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Inmates Like Michael Devlin On Bottom of Prison Pecking Order

michael devlin 3.jpg
Mo. Dept. of Corrections
Michael Devlin has recovered from an April stabbing.
Updated with graph of prison hierarchy.

You've probably heard by now that convicted kidnapper and child molester Michael Devlin was stabbed last month in a prison in Cameron, Missouri.

Devlin -- as you'll recall -- made international news back in January 2007 when he was arrested with kidnap victims Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby living in his Kirkwood apartment. Hornbeck had been missing for four years, Ownby for several days.

Fellow inmate Troy L. Fenton readily admits stabbing Devlin out of anger for Devlin's crimes. Fenton even named the two shanks used in the attack "Shawn" and "Ben" after the two abducted boys. Devlin survived the assault, though the incident only reinforces concern for his safety.

Fenton, by the way, is in prison for robbery and shooting at a cop. Which begs the question: Does that make him a more respectable person than Devlin?

Based on the hierarchy inside prisons, the answer would definitely be "yes." That structure places convicts like Fenton near the top of the pecking order and men like Devlin -- who has both notoriety and sexual assault convictions working against him -- at the bottom.

troy fenton.jpg
Troy Fenton's robbery conviction places him higher up in the prison hierarchy.
"There's something of an informal pecking order in prison with guys who commit the most violent crimes higher up in the order and sex offenders -- especially pedophiles -- pretty far down," says Bill DiMascio, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, a social justice organization that's advocated for prisoners since 1787. "In many cases, the safety of those at the bottom can be in jeopardy."

Although prison officials are loathe to admit such hierarchy exists, they've tacitly acknowledge it on previous occasions when they considered moving Devlin out of state or changing his identity for fear for his safety.

Most scholarly research on inmate hierarchies generally have to do with sexual relations and rape in prisons. A 1989 study looking into the criminal hierarchy inside penitentiaries came up with the following graph -- with robbers, drug dealers and murders near the top and pedophiles at the very bottom.

Prison Journal, 1989 69:73, Michael Vaugh and Allen Sapp
Anecdotal evidence suggests that non-sexual attacks against well-known sex offenders, like Devlin, can also move the inmate who perpetrates the assault further up the ladder.

"Most inmates don't talk about their crime," DiMascio tells Daily RFT. "That's especially true for sex offenders. In state prisons, though, their past lives are harder to conceal. These guys come from the same area. They know what's going on beyond the walls. And what appears to be an attack out of the blue, can definitely be provoked from something that occurred outside."


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24 comments
Shiekster
Shiekster

I find it interesting that when the innocence child is harmed, that the Devil comes out in people. Like Pavlov's dogs, most are given to a pre-conditioned response. Which involves Rape, Murder, Torture, in such ways as to make the Devil himself blush, and the Angels hang their heads in Woe. Giving support to that which you claim to protest...Yet, how many who "claim" to be Christian, would you be so bold, after a few beers and a joint of course, to go to Sunday pulpit and boast of your "Couch Seat Opinions of Hypocrisy..?" I think not..You "claim" as you say, "I would never allow MY children to suffer such indignities. I would protect them with my life...! BLAH-BLAH-BLAH..!" Well, the parents of the victimized children, more often than not, said the same damn thing...Now where does that leave you...?".

Mrs Gilchrist
Mrs Gilchrist

prisoners who are in there due to killing someone or robbery have never accepted child melesters or child killers and never will so therefore if I were in prison for robbery and trying to flee so I shoot at the chaser you better believe I would be comparing crimes. You don't touch a kid, period. A lot of prisoners don't take kindly to people who prey upon children.

DAD
DAD

CHOMO's {Child molesters} are the LOWEST of the low.  Anyone who has not been in prison should understand that 98% of inmates have children and their just doin what the parents wish they could do. If devlin is put in ADSEG. thats still not goin to save his ass, i just hope the children {shawn an ben } have a great life now.  I hope devlin gets whats comin to him......Everyday of his life.   NO prisons should NEVER be protected chomo's....eye for an eye...?  why should we pay as {tax payers} to keep them safe ?   NO let them stay in Genpop...should be open season on them.just like JEFF DOMER he shouldn't be in PC, { protective-cust.}   

The dad's of those boys should  have atleast 1 hour or 2  in a 8X10 cell with this asshole to do as they please with him.  Just to get some anger out.....

PLEASE PROTECT THE CHILDREN, i know i will protect mine with my life.   

Rolandpoehl
Rolandpoehl

I am so fukin glad devlin got shanked he was a fucked up human turd when he lived next door to me and sure he still is.Hope he gets abused daily

NickyB.
NickyB.

You people need to turn off Oz and get back to the real world. It's 2011, the inmates aren't "running the prisons". This isn't the ShawSHANK Redemption(I'll be here all night, don't forget to tip your waitress).

