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Home > corrections 101 > Day 10: Prison Abuse

Day 10: Prison Abuse

July 20th, 2009

In Kathryn Jean Lopez’s article for nationalreview.com, she talks about the one hundred and sixteen prisoners who are abused each day. Believe it or not, more prisoners report being abused by the staff at the facility rather then fellow inmates. I would have thought it would be the other way around but according to Pat Nolan, vice chairman of Prison Fellowship, and a source in the article, that is just not the case.

Prison rape happens more often than I imagined. Since people assume that prisons and jails are a “safe” place to hold incarcerated criminals, the taboo of rape is never really brought up. However in my further research, I have discovered that experts are calling prison abuse by staff an abuse of authority. Also, when I think of prison, as stereotypical as this sounds, I imagine a group of men behind bars. However when I stop to really think about it, obviously that is not the case and prisons can hold women and children too. So, part of that 116 people who are raped on a daily basis in prisons are not just limited to men but also women, and juveniles as well.

The article goes on to make a point that because the justice system overlooks these incidents, and inmates do not want to subject their dignity to admitting they were raped, these events often go unnoticed. Once this happens, and if the inmates are released from prison, they go back into society with regretful and angry thoughts, and act as anyone would after being raped. This may cause them to end up right back where they were. While the corrections community is striving for rehabilitation of these criminals and looking to prepare them to go back into the world, those that abuse these inmates are completely erasing what the professional psychologists and educators have done for them.

The prison-rape law of 2003 investigates “the prevention, detection, response and monitoring of sexual abuse in correction and detention facilities in the United States.” This law introduced a new way of dealing with the issue of prison rape and was the foundation to new revisions made since then. The article describes that experts believe that change can only be made from the “ground up.” They encourage readers to make sure that local venues such as churches and local correctional facilities are aware that this is going on.

I am not extremely familiar with this topic, as I said before. Does anyone have a story about what they have done to stop inmate abuse? Or does anyone want to share a story they’ve heard concerning the issue? I look forward to any feedback you might have to offer.

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cdonovan corrections 101 , ,

  1. July 23rd, 2009 at 14:48 | #1

    Caitlin, your observations are very interesting. You chose an interesting field for your internship. You mentioned me in your article about abuse in prisons. I lead Prison Fellowship’s crimihal justice reform are, Justice Fellowship. We work with government officials to improve the criminal justice system. I think you will find our website very helpful to you in researching the many issues that confront corrections today http://www.justicefellowship.org I wish you all the best in your work.

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