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Rape Factories - Why is the government doing so little to end sexual assault in prisons?
Reason ^ | 6/20/2011 | Lovisa Stannow

Posted on 06/20/2011 5:05:27 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby

In 1984 the photographer Tom Cahill smashed a plate-glass door in a fit of fury at the San Francisco Chronicle. He had just unsuccessfully attempted to get the paper’s reporters to write about rape in America’s jails and prisons. Cahill was a desperate man at the time, tormented by flashbacks and nightmares, his personal and professional life in ruins.

Cahill’s story began in 1968, when he was arrested in Texas during a peaceful antiwar protest. An Air Force vet who opposed the Vietnam War, he did not prove popular among jail staff in the heavily military town of San Antonio. Before placing him in an overcrowded communal cell, he says, the guards spread word that he was a child molester. Cahill remembers with a shudder how one of the staff members shouted “fresh meat” before leaving. After 24 hours of beatings and gang rape, his life was shattered.

More than four decades later, sexual violence behind bars is still widespread in the United States. But thanks to Cahill and other courageous survivors, the ongoing crisis is no longer shrouded in silence.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently released its first-ever estimate of the number of inmates who are sexually abused in America each year. According to the department’s data, which are based on nationwide surveys of prison and jail inmates as well as young people in juvenile detention centers, at least 216,600 inmates were victimized in 2008 alone. Contrary to popular belief, most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe. On average, each victim was abused between three and five times over the course of the year. The vast majority were too fearful of reprisals to seek help or file a formal complaint.

Sexual violence is not an inevitable part of prison life. On the contrary, it is highly preventable. Corrections officials who are committed to running safe facilities train their staff thoroughly. They make sure that inmates who are especially vulnerable to abuse—such as small, mentally ill, and gay or transgender detainees—are not housed with likely perpetrators. And they hold those who commit sexual assaults accountable, even if they are colleagues.

But many corrections administrators are reluctant to make sexual abuse prevention a top priority, preferring to maintain the status quo rather than acknowledge the role their own employees play. Others are actually fighting reform efforts, claiming, in spite of the evidence, that sexual violence is rare.

This resistance is reflected in the slow implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which Congress unanimously passed in 2003. The law mandated binding national standards to help end sexual abuse in detention. But almost eight years later, the Justice Department has yet to promulgate final standards.

Attorney General Eric Holder has not shown leadership on this issue. In 2009 Holder essentially rejected standards recommended by a bipartisan commission that spent years studying the problem of prisoner rape, claiming that the recommendations—which included limits on cross-gender supervision and the loosening of deadlines for survivors to file formal grievances—would have been too expensive.

It’s easy to feel numbed by the Justice Department’s estimate that almost 600 prisoners are sexually victimized each day. But behind that number are real people like Jan Lastocy. While serving time for attempted embezzlement in a Michigan prison in 1998, Lastocy was raped. Not once, not twice, but several times a week for seven months. The rapist was an officer who supervised her at a prison warehouse. Lastocy was so afraid of him that she did not even dare to tell her husband of 30 years, John, what was going on. Later John said, “Jan did a stupid thing, and she went to prison for it. But no one should have to pay the price that she did.”

Jan and John Lastocy’s lives were devastated by prisoner rape. Holder should listen to and learn from them rather than bowing to corrections officials trying to maintain the status quo.

Lovisa Stannow (lstannow@justdetention.org) is executive director of Just Detention International.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Society
KEYWORDS: abughraib; crime; prisonrape; prisons; rape

1 posted on 06/20/2011 5:05:38 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Abu Ghraib is nothing compared to what happens in uber blue state prisons.


2 posted on 06/20/2011 5:08:19 PM PDT by NoLibZone (Impeach Obama for among other things , violating the War Powers Act.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Let’s see....prisoners aren’t voters so who cares?


3 posted on 06/20/2011 5:12:26 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
Contrary to popular belief, most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe.

These disgusting scumbags should all be executed after being repeatedly sodomized with baseball bats. This is a national disgrace that all Americans should be ashamed of.
4 posted on 06/20/2011 5:13:06 PM PDT by microgood
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Prison rape is a horrible problem that needs to be addressed but it is the tip of the iceberg. Correctional facility staff are some of the most corrupt, unprofessional people on the face of the earth. Bringing drugs in, playing favorites among prisoners, holding grudges and taking it out on prisoners. Its a mess. And the administrators rely on the fact that the public thinks that prisoners deserve bad conditions to resist change. This is one rare area where government definitely needs to “do something.”


5 posted on 06/20/2011 5:13:57 PM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: NoLibZone

You think that prison rape only happens in blue states?


