Women incarcerated in United States prisons are among the least empathized and most vulnerable victims of sexual assault. The majority of sexual assault cases inflicted on women in prison are never brought to light due to the fear of the victims’s af ety, the view that the jailors will not be held accountable for the crime, the lack of appropriate criminal penalties for the abuser, and the simple fact that few care and few know. A recent survey of incarcerated women found that nearly one fifth of the women incarcerated in the United States have experienced forced sexual contact, yet this statistic has failed to spark a national awareness, let alone a national investigation (Rhode A 25).
The United States owns the distinction of incarcerating the largest recorded number of prisoners in the world, of which the number of women has increased four hundred percent since 1980, according to the Amnesty International website (1-2).
Twelve states have no law protecting women from sexual abuse while incarcerated (Thomas 1).
One reason for these cases of sexual abuse not being discovered is that many prison employees hold the belief that they will not be held accountable for their actions. This is most likely a result of the freedom given to jailors, the same freedom that is often abused. The Amnesty International website makes known the fact that male prison guards are allowed by law to conduct strip and pat searches, to watch women shower and to monitor female inmates through video. This grants jailors, to some degree, legal access to the personal privacy of these women (web).
The individual who has been chosen for this paper is Leroy “Nicky” Barnes who is an African American who became a legend in the history of organized crime. Born in October 15 1993, he is a former crime boss and even drug dealer who was the leader of the crime organization that was notoriously known as The Council, which mainly comprised of African – Americans (Roberts, 6). He was even nicknamed ...
Of these regulations, Laura White horn, a federal inmate for fourteen years states, “It reduces you to an object, not worthy of being defended. The message is, ‘your body is meaningless, why don’t you want this man to put his hands all over you?’ Very, very deeply damaging” (Day 44).
Her statement proves that these “rights” given jailors shines light on the true answer to the question of whether or not male keepers are appropriate for guarding female inmates. A second reason as to why these cases are not made known is the fear of more abuse inflicted on the victims if they choose to speak out. The Human Rights Watch informs us that, “male officers have not only used actual or threatened physical force, but have also used near total authority to provide or deny goods and privileges to female prisoners to compel them to have sex, or in other cases, to reward them for having done so” (Thomas 2).
Because prisoners are completely dependent on officers for basic necessities, the offer or threat to withhold these necessities is a powerful bribe.
Most prisoners who have complained of this maltreatment faced retaliation by the accused officer, his colleagues, or even other prisoners. The punishments for such complaints could include write-ups, loss of “good time” which accumulates towards early parole, or lengthy periods of disciplinary segregation from the remainder of the inmates (Thomas 6).
Women lose interest in reporting the crimes committed against them if they are aware of the fact that they will be punished and possibly spend more time in prison as a result of revealing these atrocities to authorities. Another reason for the invisibility of sexual abuse cases of women prisoners is the lack of appropriate criminal penalties for the crimes. According to Indifference Rules, “Five states have no law prohibiting sexual relations between correction officials and inmates. Seven states make custodial sexual misconduct a misdemeanor, not a felony” (Rhode 1).
Carandiru The adaptation of Carandiru Station, a best-seller by Drauzio Varela, Carandiru proposes diving into the heart of S~ao Paulo's prison, the largest in Latin America with approximately 7, 000 prisoners with a capacity for 4, 500. Guided by a humanist doctor (the author) who has an affection for the prisoners, the audience shares in the daily life of the condemned before the massacre ...
In most cases of reported sexual misconduct, correctional officials assumed that the prisoner lied and thus refused witnesses who were not prisoners the ability to credit prisoners’ testimonies (Rhode 6).
Therefore, complaints of abuse are likely to be handled almost entirely within the department of corrections or from within the prison walls. Of the correctional systems researched by the Human Rights Watch that did refer suspected criminal sexual misconduct to the local police, these referrals did not always occur, nor were they consistently carried out promptly, with the outcome that potentially crucial medical evidence may have been lost (Rhode 6).
In effect, once correctional officers referred such charges to the state police, this would frequently end the departments’ personal internal investigations into the case, usually causing the allegations to escape the grasp of the prison administration (Rhode 6).
Even if incarcerated women report their case to authorities, the chances of their case being heard are slim, further discouraging women to speak out against the disturbing acts forced on them. In an actual case of sexual abuse of a female prisoner who had been repeatedly forced to perform sexual acts on a male guard, the victim managed to incriminate this offender, but how she managed to seems inconceivably difficult.
“She spit the guard’s semen into a perfume bottle and had an “accomplice” smuggle the semen out of the facility… DNA tests conducted verified that it was the prison guard’s sperm and were used to incriminate the abuser” (Manzaon 5).
The difficult task of actually proving cases of sexual abuse from prison causes these cases to remain unreported. Lastly, the general public are simply not made aware of what goes on behind prison walls, nor are they made aware of the fact that women are reporting sexual abuse from prison while incarcerated.
Prison Life Most people have no idea what it feels like to be in prison, statistically only one out of every five people will know what its like to be in prison. Approximately 1. 4 million people out of the U. S.'s 280 million people are in prison. (Thomas, 2) The only reason people know about prisons is because of the media. The news, movies, and books all contribute to people's stereotypes about ...
Almost half of the states in this country fail to even collect these statistics, let alone properly take corrective measures to improve the laws protecting female inmates (Rhodes 1).
Even the United States government, in its first report to the U. N. Human Rights Committee, mentions the problem of custodial sexual abuse in U. S. state prisons for women only once, stating that the issue is, “addressed through staff training and through criminal statutes prohibiting such activity” (Thomas 9).
In her outline, Dorothy Q. Thomas reports that the Homan Rights Watch suggests certain reformations to the U. S. Congress in order to prevent and stop the sexual misconduct in prisons. Some of these revisions include the passage of legislation that requires states to criminalize all sexual contact between correctional staff and prisoners, report the cases to the Department of Justice, and appropriate funds necessary to create more thorough investigations of custodial misconduct (Thomas 11).
These recommendations also apply to the U.
S. Department of Justice with reformations including: a confidential toll-free prisoner telephone hotline providing prisoners information about their rights and about nongovernmental organizations they might call for assistance and appointment of an attorney specifically for investigation of claims of sexual misconduct (Thomas 12).
With the supposed ratifications in the system, significantly fewer women would continue to be maltreated, and fewer jailors would be ignorantly abusing their authority. With the neglect of federal aid, the lack of documentation, the fear of recurrence of abuse and the failure to provide appropriate laws to protect incarcerated women in the United States, the problem will forever be just that, a problem. But it might never even get the chance to be a problem for us the people, for we may never even know it is happening..