If We're Gonna Incarcerate Millions of People, We Should Do More to Stop Prison Rape

Posted in:

 For a nation that leads the world in putting people behind bars, we're doing an absolutely horrible job of looking after the poor folks we keep tossing in there:


The Justice Department reported Thursday that 12 percent of incarcerated juveniles, or more than 3,200 young people, had been raped or sexually abused in the past year by fellow inmates or prison staff, quantifying for the first time a problem that has long troubled lawmakers and human rights advocates. [Washington Post]

So often, "protecting the children" is the knee-jerk justification for all sorts of draconian criminal justice policies. Yet, the youth who need the most help are routinely being sexually assaulted by the people who're supposed to be rehabilitating them.

The shameful – though not at all surprising – explanation for this seems to be that we just can't afford to do a better job than this:

Four former commissioners on a blue-ribbon prison rape panel that spent years studying the issue say they fear that authorities are deferring to concerns by corrections officials that reforms would cost too much, while not focusing enough on prison safety and the effects of abuse on inmates.  

We can afford to put them in prison, but we just can't afford to take very good care of them. That is literally what's happening here, and it illustrates perfectly what an unfathomable travesty our criminal justice system has become. Yet, lawmakers continue to cower before the mighty prison lobbies that fight tirelessly to build more and more prisons that are less and less safe.

It's amazing that drug policy and criminal justice reform could be considered even remotely controversial while our correctional institutions remain plagued by endemic patterns of violence and sexual abuse. This would be intolerable even if everyone ever sentenced to prison in America actually deserved to be there (imagine that).

It's not enough to just wish it wasn't like this. The bottom line is that anyone who lobbies for aggressive police tactics and harsh laws bears responsibility for the abuse and indignation that innocent (and guilty, though undeserving) people will inevitably suffer within our brutal prison system. If you understand what happens in there, then you have a moral obligation to consider that reality when forming and expressing opinions about who truly belongs behind those bars.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

juvie

I spent some time in chelteham boys village in md when I was young. There were 20 yr olds with 13 yr olds and rapes ocurred regularly. The staff were well aware. I never understood why they let it go on, was it some twisted deterant for younger weaker boys contemplating crime or did they just not care enough to bother. Most of the victims were mere runaways or petty criminals. The rapists were usually in for violent crimes and destined for a life in prison. Anyone who works in these facilities should go thru some serious training with a psych evaluation because you would have to be crazy or sick to want that job.

We're going to VIOLATE YOUR

We're going to VIOLATE YOUR BODY AND PROPERTY... even if you did not violate anyone else by procuring and using marijuana.

To show you how BAD you were and what a CRIMINAL you were...

We're going to imprison you in a place where we do NOT CARE whether VIOLATIONS OF YOUR BODY AND PROPERTY occur to you inside that place.

Hows THAT for rehabilitation? Hows THAT for justice?

Why are more and more people committing suicide these days so that it is the biggest 'silent' killer of them all now? Why are they losing so much faith in people and in the world around them these days?

Oh well, its back to 'teh stoopid' and repeating the same mistakes again.

It is time we seriously

It is time we seriously examine our laws to see which ones are Constitutional (someone's rights are violated by the action, so the action is Constitutionally criminalized), and which laws are not (no one's unalienable rights are violated by the action which was criminalized). Those who are charged with an unconstitutional crime (engaging in the action, itself, does NOT violate anyone's unalienable rights) are having their unalienable rights violated by the unconstitutional law (and, therefore, by the government).

There should be no laws/statutes (State or federal) allowed in this country where the only person whose rights are violated by said law/statute are the defendant's. Such laws are patently unconstitutional, which makes them Constitutionally null and void -- "no person must obey and no court must enforce" unconstitutional laws.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

moonrider

Right F*ckin' On my friend

How troubling is that post 'Juvie'?

Extremely. What kind of a country is this, anyway?

I suspect the motives were a combination of the suggested ones: just couldn't be bothered, teach the little bastards a lesson, maybe a taste for vicarious sadism. And one other, fear themselves of the predators.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School