6 posted on 06/20/2011 5:14:10 PM PDT by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

American prisons have the highest concentration of likely democrat voters in the US. It’s not surprising violence and criminal behavior go on in liberal bastions.


7 posted on 06/20/2011 5:14:39 PM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep
"You think that prison rape only happens in blue states?"

No.

Nor did I say that.

8 posted on 06/20/2011 5:17:10 PM PDT by NoLibZone (Impeach Obama for among other things , violating the War Powers Act.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

I have worked with men who have been arrested for misdemenors like possesion or public drunkeness and who have been repeatedly raped in jail. Horrific. Our jails have turned into torture chambers.

Mind you, I have no problem with capital punishment, I have no problem with imprisoning the guilty, I do have a problem with using prisoners to torture other prisoners or to have prisoners do the work the state needs to do, such as execution. When prisoners kill a person like a mass murderer, that is in my opinion, a failure of our justice system.

Few advocate for the imprisoned. But in this increasingly totalitarian society we are all closer to imprisonment than we can imagine


9 posted on 06/20/2011 5:19:20 PM PDT by Chickensoup (The right to bear arms is proved to prevent government genocide. Protect yourself!)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
"In 2009 Holder essentially rejected standards recommended by a bipartisan commission that spent years studying the problem of prisoner rape."

Will this be on the Front page of the NY Times a few dozen times?

Once?

10 posted on 06/20/2011 5:21:42 PM PDT by NoLibZone (Impeach Obama for among other things , violating the War Powers Act.)
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To: NoLibZone

Will pigs ever fly?


11 posted on 06/20/2011 5:32:57 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: Chickensoup
Drug sentencing laws put offenders in state prison for possession of amounts of drugs that essentially are for personal use, and these offenders—usually young and not too tough—are the types who are preyed upon in these rapes (and yes, you are right—they are repeated rapes and other daily brutalizations). Way too many guards are incompetent or don't care or worse, are corrupt. Then you have these “for profit” prisons that charge prisoners $2 for a Ramen Noodles soup. I'm all for making people pay for crime too but our state prison systems are cesspools that need to be cleaned up.
12 posted on 06/20/2011 5:36:43 PM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Opinionated Blowhard

By definition prisoners are intended to be treated poorly.

Sorry I can’t get excited about what happens to people who choose to be outlaws. Perhaps, if they’d made a better choice they wouldn’t have placed themselves in that kind of jeapardy.

In any case it is impossible to fix all imagined and real problems in this country all at once. Therefore, priortization is requited. My priority is the millions of unborn human babies who’re killed annually by doctors and staff who get rich enjoying what they’re doing.


13 posted on 06/20/2011 5:50:08 PM PDT by dools0007world
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To: Chickensoup

BTTT


14 posted on 06/20/2011 5:50:19 PM PDT by Borax Queen
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To: count-your-change

Let’s see....prisoners aren’t voters so who cares?

Blue state prisoners vote.


15 posted on 06/20/2011 5:55:11 PM PDT by Chickensoup (The right to bear arms is proved to prevent government genocide. Protect yourself!)
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To: dools0007world

By definition prisoners are intended to be treated poorly.

Sorry I can’t get excited about what happens to people who choose to be outlaws. Perhaps, if they’d made a better choice they wouldn’t have placed themselves in that kind of jeapardy.

In an increasingly totalitarian world this could happen to you and yours. Life threatening jepordy is not ok for minimal offenses. Screw it, life threatening jepordy is not ok for anyone, if you support torture, your moral meter is stuck on stupid.


16 posted on 06/20/2011 5:58:48 PM PDT by Chickensoup (The right to bear arms is proved to prevent government genocide. Protect yourself!)
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
Just another reason to be scared of giving government power over citizens. Yet conservatives want more cops more jails and more abandonment of the fourth amendment, and lots of strings on the second amendment.

Conservatives built our police state. It is up to us to dismantle the police state. But I doubt we can. Many many Freepers argue for extra judicial punishment on “Ferrell humans” through cop beat-downs. So again conservatives have been a big part of this through an urge to preserve institutions and provide “Law and Order”..

17 posted on 06/20/2011 5:59:36 PM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: dools0007world

So you think it is OK for young men to be raped repeatedly when their crimes are for much lesser offenses?

Must be nice up in that ivory tower.


