WASHINGTON - States receiving federal money for prisons could see their funding cut if they fail to adopt new measures to reduce sexual violence in correctional and detention facilities nationwide, according to a report released Tuesday.The work of this commission is important, but even the best analysis cannot reduce violence if that analysis isn't applied systematically. With the cuts being made in other areas by states with budget shortfalls it would be easy to drop existing violence reducing efforts before this compliance rule kicks in if those programs are seen as optional.
The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission issued an extensive report, five years in making, that found that more than 60,000 inmates are sexually abused every year.
Based on a 2007 survey of tens of thousands of incarcerated people, 4.5 percent of those surveyed reported being sexually abused in the previous 12 months — and more prisoners claimed abuse by staff than by other inmates.
It's important for those who want to prevent prison rape to acknowledge that prison rape goes far beyond the easy stereotypes and tasteless jokes. Prison rape doesn't just happen to men in prison and it isn't only committed by other prisoners.
And it is important for those who have no sympathy for those who are raped while incarcerated to realize that disregard for certain rape victims by those assigned to uphold the law sends a dangerous message to inmates who are least likely to be victims of prison rape.
Convicted rapists, whether victimized personally or not, might view prison rape as proof that they are no worse than anybody else and the only difference is they got caught.