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#85066 - 11/08/02 10:07 PM Prison Rape
naph Offline

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 1
"Rape, How Funny Is It?"
Los Angeles Times (11.03.02)::Fred Dickey
Prison rape may be an acceptable topic of humor on talk
radio and elsewhere, but James E. Robertson, a professor of
corrections at Minnesota State University-Mankato, who has
studied the problem for 15 years, considers it "is the most
tolerated act of terrorism in the US." The FBI says that 89,107
women reported rapes in the United States in 1999. Prison
experts, however, say that at least twice that number of men are
raped each year in prison.
Neither the federal government nor the state of California
keeps statistics on prison rape. Sexual abuse in prison is
"massively underreported," said Terry Kupers of Oakland, a
psychiatrist who has written and edited books on prison
conditions. Kupers believes that more than one-third of all
incoming inmates in US jails and prisons are either sexually
assaulted or are in imminent danger of attack.
The state of California knows that violent sexual assaults
are common, but refuses to take meaningful steps to prevent them,
said a high-ranking official with the Department of Corrections
who asked to remain anonymous. Some in the department see rape as
a cancer that corrections does not fight aggressively because
acknowledging its extent would make the department look bad and
make the state more vulnerable to lawsuits, the official said. It
would also remove a tool that many prison guards use to control
prisoners, Robertson said: "There's an implicit quid pro quo
between some officers and gangs, as well as the more aggressive
inmates: You keep the lid on and we'll leave you alone."
The public also has reason to fear. When they are released,
many prison rape victims are carrying STDs and HIV. Prison
officials are aware that the combination of sexual assault and
the rapid rise of these diseases creates a lethal mix in prisons,
but many choose to ignore the problem, said Robert Dumond, a
former mental health director with the Massachusetts penal
system. Virtually no data have been collected nationally on
infections arising from prison sexual assault, he said.
Citing budget woes, the California Department of Corrections
does not, as a rule, administer blood tests to new inmates and so
does not know how many inmates have undetected HIV/AIDS or
hepatitis. An earlier state study, however, indicated that about
one-third of all new convicts have either hepatitis B or C. The
corrections department says it does know that 20,434 inmates have
hepatitis B or C; 742 have HIV; and another 582 have AIDS, up
from 157 in 1999. All of these sick inmates are housed in the
general population.
Recommendations for stopping rape include isolating
perpetrators and allowing conjugal visits, which are now banned
for California inmates serving life sentences. Congress is
considering action in the form of the Prison Rape Reduction Act,
which has strong bipartisan support. Whether President Bush will
sign it into law or not is still an open question. The bill,
which applies to both state and federal prisons, requires the
Justice Department to create a clearinghouse for statistics on
prison rape nationwide, ties federal funding for prisons to
levels of rape occurrences, provides a hotline for victims, and
creates a training program for corrections officials.

#85067 - 11/09/02 12:32 AM Re: Prison Rape
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...

Hi nice to meet you! Thanks for posting this important piece on a very neglected dark side of our society that is suppressed back into the shadows.

Our U. S. legal system looks pretty good if you look around the world at places like Afghanistan or China for example.

Still, the phrase "criminal justice" is in danger of becoming a national oxymoron. With a frequency unfit for a free nation like ours, we find that "criminals" and "justice" just don't connect.

Often this means criminals inadequately punished with short sentences and speedy paroles, or even rewarded as they write books and make profits while victims struggle to pay for the damages caused by these crimiinals. That side of justice for criminals, or the lack thereof, we are well aware of, at least I am. We are rightly disgusted when this kind of thing happens.

The flip side of our "oncoming oxymoron" is criminals underprotected or receiving "cruel and unusual punishment," even of the kind highlighted in this article, with the knowledge and even encouragement of those responsible for protecting them. We may be less inclined to know or to care about such "criminal injustice." After all they are criminals, they asked for it, they're getting what they deserve, right?

A male survivor of sexual abuse like me, who was raped by two men when he was ten, can't help but to detest this kind of neglectful or uncaring attitude. Not in spite of the fact that I think criminals often receive insufficient measures of justice. But because that's what I think.

Justice by definition is consistent and equitable in its application and its enforcement.

Criminals, no matter what they've done, are still human beings of unique sacred worth, made in the image of God.

In this instance, true criminal justice would require, as it always must, protecting and healing of the victims, and prosecution and punishment of the criminals.

Even if the victims are criminals, and the criminals are members of the "criminal justice" system as well as other criminals.

Or shall "criminal justice" become an utter oxymoron in this free country?


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

#85068 - 11/09/02 12:50 AM Re: Prison Rape
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I would dearly like to see my abusers behind bars, in a strict regime with no parole.
But I wouldn't wish rape on anyone - even them.

And from what I read in our newspapers the situation in the UK is just as bad.
A system guaranteed to make the minor offender bitter and twisted.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau


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