18 posted on 06/20/2011 6:11:47 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (Is there anyone that Obama won't toss under the bus?)
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To: dools0007world
You have no respect for justice nor for liberty. Declaration of Independence talks about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This country today is more interested in the the pursuit of imprisoning fellow citizens. The War on Drugs has destroyed the fourth amendment made a mockery of the fifth and the 10th. You can't put your boat on the water without registering, paying taxes. Driving a car, hunting, opening a business, selling fresh eggs by the side of the road all require permits. Lots of ways to end up in jail. Liberty is dead and you are cool with prison gang rapes. This attitude against the very concept of Liberty has made me reject American style Conservative thought. Your attitude is THE problem with Law and Order conservatives. I demand justice for property crimes, injury, death. That's it. Instead we have a thousand ways to end up in jail and be gang raped. You are cool with that.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.

Liberty is dead and despised. Justice for you and mercy for me.

19 posted on 06/20/2011 6:14:27 PM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: dools0007world

Indifferent to homosexual rape, got you.


20 posted on 06/20/2011 6:26:13 PM PDT by ansel12 (America has close to India population of 1950s, India has 1,200,000,000 people now. Quality of Life?)
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To: dools0007world

Wow you are really a monster, with absolutely no grasp of the concept of justice.


21 posted on 06/20/2011 6:30:16 PM PDT by krb (Obama is a miserable failure.)
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To: Chickensoup

True, but only once or twice at a time.


22 posted on 06/20/2011 6:48:54 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: dools0007world

You realize that:

1. There are innocent as well as guilty people in jails.

2. Homosexual rape spreads AIDS.

3. Non-violent offenders entering prison won’t be so non-violent coming out after being raped.


23 posted on 06/20/2011 7:09:04 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

24 posted on 06/20/2011 7:09:55 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: dools0007world
Funny. A lot of Libs say the same thing about us conservatives. That because of our views, we choose to be outlaws and if we made a better choice we wouldn't have placed ourselves in jeopardy. Its how they justify forming mobs to protest outside of business owners’ houses, sending death threats to Republican politicians, vandalizing offices of conservative politicians.

The bottom line is that no one deserves to be tortured and terrorized. Most prisoners who are victims are young kids in on drug charges. You may have a stern view of justice, but I don't think the sentence for drug possession should be weekly or daily rapes.

25 posted on 06/20/2011 7:11:35 PM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
Photobucket Photobucket
26 posted on 06/20/2011 7:13:17 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

“Contrary to popular belief, most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe.”

I don’t buy that most of the rapes were from the guards. Most of the rapes might have been facilitated by the guards, though. I think the prison industry has an interest to keep the recidivism rate high, someone who goes to prison for a minor crime who is treated like a beast might be more likely to act like a beast when released.

Freegards


27 posted on 06/20/2011 7:19:14 PM PDT by Ransomed
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To: dools0007world
Sorry I can’t get excited about what happens to people who choose to be outlaws. Perhaps, if they’d made a better choice they wouldn’t have placed themselves in that kind of jeapardy.

Too bad you can't spell jeopardy, either.

So, you think it is OK to expose inmates to homosexual rape, AIDS, mental problems from that day on, just because they crossed some goddamn line that no one knew about??? Hey, buddy, maybe next week speeding tickets will get you thrown in pound-your-butt incarceration. Happy with that?

Choose to be outlaws?????

You do not have a freaking clue, do you?

28 posted on 06/20/2011 11:24:05 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: dools0007world
orry I can’t get excited about what happens to people who choose to be outlaws. Perhaps, if they’d made a better choice they wouldn’t have placed themselves in that kind of jeapardy.

Morons like you are the reason that the jackboots could be just around the corner. You allow horrifying abuses, as long as someone you don't like is the victim... and you're somehow stupid enough to not realize that you're simply next on the list, now that you've opened the door for this kind of abuse.

29 posted on 06/20/2011 11:27:41 PM PDT by Teacher317 (really?)
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To: doorgunner69

Did they or did they not choose to be outlaws? Simple question.


30 posted on 06/21/2011 5:08:20 AM PDT by dools0007world
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To: Teacher317

Your passion would be admiral if it were directed at protecting the innocent first.


31 posted on 06/21/2011 5:09:26 AM PDT by dools0007world
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To: Opinionated Blowhard

First, conservatives have broken no laws therefore the felon analogy does not fit.

Second, I never said that any authority has the right to abuse those under that authority. What I said was all issues cannot be corrected all at once. Therefore one must prioritize. Seems to me protecting the innocent, unborn humans, should be at the top of any moral and caring persons list.

Third, the fact is 99.9% of people in prison chose to commit a crime, were tried and convicted. They had a choice and chose poorly. Policies, rules and laws are made to protect or otherwise promote the norm. They aren’t and cannot be so perfect that some infinitesimally small percent of the population is wronged.

