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Rape in Correctional Facilities - Research Paper Example

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Rape In Correctional Facilities Abstract Rape or sexual assault behind the bars or in correctional facilities is a major problem in America. These incidents prevent criminals from changing their criminal behaviour and in many cases; they become even worse criminals after the completion of their jail terms…
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Rape In Correctional Facilities Rape or sexual assault behind the bars or in correctional facilities is a major problem in America. These incidents prevent criminals from changing their criminal behaviour and in many cases; they become even worse criminals after the completion of their jail terms. Even though rape or any kind of sexual assault in correctional facilities is prevented by the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), still the cases of sexual offences in correctional facilities are increasing. This paper briefly analyses the rape in correctional facilities and the possible solutions to eliminate sexual assault cases behind the bar. Rape In Correctional Facilities According to the estimates published by the Justice Department in January 2008, “more than 216,600 people were sexually abused in prisons and jails and, in the case of at least 17,100 of them, in juvenile detention. Overall, that’s almost six hundred people a day—twenty-five an hour”(Kaiser & Stannow, 2008). Correction is the major goal which forces criminal justice system to declare imprisonment for criminals. However, many criminals come out from jail with increased criminal behaviour because of the torture they forced to suffer inside the prison. Among different types of tortures prisoners are facing, sexual abuse seems to be the most important one. In many cases, prisoners hide the sexual torture they suffer inside the jail because of their fear of revenge from the torturer and the feeling that nobody will believe or take care of them. Thus the unreported cases of sexual exploitation behind the bar seem to be more than the reported cases of sexual abuses. “Incidents of sexual abuse represent egregious lapses in institutional order and security. They are inhumane and inexcusable violations that scar tens of thousands of adult and juvenile inmates each year, often complicating their ability to reintegrate into society” (Ending Prison Rape, 2011). One of the major myths associated with imprisonment is the belief that sexual assault is part of jail term. In other words, both criminals and the jail officials believe that sexual exploitation of the criminals is a way of punishing the criminals and therefore it cannot be avoided. No criminal laws or jail laws justify sexual assault behind the bars. Even then neither the government nor the jail officials show any concerns about the increased cases of sexual assaults in correctional facilities. “According to federal estimates, 200,000 adult prisoners and jail inmates suffered some form of sexual abuse during 2008. The numbers are even higher in juvenile institutions, with 12% of the total population suffering some form of sexual abuse” (Better Protecting Prisoners, 2011). Juveniles seem to be most vulnerable to sexual abuse if they happen to be in correctional facilities. Teenage is a period in which sex hormones are hyperactive. So, fellow prisoners and the jail officials can easily exploit juveniles for their sexual pleasure. Homosexuality seems to be more among prisoners because of the conditions prevailing in prisons. “In the 1982 book, Male Rape, edited by Dr. Anthony M. Stacco, Jr., American prisons are noted to be places where homosexual activity is common, and sexual violence is rife”(The homosexuality factor in social violence, 1992). The opportunities for male-female sexual activities are less in correctional facilities because of the separate correctional facilities for male and female offenders. Thus the jail inmates forced to adopt homosexuality in order to release their sexual energy. Prisons are places where criminals are forced to stay away from a natural environment. It is difficult for them to adapt with the jail environments easily. Homosexuality seems to be the only option for the prisoners to have fun or relaxation. Thus stronger criminals exploit weaker prisoners for homosexual activities. Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was enforced in 2003 with an intention to eliminate sexual abuse cases in prisons and correctional facilities. PREA calls for the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse; maintains prohibitions on cross-gender pat and strip searches of juveniles; requires a facility to designate an on-site PREA co-ordinator; and calls for background checks of prospective corrections officers to screen for past incidents of inmate abuse (Ending Prison Rape, 2011) The major objective of PREA is to give top priority to sex crime prevention and to ensure zero tolerance to such things in correctional facilities. Moreover, this act helps authorities to develop and implement national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape. Increasing of available data and information on the incidence of prison rape, standardization of data collection methods, increase the accountability of the prison officials in preventing sex related crimes inside the prison, protect the Eighth Amendment prisoners, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of federal expenditures, Reduce the cost that prison rape imposes on interstate commerce etc are some other objectives of PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act Of 2003, 2003) If enforced strictly, PREA can reduce a substantial number of sexual abuse cases in correctional facilities. PREA not only demands, proper behaviour by prisoners and jail official but also stresses the importance of dress codes and appearances of the criminals and the jail officials. Sex abuse cases are happening behind the bars; not because of the lack of laws, but because of the reluctance in implementing it. Lack of communication between the jail officials and the prisoners is the major reason for the increased sexual abuse cases inside the prisons. PREA enhances the two way communication process between the officials and the prisoners. Increased communication will force the prisoners to report cases related to sexual assault and therefore the jail officials can take preventive measures. “Particular emphasis was placed on the safety consequences for staff and youths resulting from a lack of communication in a custodial facility, which can create opportunities for sexual misconduct” (PihI-Buckley, 2008, p.44). To conclude, sexual assault behind the bars is not a myth, but a fact. Strict enforcement of PREA may reduce the rape cases in correctional facilities. References Better Protecting Prisoners (2011). The New York Times (6 April, 2011). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/opinion/07thu2.html?scp=1&sq=Rape%20In%20Correctional%20Facilities&st=cse Ending Prison Rape (2011). Hamilton Spectator, The (ON), Feb 02, 2011. EBSCOhost. Kaiser D & Stannow L (2008). Prison Rape and the Government. Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/24/prison-rape-and-government/ PihI-Buckley H (2008). Tailoring the Rape Elimination Act to A Juvenile Setting. Corrections Today. Date: February 1, 2008. EBSCOhost. Prison Rape Elimination Act Of 2003, (2003). Retrieved from http://www.ojjdp.gov/about/PubLNo108-79.txt The homosexuality factor in social violence, (1992). Retrieved from http://www.youth-suicide.com/gay-bisexual/homosexuality-violence/07-prison-violence.htm Read More
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