the shot

Branding Prison Rape As an Epidemic

THE SHOT — The new promotional campaign from Just Detention International, the human rights group fighting to end sexual abuse in incarceration, whose cause was just backed by a new federal study released this month that found “3 out of every 25 youths in state and privately run juvenile correctional facilities have experienced at least one incident of sexual victimization.”

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  • Fitz

    Does 3 out of 25 differ at all from the general population? Shotty.

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    1 in 3 Gay Youth experience Violence, including Rape. Why is that not important?

  • Jaroslaw

    I’d be surprised if was as low as 3/25. I certainly have seen newscasts where some prison’s treat their inmates rather nicely, and another show where frivolous lawsuits filed by in mates nationwide take up 20-35% of the civil docket (i.e. crunchy vs. smooth peanut butter). Really. So I can see why sympathy for the incarcerated may not be very high.

    BUT no one should be sexually abused, no matter what.

    Glad to see something is being done, finally.

  • Cam

    I wonder also if the numbers are a little low because I’ve heard that many men in prison won’t report the rapes for fear of more retaliation or that guards etc… won’t take the rape reports because it looks bad for the prisons statistics etc…

  • Fitz

    @Cam: Adult and youth prisons are very different. I have done a little work in JJ, but a lot in adult. rape isn’t as big an issue anymore… hasn’t been. Hideous levels of violence? You bet. But it’s not as sexualized as it used to be. For adults.

  • Jaroslaw

    #5 Fitz – not doubting you, just curious why prison rape is not as big a deal as it used to be?

  • Tallskin

    Are these stats on rape broken down by race?

    which race is raping which race in prison?

  • 1EqualityUSA

    They should be safe from violent sexual attacks. It’s deplorable that a country as innovative as ours still has this happening. My dream prison would be this. Everybody gets their own cell with basic amenities. The prisoners would be let out at 6:00 am to work for eight hours. The work would be compensated with the equivalent of those bluechip stamps from the 60’s. With those stamps, they could buy light after 7:00pm, access to classes or gymnasiums, Thai food on the weekend or whatever they want, fines for bad behavior, resulting in stamps reduced significantly, the ability to have limited access to computers, television, sports channels, art supplies, etcetera. The prison system costs could be offset by the forty hour work weeks of the prisoners. The prisoners would see the correlation between working hard and getting extras. The ones that refused to work would get basic amenities and lights out at 7:00 pm with no amenities. Sexual violence would come down if they were busy making a living behind bars. What do you all think of this?

  • Fitz

    @Jaroslaw: I honestly don’t have an empirical answer for you, just my instinct based upon my work: At the larger state and some of the fed prisons, there are homo-wards, and (frankly) there is plenty of ass to go around. The violence is very very very serious, and people get killed in prison all the time, but I don’t think that rape happens very much anymore.

  • B

    No. 6 · Jaroslaw wrote, “#5 Fitz – not doubting you, just curious why prison rape is not as big a deal as it used to be?”

    Something to consider is the effect of the “three strikes” law in California (and any similar legislation elsewhere). Over time, that increases the mean age of the prison population, and there is on the average less sexual activity as people get older. Also fewer sexually attractive potential victims as a fraction of the total inmate population.

    You might want to see how much of a decrease can be explained by an increase in mean age.

  • Jaroslaw

    #10 B I hadn’t thought of the age increasing as a factor, but it might just be that men overall are developing a little bit? I mean 100 years ago, woman was property, couldn’t vote, couldn’t own anything, if (God forbid) a divorce took place, the man kept the children, woman’s feelings weren’t considered at all. No such thing as marital rape in the “good ole days” either. Just a thought.

  • alan brickman

    do don’t crime..if you can’t do the slime…just sayin…

  • MaxH

    It’s disgusting that people aren’t bothered by this, or just treat prison rape as a fact of life if you go to jail.

    It isn’t. It’s further penalty than the one given by the state, and it’s unfair.

  • Adam

    @alan brickman: How does that logic hold up for those who are wrongly convicted?

  • schlukitz

    No. 8 · 1EqualityUSA

    What do you all think of this?