As for drug abusers: First, people caught possessing drugs and drug paraphenalia—not selling or otherwise distributing—generally are given multiple rehab opportunities before the ever see the inside of a jail. Experience has shown that most of them are not rehabbed. Experience has also shown that users require increasing amounts of drugs to satisfy their cravings. Most drug abusers are not well off financially. Therefore, they ultimately resort to theft and violence to satisfy their habit. Second, Illegal drug makers and sellers are breaking the law. Therefore, they are criminals. Third, doing drugs is a choice that has long term negative effects on individuals and societies. I cannot and will not expend an ounce of energy on these people. I tried to be involved with two people in the past. Waste of time. What really ticked me off was that I had to sleep with my firearm handy until my brother-in-laws son was finally imprisoned. So don’t try to make the argument with me that drugs is somehow a victimless crime.


32 posted on 06/21/2011 5:32:57 AM PDT by dools0007world
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To: dools0007world
Your “priority argument is weak. Prisons represent one of the few 100 percent State control opportunities. Our prisons are the way they are because people want them that way.

Many of the prisoners have NOT even gone to trial.

You are cool with State sponsored crime but want to punish citizens harshly.

You are defending an indefensible idea. If you want an anti abortion thread, find an article that interests you and post it. Stay off this one. Abortion is wrong. State sponsored prison rape? Good lord.

33 posted on 06/21/2011 6:15:26 AM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: dools0007world

“conservatives have broken no laws “

Really? Conservatives/Christians have never been jailed for homeschooling, spanking their children, picketing an abortion clinic, or street preaching?


34 posted on 06/21/2011 2:49:21 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: dools0007world

considering another thread here on FR posted about the 20% of rape convictions which where disproven after modern DNA tests, it is very difficult to be indifferent. (per innocence project which seeks to have old cases with DNA evidence reexamined.)

it does not take much to have some liberal judge declare this issue to be cruel and unusual punishment and then realease all of them into your neighborhood.


35 posted on 06/21/2011 2:57:54 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Let’s try this again. I said being conservative breaks no law. Is this true or not? Simple question. Only requires a yes or no answer.

Do some who call themselves conservative break the law? Regretably but certainly.


36 posted on 06/21/2011 3:25:29 PM PDT by dools0007world
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To: longtermmemmory

I’m delighted DNA science has progressed to where it can be used to clear innocent people—and it should be. However, keep in mind it is not a perfect science. Some of the guilty will go free based on DNA evidence.

I’m also suspicious of the alledged 20% of those convicted of rape actually being innocent. I would like to know precisely how that 20% number was produced.

That said, I wonder what % of the convicted felon population is represented by rapists. I suspect it’s a relatively small percent. So we get back to the very real issue of priortizing what we expend our emotions and money on.

It should also be pointed out that there are private entities already championing the wrongly convicted cause. It should be pointed out, too, that the government has not eased or eliminated even one societal failing. It has exacerbated every problem it has tried to address.


37 posted on 06/21/2011 3:40:43 PM PDT by dools0007world
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To: dools0007world
you're an asshole

full stop

38 posted on 06/21/2011 3:51:15 PM PDT by tomkat (gone galt)
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To: dools0007world

it only states that the dna on/in the woman (or victim) was not that of the convicted person. That is enough to kick out the conviction.


39 posted on 06/21/2011 3:55:54 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: dools0007world

it only states that the dna on/in the woman (or victim) was not that of the convicted person. That is enough to kick out the conviction.


40 posted on 06/21/2011 3:57:04 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: dools0007world
You and your ilk are the reason the streets are awash in law enforcement armed with every tool necessary to manage the behavior of the masses. No control or means are too extreme. No discretionary loophole to nullify the 4th amendment is too extreme. You and your ilk vote for control and disdain liberty.
41 posted on 06/21/2011 4:27:14 PM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: longtermmemmory

I understand that point. That’s why I said DNA testing is not 100% accurate either.


42 posted on 06/21/2011 5:06:01 PM PDT by dools0007world
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To: tomkat

The last refuge of those who cannot defend their argument is name calling. Congratulations, you achieved that dubious distinction.


43 posted on 06/21/2011 5:08:02 PM PDT by dools0007world
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To: dools0007world
wasn't an 'argument'
simple statement of the obvious

<plonk>

44 posted on 06/21/2011 6:06:08 PM PDT by tomkat (gone galt)
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To: tomkat

My, My. You’re so clever. I wonder that I ever considered I could challenge your obvious intellectual superiority.


45 posted on 06/22/2011 5:07:54 AM PDT by dools0007world
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