“Both of the prison inmates found dead inside a housing unit at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution Monday morning were child sex offenders serving long sentences.”

The quote comes from a Lincoln JournalStar article that may be found here. The article further states:

Donald Peacock was a year into a 40-to-50-year sentence from Dodge County, and Shon Collins had served about five years of a 66-to-80-year sentence out of Box Butte County.

Both men were 46. Prison officials believe they were both killed by other inmates.

When Peacock was sentenced in March 2014, prosecutors said he used hidden cameras to make child pornography and that he sexually assaulted a boy on a weekly basis for more than seven years.

. . .

Collins was sentenced to 66 to 80 years in prison after meeting an Alliance teenager online and driving from his home in Leavenworth, Kansas, to have sex with her at a motel. She was 13.*


*That child sex offenders have a rough time in many prisons is old news. For example, in 2003 John Geoghan, a former Roman Catholic priest whose sexual abuse conviction sparked a widespread abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, was killed by a fellow inmate who claimed he was chosen by God to kill pedophiles.

Credit: Boston Globe.  Former priest John Geoghan in court in January 2002.

Credit: Boston Globe. Former priest John Geoghan in court in January 2002.

13 responses

  1. That they don’t do well in prison is an old myth. For sure, there are scattered reports of assaults and murders, but if people knew how many child sex offenders there are in prisons and jails, they would be astounded. That includes your audience. There is also a definitional issue: does the definition include pornographers? If so, we’re talking a large portion of the detained/incarcerated population.

    The thought that inmates hate child offenders like cows hate cheeseburgers is a comfort for the victims. The truth is that prisoners just don’t care what another inmate is in for, and they rarely touch the subject. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” just doesn’t happen.

    In almost every case I see, they are killed by someone already serving a sentence measured only by as long as they can live. When I see that, I always ponder the chances of a hit, paid with honey buns or Slim Jims from the commissary.

    That said, I think they should all be fed to the Goliaths:


  2. Judge:
    I find it fascinating that even hardened, convicted criminals have a pecking order that mandates death for those other imprisoned inmates who are either notorious (think Jeffrey Dammer) or pedophiliac (e.g., John Geoghan). My guess is that this vicious intolerance seems to stem from a need for moral superiority by those society has found to be patently immoral.

  3. Robert is correct about the pecking order, although I’ll leave the motivation to the mental health crowd.

    Skink misses the mark. Sex offenders, particularly pedophiles, are on the lowest rung of the prison ladder. Colorado DOC takes special precautions in housing sex offenders because of their vulnerability to attack.

    It’s true that inmates often don’t share what their crimes are, but it a sex offender is unmasked, he’s definitely much more of a target for assault.

  4. It wasn’t like I was just spouting off–I do this work every day. All DOCs and jails take special precautions, but they just protect against a very rare occurrence. Additionally, these inmates usually opt-out of segregated housing because they get tired of being alone.

    I doubt reliable studies exist, mostly because folks rely on the belief that sex offenders are targets. I bet your DOC has a 10-12% population of sex offenders, but the population isn’t broken-down into child sex offenders, as opposed to those that rape adults. At this moment in Florida, there are 11,000 sex offenders just in a prison population of about 100,000. That does not include jails, which have a greater population. I can guarantee more than half of those are child sex offenders, depending on the definition,and less than 1% have any trouble with other prisoners because of their crime.

  5. Skink,

    “The [federal] Bureau [of Prisons] recognizes sex offenders as a vulnerable population within a prison setting.” Here.

    All the best.


  6. So do all detention agencies, but they protect against a very rare occurrence. Let’s take a small number. Let’s say there are 200,000 child sex offenders, depending on the definition, in prisons and jails. How many have to be assaulted or killed to result in a usual occurrence? There just aren’t that many assaulted or killed by other inmates.

    I would like to see a reliable comparison of inmate assaults based on gang affiliation, prior dealings or just plain pissed-offedness as opposed to their conviction status. I don’t think it exists.

  7. Skink,

    Surely you are not suggesting that we should not be bothered because these assaults are “rare” in your opinion. Two men were murdered. I doubt their manner of death met 8th Amendment standards.

  8. You miss the point. I doubt they were killed because of their conviction. It’s far more likely they were killed because they pissed someone off in the prison. Nothing links their conviction to their death, except that Rich mentioned their conviction.

    The rarity has only to do with a common conclusion, which is based on an assumption. We don’t do that as lawyers.

    Since there is no evidence their death was at the hands of governmental actors, the Eighth Amendment is not implicated.

  9. My reference to the 8th was colloquial; I thought you would understand that. The system failed them. They did not deserve to die the way that I expect they did.

    I disagree with your other assertion. I fully expect that they WERE killed precisely because of their commitment offenses. Why only those two? Neither of us can prove the point.

  10. FYI: The second imbedded “here” link concerning Dr. Wright is down or corrupted.

    The first does indeed sound like an interesting read. Good for Dr. Wright and the prisoners he has served as a physician.

    It would be very interesting to hear from even more professional like Dr. Wright and others who either volunteer or are paid to serve in prisons and jails throughout this country.

    There are assumptions a plenty about prisons and prisoners. Most are a pretty fair distance from reality.

    One thing is for sure though, with two million plus incarcerated souls in this nation more and more folks are starting to ponder just what the heck is going on?

    Interesting times indeed for the entire criminal justice system ahead. I predict a wicked hangover.

    Waking up sober after the epic “throw away the key” party that has been rolling out in slow motion over the last three or four decades should indeed prove to be very interesting.

  11. John,

    I apologize for my error. The second link is fixed.

    I agree about the hangover. Even Oxycodone will not help.

    All the best.


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