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Women In Prison Do Hard Time

American prisons now hold more than 130,000 women, but most of the guards are men. That means even a prison routine, like the pat-down search, can turn into a form of sexual assault. Marie Turner and her cellmates say it happens, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

"Depending on if you're larger breasted, they ride all up there," Turner said of the handiwork of male guards.

Turner described the pat-down search as "very degrading. But you know, welcome to prison."

Women in prison can suffer in ways men never do. Jeamilette Silva gave birth to a daughter in custody. "I had her with handcuffs on," Silva said of the birth.

Silva is serving three years for burglary. Turner is in for five years on drug charges. But female inmates often endure more than just their sentences.

A report to be released Thursday by Amnesty International says women in American prisons experience a shocking array of human rights violations.

"Women who are convicted of crimes deserve to be punished. But they don't deserve to be brutalized. They don't deserve to be raped by guards," said Bill Shulz of Amnesty International.

The organization also says women in prison are often reluctant to report sexual abuse because they fear retaliation. Here at the Federal Detention Center in Dublin, Calif., there was brutal retaliation when one woman complained.

"I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Scared to death," Robin Lucas said.

Lucas is back at work running her own clothing store. But five years ago, she was convicted of bank fraud after cashing stolen traveler's checks for her boyfriend. She was sentenced to 33 months at the federal detention center, where, she discovered, guards sold female inmates as sex slaves to male prisoners.

When Lucas reported the sexual assault to prison authorities, she suffered again. Three men came into her cell one night.

"And the retaliation was to send someone in to assault me. To beat and to rape me," she said. "I couldn't believe it. And all I could do was cry and say, why me?"

Lucas and two other female inmates sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons. They won $500,000 and a promise that authorities would do more to protect women in prison from sexual assault.

Prison guards work in a world where drugs, sex and violence among inmates is common. They insist that searches and the lack of privacy are designed for prison safety.

Teena Farmon, a warden for the Central California Women's Facility, says a proper pat search is not invasive.

"It's a sweeping motion underneath the breast area. A sweeping motion, not a groping motion, but a sweeping motion," she said.

But when things get rough, most women keep the prison code of silence.

Women at the federal prison in Dublin said most of the guards treat them well, but Amnesty International says across America abuse is pervasive as women serve out their time