    Idle fingers are the devil’s play toy.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Dear B, In post #10 you wrote, ” Over time, that increases the mean age of the prison population, and there is on the average less sexual activity as people get older. Also fewer sexually attractive potential victims as a fraction of the total inmate population” Rape is violence, an act of power over others. “Attractive” doesn’t really figure into rape. Even elderly people are victims of violent sexual crime.

    #15 Schlukitz, “Idle fingers are the devil’s play toy.” After their eight hour work day, classes at night, straight “A”s would earn for stamps. Computer classes would always be available for basic reading and math, via panel behind the wall. For those refusing to work, lights out at 7:00 pm, except for a tiny beam of light for reading books in bed. This is my dream prison, paid for by the prisoners themselves, They could learn trades, or attend online prison college. Limited access, of course, to the outside populations.

  • schlukitz

    No. 16 · 1EqualityUSA

    It certainly sounds like a sensible idea to me.

    But then, we don’t always live in a sensible world, unfortunately, as I am sure that you yourself have observed from time to time. :(

  • 1EqualityUSA

    It has all to do with outcomes. Some minds are too damaged to pull out of crime. The outcome would be better if prisoners were responsible for their own living standards, much like in the real world. It would become a habit and a way of life that possibly might translate in the real world once freed. One can hope.

  • markuk

    does anyone know which prison has the highest incidences of sexual victimization, and what crime would one have to commit in that state in order to be given a sentence of, oh let’s say about a fortnight???

  • 1EqualityUSA

    markuk, are you from this century?

  • schlukitz

    Equality, I have always felt that taking responsibility for one’s life, is the only sane and sensible manner in which to become a contributing member of society.

    Removing that responsibility, as prisons now do, only makes the person incarcerated dependent upon society.

    I like our stamp analogy. After all, a greyhound dog will not not run at a race track unless there is a rabbit to chase.

    Why should humans be any different?

  • schlukitz

    Typo. Our should be your.

  • schlukitz

    Someone’s sexual fantasies are showing. ;P

  • 1EqualityUSA

    The ultimate reward would be one room, studio apartments, within the prison walls, earned through great behavior, good grades, and a ton of bluechip stamps.

  • schlukitz

    No. 24 · 1EqualityUSA

    Not to disagree with what you’ve in any way, I was an avid saver of S&H Green Stamps back in the 50s while my then hubby and I were still setting up housekeeping.

    All I have to show for my efforts (and that relationship), is an incomplete, chipped and somewhat busted-up set of Currier and Ives dinnerware ;P

    Of course, we haven’t factored-in inflation. lol

  • schlukitz

    Gee. Now I am beginning to sound like Letterman; drooping words in my sentence structure here and there. lol

    Correction in my first paragraph (and better sentence construction to boot)…

    “Not to disagree in any way, with what you’ve been saying…”

  • Fitz

    You have to really let go of the idea of prisons as rehabilitation. Or you have to let go of the ideas of prisons as punishment. The two concepts don’t work together. Right now, the boredom and lack of opportunity is part of the punishment.

    A token economy system within the prison already partially exists (access to the canteen, for example, has to be earned). But it’s all phony when the corrupt guards and the gang leaders are really the ones in charge.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Dear Fitz, If they are lifers with no remorse and no inclination to improve themselves, then regular, uninspired prisons could be on the other end of the reward spectrum. It’s the choice of the individual what kind of life they will have. To lump every bad guy into a system where violence, intimidation, humiliation, fear, and rape occur daily, will not produce worthy people. It’s all about the outcome. It would be less expensive for society, overall, if they were taught a trade and a standard of conduct that relates to the real world when freedom is finally earned. It is also more humanizing. The punishment is the loss of freedom, not fearing for one’s life on a daily basis and forming unholy alliances in order to survive.

  • schlukitz

    The punishment is the loss of freedom, not fearing for one’s life on a daily basis and forming unholy alliances in order to survive.

    Very well stated, 1EqualityUSA

    The thrust and the end result of incarceration should be rehabilitation, not reinforcement of criminal-like behavior, which got them behind bars in the first place.

    Producing hardened criminals, as a result of the penal system we currently have, is a waste of taxpayers monies and makes no contribution to society.

  • Kurt

    Rape me
    Rape me, my friend
    Rape me
    Rape me again

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