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«ABSTRACT THE SOCIAL INJUSTICE OF PRISON RAPE: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS By Francy Lynn Jenko August 2010 The purpose of this review is to gain a better ...»

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Further, Eigenberg (2000) suggested that early literature focusing primarily on situational homosexuality blurred the distinction between rape and consensual sex, thereby allowing perpetrators to divert stigmatization to their victims. Eigenberg (2000) also explained how blame is shifted from the rapist to the rape victim by emphasizing negative characteristics of the victim to legitimize their suffering.

Bowker (1980) indicated that sexual deprivation is the least important causal factor in the frequency of rape in prison and that masturbation and consensual sex are available to all who desire them. He suggested that all homosexual behavior in prison is not violent and that many couples that engage in consensual relationships express their sexuality in more gentle ways. Additionally, Bowker explained how some inmates prostitute in prison, selling sexual services to gain goods. Therefore, Bowker concluded that the lack of sexual outlets was not a significant factor leading to prison rape.

Mariner (2001) also determined that sexual deprivation is not an important aspect contributing to prison sexual violence. Further, Eigenberg (2000) and Hensley et al.

(2000) questioned whether early research was based on the attitudes of inmates or those of researchers. Overall, modern research has suggested that prison sexual victimization is more complex than conventionally thought (Rideau & Sinclair, 1984).

Consensual Sex and Protective Pairing Wooden and Parker (1982) conducted one of the most thorough studies on consensual sex in a California male correctional facility. They found that more than 65% of a random sample of 200 inmates had engaged in consensual sex while incarcerated.

Nacci and Kane (1983) also conducted a study on consensual sex in 17 federal institutions and found close to 30% of the 330 inmate participants had engaged in a homosexual experience at some point during their incarceration and 12% reported engaging in a homosexual act in their current institution. Tewksbury (1989) found that more than 19% of the 150 inmates studied in Ohio had engaged in homosexual behavior.

Saum et al. (1995) concluded that only 2% of the 101 inmates sampled reported having homosexual sex while incarcerated. Thus, research determined that 2% to 65% of male inmates engage in consensual sex while incarcerated.

Ward and Kassebaum (1965) studied consensual sexual relationships in female institutions. They found that more than 50% of the women surveyed had engaged in at least one homosexual activity while incarcerated. Giallombardo (1966) studied a women's reformatory in West Virginia and estimated that 86%) of the inmates studied had engaged in a homosexual act during incarceration. Propper (1976) gathered data from 396 female inmates in seven institutions and found that 14% of the inmates reported being in a relationship with or being married to another woman, 10% reported having had kissed another woman, and 7% reported having had sex beyond hugging and kissing another woman. It appears that 7% to 86%) of female inmates engage in some form of homosexual behavior, ranging from kissing to consensual sex.

Although consensual sex does occur in confinement, it should be established that protective relationships in the prison culture constitute an uncertain subject in the study of sexual violence in prison (Pinkerton et al., 2007). Pinkerton et al. (2007) suggested that what appears to be consensual behavior in prison is, in reality, coercive. Inmates are choosing to exchange sex to be protected against other predators. From this perspective, it becomes apparent why inmates would submit, when forced, to engage in sexual acts with one perpetrator rather than numerous perpetrators or endure more pervasive and violent rapes. Therefore, consensual sex and protective pairing should be examined with scrutiny before determining that they indeed are not coerced acts of rape.

Comparing Sex Roles in Prison and Traditional American Society Bowker (1980) suggested that rigid sexist conceptions of male and female roles contribute to prison rape. He further explained that men, specifically those from lower economic status backgrounds, define masculinity in terms of domination. These men likely affirmed their masculinity with women outside of prison through force.

Additionally, such men choose physically weaker men in prison to victimize because they can more easily subdue these men and because they can participate in homosexual behavior without having to identify as homosexual. According to Bowker, victims are often considered feminine and are even called girls by other inmates. This type of redefining gender roles allows the rapists to maintain their masculine roles while preserving their heterosexuality (Bowker, 1980).

Prison Hierarchy and Sex Roles The world of incarceration is a subculture with its own language, hierarchy, and stratification. Castle et al. (2002) explained how inmates have little control over their daily lives and how they are separated from society. However, inmates can exercise social control in their environment, the prison subculture (Castle et al., 2002). The prison subculture carries its own specific values and argot roles. This allows inmates to gain power and status in the prison setting and also forces inmates to adhere to the prison lifestyle. If prisoners do not follow the prison code they face danger. They can be physically and sexually assaulted by other inmates and even be killed as a result of rejecting prison norms (Castle et al., 2002).





Sexual roles assigned to inmates define their position in the prison hierarchy. The treatment of inmates by other inmates, as well as by staff, is often based on these sexual roles or labels. The argot roles also place certain inmates at a heightened risk for sexual assault (Castle et al., 2002). In addition, the roles help inmates who perpetrate abuse escape the stigma of being labeled homosexual. Therefore, men who sexually assault other men in prison are viewed as masculine and heterosexual. Further, victims of abuse are looked at as "made" homosexuals, cowardly, or effeminate (Castle et al., 2002).

Although both rape perpetrators and survivors are considered situational homosexuals, the perpetrators are considered the "real" men and the survivors the "sissy" men.

Therefore, inmates who play a part in homosexual behavior are labeled based on the sex role they play (Castle et al., 2002).

