was lining up for breakfast when he was picked out of the queue by Neville Husband, the officer who ran the kitchen. Young later discovered that Husband had asked for his file – he wanted to know everything about him; most importantly, whether he had family who were likely to visit him. Young was one of a handful of new inmates sent to work in the kitchen with Husband.
“There are two things that are important to successfully sexually abuse somebody,” Young says. “By successful, I mean without being prosecuted. One, anonymity or silence – if you can’t carry out your act without people knowing, you’re not going to be at it very long. The second thing you need is a victim who’s ‘reliable’; a reliable victim is someone who’s already been abused to the point where, if they do speak out, who on Earth is going to believe them? And who on Earth is going to believe Kevin Young, the pauper’s son, who has been in and out of care, who’s a knife-wielding thug, a bully?” That is how a number of care home reports described Young, but he insists he was a quiet, over-obedient boy. “The truth is, nobody would have believed me.”
Abuse might be too mild a word for what Husband did to Young over the next two months. “I was raped repeatedly, tied up and ligatured [around the neck]. It was the worst of the worst.” That day after Young arrived, Husband took him to a storeroom above the kitchens that he had converted into a lounge. He locked the door, took out the key and stuffed the keyhole with tissues. “I thought I was going to be killed,” Young says. “I was told by Husband that you could easily be found hanged at Medomsley, and that that year, six boys had already hanged themselves.”
According to Young, Husband would take the boy to his house outside of prison and allow other men to rape him. One would think that people would notice an officer removing an inmate from the prison. As Young argues, the prison and police were not only aware of that, but aware of Husband’s violent tendencies yet still allowed him access to children: Continue reading