That hierarchy makes sense in a perverse way. Even armed robbers and thieves and murderers have kids ya know. Plus I think that to a certain degree there is a feeling of "adults are fair game, kids are not".

Kuei
Kuei

"Fenton, by the way, is in prison for robbery and shooting at a cop. Which begs the question: Does that make him a more respectable person than Devlin? "

Yes indeed it does. After watching thousands of police abuse videos on youtube, I have a great deal of respect for people who shoot cops.

Fdhfdh
Fdhfdh

  

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jae
jae

I do NOT like how the state "protects" sex offenders, child molesters, the pedophiles, you name it! WHO WAS PROTECTING THE LITTLE BOYS OR GIRLS? I would never perform a violent act on anyone, but Devlin had it coming. He is responsible for his actions, his own Karma.

Duck
Duck

Yeah even lower than those who murder pigs

Fry
Fry

Leave the piggys alone

Chris
Chris

You are an idiot.  That is one of the most offensive things I’ve ever heard.  Officers inside and outside of prisons put their life’s on the line every day to protect the public and this is the thanks they get.  It’s funny that "police abuse" bothers you to the point that you’re ok with killing the people who protect you but at the same time you’re ok with someone getting shanked in prison.  But the best part is when you gave "youtube" credit for educating you.  haha maybe you should watch some youtube videos on being a man!  I hope you get punched in the face really hard….

Kiss
Kiss

 this man, is the lowest of the low ..... and I fully believe in cases involving children, that it should be legal to take the law into your own hands. ESPECIALLY in cases like this one!!! ... it's just a shame the stab woulds weren't enough to actually kill him .....

STLNEWSMOD
STLNEWSMOD

Going to have to side with anonymous there. The fact is that the guy was sentenced to 74 life sentences. No where in those sentencing guidelines does it also say he should be shanked and/or preyed upon for the rest of his life.

Porky
Porky

I agree Chris. For every Crooked Cop there are ten more good cops. And people shouldn't be sterotyping cops as a whole. 

loki03xlh
loki03xlh

I'm glad he wasn't killed in this attack.  He needs to live in total fear for his life for at least 10-20 years while enduring assaults before he is fatally shanked.

anonymous
anonymous

there are places in the world where you can still act out your lynch mob fantasies. thankfully this isn't one of them

Mickey_gurl_08
Mickey_gurl_08

Do you really think that the 74 life sentences that he got will ever even come close to justice for those boys.. Let me say as a mother of a child that a piece of shit did stuff to it doent matter how long they get in prison it will never come close to what that child will have to go through every day for the rest of there lives.. So the BS of no where in the sentencing guidelines does it say he should be shanked or preyed upon daily for the rest of his life he is a sorry piece of shit that didnt care that he was preying upon to inocent boys and he sure didnt care what effects it would have on them for the rest of there lives. So why should any one give a damn how this animal feels he got what he had coming to him. And I think most will agree that he deserves alot worse than what he got..

Wrong is wrong
Wrong is wrong

 People are so moronic at times, I swear. He's just as shitty as Devlin is and the prison system isn't worth a damn if inmates are running it.

Sassy♥Britches
Sassy♥Britches

Well, I guess he should have thought about that before he kidnapped and sexually assaulted 2 terrified children. 

brdigital
brdigital

Seriously?   This pig should absolutely be shanked every day of the rest of his miserable life, not only with knives, but with big dirty pork swords!!!! 

Tlove
Tlove

 Ten out of eleven cops are good? One out of eleven bad? Thats your point? I don't like or dislike cops anymore or less than any other vocations but God help us if one in eleven cops are dirty. Btw Devlin does that to my kid.....I would pay whatever it took to have him shanked and skanked daily! I woulld work 3 jobs to make enough money to have him tortured each and every day!

thatsballoogahh
thatsballoogahh

@loki03xlh true. death is the easy way out. let that motherfucker suffer. let him die a child molester in the one place people have zero tolerance for.

Mickey_gurl_08
Mickey_gurl_08

First the inmates are not running the priosn you idiot. Second you say he is just as shitty as Devlin would you be saying that if one of those boys had been your son?? I am sure that you either have kids or brothers and sisters or something so what do you think is the right punishment for some sorry ass that likes to destroy the lives of inocent childeren. Did those boys ask for him to do the shit to them that he did no they didnt the one boy was taken from his family he lost years of his life and now has to live every day of his life with the memories of what he had to go through. What would you be saying right now if it had been your child that this freak did this to would Troy still be as shitty as Deviln hell no he would your damn hero you no why cause he did something you wished you could but couldnt.. This sick jerk got what he deserved. And he actually deserves far worse. He should be thankful to be still breathing.

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