Prison Rape is no secret in today’s society. The American media has portrayed prison rape as a joke (Don’t drop the soap) in countless films, television shows, and in music, but have not realized the extent of how dangerous this crime is. Some cops even use this method as a means to get a confession from a suspect. A major obstacle in solving Prison rape is the notorious under-reporting of the crime. Only 16 percent of prison rape victims report their victimization. Reasons for under reporting are fear of consequences, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and refuse to relive painful details. This paper explores prison rape and its psychological and physical harm to not only inmates, but to society as well. It also discusses recent efforts to put a stop to prison rape, such as the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 and The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC) as well as organizations such as Just Detention International (JDI).
Prison Rape is known as sexual intercourse through use of force, intimidation, and threats within prisons. Overcrowding and insufficient staffing are key contributors to prison rape. Most targets of prison sexual assault are young, small, non-violent, first-time offenders. A study of four mid-western states found that 1 in 5 inmates experience some form of pressure or coerced sexual contact while incarcerated. In most cases inmates sexually abuse other inmates. There are also less common cases where correction officers abuse inmates. Americans today tend to believe that this is much more prevalent in female prisons, however there is evidence that women are indeed raped by other female inmates as well and it can cause long term injuries. In a study pertaining to three Mid-western female prisons, 27 percent of the inmate population confessed to being sexually coerced. Although it is no secret male correction officers are sexually abusing female inmates, little to nothing has been done to reduce the male officer rate in female facilities. During Human Rights Watch’s examination of five prisons, the organization discovered that lesbian and transgendered inmates were more likely to be sexually assaulted by correctional officers. Officers target these groups because they want to enforce gender stereotypes. According to Calhoun and Coleman, inmates say about 20 percent of prison guards sexually coerce inmates. Inmates raped by correction officers usually do not report the crime because they are frequently disbelieved which only contributes to the problematic relationship between inmates and officers.
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR): •
Rates of HIV are 3 times higher inside prisons then outside of one. •
Female inmates have been impregnated because of staff sexual abuse. •
Male rape survivors become much more violent upon release which may ever conclude in them raping others. •
Many survivors blame themselves,
Experience psychological consequences.
HIV is not the only disease common in prison rape. Rape victims are more susceptible to diseases such as Syphilis and Hepatitis then the outside community. The rate of Hepatitis C among the general population is 1.8%, while 14% of New York’s prison population is infected with the disease. Even more so, 33% of California’s prison population is infected with the disease. It is obvious that the disease mentioned, are all sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The assault, anger, and violence in these attacks make these diseases so much more susceptible because there is blood and other bodily fluids being exchanged. Even inmates performing consensual sex in prison still have a higher rate of these diseases due to they lack of safe sex procedure such as condoms. This can have a major effect society as a whole because once a victim of prison rape is release, they can carry these diseases without even know and spreading it to the general public. I believe if there were educational programs about STDs and STD testing in...
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