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Inmate's Abuse in Prison

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It is dreadful enough to get raped, but having to see your perpetrator every day and possibly raping you again is a constant fear that many inmates have to encounter. According to the Bureau of Justice (BJS), in 2008 correctional administrators reported 7,444 allegations of sexual abuse in prisons. About 46 % of the sexual abuse involved staff with inmates. But these statistics do not include the many cases that go unreported due to victim’s fear of being punished by their perpetrators and/ or to embarrassment and humiliation that comes with rape. Although prison rape is prevalent, many individuals find it normal and even find it a laughing matter. Prison rape is abnormal and has huge consequences if not dealt with. Some of the consequences of prison rape are that it creates hierarchy between the weaker and the stronger, prisoners may leave prison worse-off and make more damage than they did before they went to jail, and women are at risk of pregnancy.

Even though statistics are misleading due to the unreported rapes, a professor from the University of South Dakota, Cindy Struckman Johnson, found that 20 % of inmates in men’s prisons were victims of some sort of sexual harassment and at least 7 % are raped. That is 12,000 rapes per year “which exceeds the annual number of reported rapes in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York combined” (Daniel Brook). The lack of reported rape cases is due to guard’s “deliberate indifference” (Brook) and the humiliation that comes with rape. “For males, it’s the ultimate humiliation and that silences most of us” said Tom Cahill, who was raped in a San Antonio jail. Rape cases in prison are brought to corrections officials to handle instead of local district attorneys. Therefore, when inmates pres...

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Works Cited

Daniel Brook, "The Problem of Prison Rape," Legal Affairs, March/April 2004. Reproduced by permission. www.legalaffairs.org.

Jeff Seidel, "Sexual Assaults on Female Inmates Went Unheeded," Detroit Free Press, January 4, 2009. Copyright © 2009 Detroit Free Press Inc. Reproduced by permission of the Detroit Free Press.

Nicole Summer, "Powerless in Prison: Sexual Abuse Against Incarcerated Women," RH Reality Check, December 11, 2007. Reproduced by permission. This article was originally published at RH Reality Check, www.rhrealitycheck.org, an online daily publication covering global reproductive and sexual health and rights.

Flanagan, Maureen A., and Maryann Gialanella Valiulis. "Gender and the city: the awful being of invisibility." Frontiers - A Journal of Women's Studies 32.1 (2011): xiii+. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.
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