I happened upon this article – http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/17/11745732-report-nearly-10-percent-of-inmates-suffer-sexual-abuse?lite and my automatic thought was, “No kidding…”
Now, when you read the article – and it is interesting in that action is being taken at the federal level – but for federal prisoners – you almost can’t help but get the sense that getting sexually abused in prison is – or could be – a given; that some staff could be the source of any such abuse, even minimally, kinda falls into the same deal because, um, where are they going? It’s not like it can be escaped and resistance is futile.
Inmates can report such things… and maybe at the risk of their lives so you also get the sense that “submitting” to it is better than speaking out against it and winding up getting shanked while you’re eating dinner. If you watch the shows about prison life on National Geographic and MSNBC, well, you really do get the sense that if you go to prison – any prison – you’d better literally and figuratively watch your ass.
This sort of thing taking place in federal institutions is nothing new; probably been going on since there’s been federal institutions – but the government didn’t pass a law about it until… wait for it… 2003 – and they’re just now setting and enforcing standards according to the nine year-old law. Like, what took them so long?
Okay, so, really, it’s not as if we don’t know – or can even imagine – what goes on behind the walls of our many prisons. For instance, in one NatGeo show I was watching, the narrator pointed out that when you have this many men in such a confined, overcrowded space and they haven’t seen a woman in a while, such behavior is to be expected; I recently – like three days ago – watched a show where two homosexuals in this prison had different lives. One was looking to be segregated because he was in afraid of being killed in prison – a new cellmate he was supposed to get lost his ever-loving mind and refused to share a cell with “that gay motherfucker!”
The guards hauled him off in cuffs and leg irons because the dude was highly pissed the fuck off.
The other gay guy was just the opposite; he wasn’t prey – he was the predator and even he allowed that a lot of the dudes in the place who said they’d rather die than to have sex with a man was getting with him to be serviced…
So that there would be guys in prison who just wanna do their time and get out (if they’re ever getting out) and not be bothered with and by any prison sex doesn’t surprise me; that some of them wind up being victimized doesn’t surprise me, either. Indeed, I’m sure that anyone who has spent time in prison will tell you that ya gotta do what you gotta do in order to survive and, yeah, if you act like prey, you will get fucked.
Is it surprising that a prison staff member would coerce sex from an inmate in exchange for “protection” from the more violent inmates? Not really and ratting out a guard for such behavior might not be the safest thing you could do… because you never know when said guard might look the other way when someone’s in the process of raping you or otherwise sexually abusing you. The “new” guidelines are supposed to include disciplinary actions for staff and inmate perpetrators and I don’t doubt this… except, it’s only illegal if you get caught, right?
In this, I wonder who’s gonna be watching the watchers? It’s bad enough that inmates outnumber the staff like 10:1 or more; even with high tech surveillance equipment, they can’t watch everyone at every time and in every place – and inmates are notorious for their creativity and cunning, things that get developed because, duh, they’ve got nothing but time on their hands.
I think it’s good that this is being addressed and it’s something that should reach all the way down to the state levels as well; what I wonder is how well will this new stuff be enforced? Sex in prison is illegal; yet, not only does it still happen but some places go as far as to provide condoms… so male prisoners can do what they’re not supposed to be doing, the thought here – and it’s a good one – to keep down the spreading incidents of HIV/AIDS and other STDs that are almost at epidemic proportions in our jails and prisons.
So if federal prisons haven’t been able to eliminate this behavior in their facilities before, what makes them think anything’s gonna change? Why hasn’t the Department of Justice, who is probably aware of these things in our state prisons, make broad changes all up and down the line because, duh, this shit just doesn’t happen only in federal institutions, does it? It’s a problem everywhere and in every facility so, yeah, the DoJ should be telling the states to get with the program or get your federal funding severely impacted.
Maybe it’ll do some good… maybe it won’t… but they won’t know unless they try it.