April 18, 2007

CATHY YOUNG ON PRISON RAPE:

Shortly after the Enron scandal broke in 2001, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer declared that he would love to personally escort the company’s CEO “to an eight-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, ‘Hi, my name is Spike, honey.’ ” The negative reaction compelled Lockyer to offer a tepid apology in a letter to the Los Angeles Times, explaining that he had gotten carried away in righteous anger and pointing to the initiatives he had undertaken to curb prison rape.

The unusual thing about this incident was not that Lockyer made a crude joke about prison rape. It’s that he caught flak for it. While jokes about male-on-female rape are widely viewed as taboo in this feminist age, male-on-male rape in prison is a perfectly acceptable and common subject of humor on late-night comedy shows, in movies, and even in TV commercials. . . .

At present, it is very difficult—virtually impossible in some states—for inmates who have been raped to collect damages from the prison system. Guards who neglect or even condone inmate-on-inmate assaults run virtually no risk of punishment. Other serious measures to combat prison rape would include both “conservative” solutions (stricter prisoner supervision) and “liberal” ones (less overcrowding).

Even lower-end estimates given by correctional organizations suggest that 20,000 to 40,000 inmates are sexually assaulted in American prisons every year. Those are figures no civilized society should accept.

Read the whole thing. More on this subject here and in the linked posts.

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