Traditionally, the three sexual roles given to inmates include the "punks," "fags," and "jockers." Castle et al. (2002) described the prison hierarchy to be the "punks," or men who are heterosexual and victimized, as the lowest ranking inmates. Next the "fags," or those who are homosexual, but are sexually victimized in prison, are the second rank of inmates. The "jockers," or the inmates that rape other inmates, are at the top of the prison sexual hierarchy. The "jockers" or "wolves" reinforce their status through victimization (Castle et al., 2002).

Castle et al. (2002) also described the argot roles assumed by female inmates.

Like male inmates, female inmates were found to display characteristics of the opposite sex. Female inmates who assumed the masculine role in prison typically held more power than women who played the feminine role. However, most of the research conducted on female homosexual relationships in prison settings found female inmates to be emotionally attached to one another and to play the role of a family.

Castle et al. (2002) pointed out that the prison subculture has changed somewhat regarding the different power levels associated with each argot role. For male inmates, social status seems to be based on the amount of control an inmate has in the sexual relationship and the amount of harm he poses. The "punks" are still at the lowest level, but the "fags" are gaining status in the prison hierarchy as they are now gaining a reputation for being aggressive. Female inmate sexual argot roles are also changing.

According to Greer (2000), women are now gaining status based on economic manipulation in their sexual relationships. Greer also suggested that the previous argot roles held by female inmates are almost non-existent.

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Bowker (1980) and Lockwood (1980) concluded that violence is a germane aspect of sexual assaults in prison settings. They suggested that there are two reasons for inmates to behave violently. They are categorized as instrumental and expressive.

Instrumental violence transpires in order to obtain desired results and expressive violence is used to intimidate and overpower others (Kunselman et al., 2002). English and Heil (2005) and Ross and Richards (2002) concluded that prison sexual violence is about power, politics, and business.

Tewksbury and West (2000) discussed the relationship of violence and sex in prison. They suggested that forced sex is a known feature of the prison sub-culture and concluded that many inmates display a high fear of sexual assault while incarcerated.

Scacco (1975) indicated that inmates live in constant terror of being sexually assaulted.

According to Chonco (1989), inmate sexual abuse is typically a result of the perpetrator's effort to gain status, for revenge, to dominate other inmates, and to release anger.

Additionally, Wooden and Parker (1982) discussed how competition is created between inmates when they claim possession of other inmates as sexual objects and how this leads to violence.

Bowker (1980) described rape as having a minimal sexual component and compared prison rape to heterosexual rape outside of prison. He further highlighted how prison rapes are about dominance and typically are extremely sadistic and brutal in nature. Prichard (2000) found that the prison culture causes inmates to attempt to reinforce their self-worth through rape. Further, Prichard indicated that prison life diminishes an inmate's sense of self, personal worth, and control. Since inmates cannot access appropriate means to exert power, inmates channel their energy and frustration into gaining power within the prison system (Mariner, 2001; Prichard, 2000; Rideau & Sinclair; 1984). They obtain power by controlling other inmates through sexual violence (Rideau & Sinclair, 1984).

–  –  –

Burt (1980) studied rape myths and indicated that they stem from stereotypes and false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists. She concluded that such prejudices contribute to a hostile environment where rape is tolerated. Furthermore, social reactions to victims are affected by rape myths, which deny or reduce injury while blaming the victim for their victimization. According to Burt, the acceptance of rape myths influences the extensiveness or narrowness of rape definitions.

Burt (1980) reported that American culture is rape-supportive and that many Americans believe rape myths. Also, she stated that sex-role stereotyping contributes to the tolerance of rape. Along with the need for changing societal values, Burt suggested that understanding attitudes regarding rape is necessary in order to make change efforts more effective. Additionally, Burt indicated that sexual abuse is an extension of a dominant-submissive, competitive, sex-role stereotyped culture. It may be reasonable to presuppose that these same attitudes play a role in the prevalence of and response to prison rape.

–  –  –

Legislation Affecting Inmate Abuse Before the passing of PREA, limited documentation was available on what state prison systems were doing in regards to dealing with the issue of prison rape (Zweig & Blackmore, 2008). During the late 1990s, Human Rights Watch requested such documentation from state prisons and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. They discovered that most state prisons did not have a rape prevention program in place and that only six departments reported that they offered training to correctional officers in recognizing and responding to prison rape (Zweig & Blackmore, 2008). Since the passing of PREA many states have been motivated to develop or refine such prevention strategies. Prior to PREA, several noteworthy amendments, acts, and cases were brought forth and played a significant role leading up to the passage of PREA.

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act Legally, it was not until the 1980s that policies were employed to identify the poor conditions of incarceration. The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 was enacted to bring attention to the problem of cruelty in institutional settings (Barczyk & Davis, 2009). This Act aimed at investigating and litigating abusive conditions of confinement in federal, state, and local facilities. The legislation authorized the Attorney General to investigate and intervene against state or local governments and their employees when institutionalized persons were being deprived of their rights (Barczyk & Davis, 2009).

Farmer v. Brennan In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that rape in detention constitutes a violation of an individual's basic right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment {Farmer v. Brennan, 1994). Dee Farmer, a transsexual inmate, exhibited female characteristics due to hormones he took prior to and while in prison. After being released from segregation into the general population following discipline problems, he was beaten and raped. He declared that the guards showed deliberate indifference by placing him in the general population.

Upon hearing the case, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that prison officials have a duty to protect inmates' rights under the "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" clause of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This includes protecting inmates from violence imposed by other prisoners. The ruling affirmed that prison rape is not part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society and that correctional officers are to be held both responsible and accountable for upholding prisoner rights and protecting them from maltreatment {Farmer v. Brennan, 1994).



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