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Male Rape in US Prisons
Counter-punch | 6/9/03 | Alex Coolman

Posted on 06/10/2003 8:39:44 AM PDT by philosofy123

No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons

By ALEX COOLMAN

In April of 2001, Human Rights Watch released a report called No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prison. The report, written by human rights lawyer (and CounterPunch contributor) Joanne Mariner, contains dozens of first-hand accounts of prisoner rape and sexual assault, stories that are both horrifying and sobering.

Some of the most frightening passages in the book, though, are not in the main body of the text. They're in the appendix, which features letters that state corrections departments coughed up after Human Rights Watch requested information about sexual assault behind bars.

In the appendix, the reader learns what these corrections departments, despite countless stories of human suffering to the contrary, are still saying about sexual assault.

From the Kentucky Department of Corrections: "These instances are very rare, (but) ... we do not maintain a central list of the disposition of these cases."

From the Alaska Department of Corrections: "We, luckily, have no need to keep statistics, as this has not been a problem."

From the Connecticut Department of Corrections: "Our department does not maintain statistics regarding inmate on inmate rape or sexual abuse primarily because it is seldom reported ...."

In state after state, the officials running the prisons disavow any knowledge of a problem that, according to the best research on the subject, affects as many as one in five male prisoners.

For that reason, and many others, No Escape is a wrenching book to read. It's also one of the most in-depth, authoritative, and comprehensive books written on the subject of prisoner rape. The book provides a review of the conditions that contribute to prisoner rape--including the growth of the American prison population in the last 20 years, the privatization of the prison industry, and the crippling of prisoners' legal rights through the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996.

No Escape also reviews some of the realities of prisoner rape that are misunderstood by the public: that victims tend to be nonviolent offenders, young people, and first-timers; that victims are sometimes subjected to repeated abuse that can last for years; and that rape victims contract diseases like HIV and often suffer from crippling depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

All of these facts are brought to life in No Escape through the inclusion of prisoners' first-hand accounts of rape. Human Rights Watch quotes men like B.J. from Connecticut (that peaceful state where rape is "seldom reported," according to the DOC) who describes being assaulted after he was celled with a known rapist.

"I remained in shock and paralyzed in thought for two days until I was able to muster the courage to report it, this the most dreadful and horrifying experience of my life," B.J. writes.

Then there are prisoners like M.P. from Arkansas, who describes submitting to life as a sexual slave for another prisoner, and S.H., from Texas, who was rented out for sexual favors. S.H. filed five grievances, eight appeals and a federal lawsuit in an attempt to get some relief for his situation. He was denied any remedy, every step of the way.

That institutional indifference to the problem of sexual assault behind bars is documented in No Escape's final chapter, where Mariner notes that "rape occurs in U.S. prisons because corrections officials, to a surprising extent, do little to stop it from occurring."

Even simple steps that could reduce the likelihood of sexual assault--such as realistic prisoner orientation programs and careful classification of prisoners by risk of victimization--are relatively uncommon, Human Rights Watch reports. Prisoners' complaints of rape are not taken seriously and avenues of legal redress are typically blocked.

"Rape is not an inevitable consequence of prison life, but it certainly is a predictable one if little is done to prevent it and punish it," Mariner concludes.

The two years since No Escape was published have seen a major surge of advocacy to address sexual assault behind bars. No Escape was covered on the front page of the New York Times, introducing many members of the public to a reality they had never considered. Since then, publications such as the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Mother Jones, and The Weekly Standard have also prominently covered the issue.

No Escape has served as a powerful resource for Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR), the only national organization solely devoted to ending sexual violence behind bars. Stop Prisoner Rape had been around for more than 20 years before No Escape, but the book's authoritative documentation of the problem has proved to be a critical tool in SPR's arsenal.

Since the publication of No Escape, SPR and Human Rights Watch have worked together (along with others) to launch a listserv, sponsor a national conference, and lobby for the first-ever federal legislation to address rape in prison, known as the Prison Rape Reduction Act. In fact, No Escape was cited during Congressional hearings on the bill. The legislation, which is still pending, would authorize a study to document the extent of the problem; and create a program of standards and incentives to help corrections officials detect and prevent prisoner rape.

For men and women behind bars, rape remains a real threat. SPR continues to hear from prisoners every day who are being victimized--prisoners who still face the kinds of brutality documented in No Escape. SPR now offers survivors of sexual assault a range of information and referrals, the chance to post stories on its heavily trafficked website, and the opportunity to speak out through contacts with reporters and researchers.

That's a powerful legacy for a single book, but No Escape tells a powerful story. It's one we all need to understand.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: islaminprisons; rape
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A couple of comments regarding this subject; 1)The black moslem gangs in the US prisons provide protection from rape if a prisonner converts to Islam. Thus Islamists with the support of Saudi money get foot-soldiers in the US. 2)The feminization of this culture made it only horrible if the victims of rape were women.
1 posted on 06/10/2003 8:39:44 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
Soap-on-a-rope bump.
2 posted on 06/10/2003 8:41:22 AM PDT by b4its2late (Time may be a great healer, but it's also a lousy beautician.)
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To: b4its2late
This is a real "hurtful" subject. We need to commit more than a couple of words to it. Thanks for the bump, anyway.
3 posted on 06/10/2003 8:45:32 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
Having done time, I seriously think it comes down to standing up to someone. You have to basically try to kill the person and they'll get the message. If they rape you anyway, then when you have the opportunity, you make them regret it in more ways then one.

And, if you want to survive long term, you do have to join a clique.
4 posted on 06/10/2003 8:45:37 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: philosofy123
This situation is absoultely shameful. How can we possibly expect a prisoner to live a normal life upon released after our nation permits such brutal and inhuman behavior?

Prisoners should be told that if they rape anyone in jail, they get 20 years on their sentence for the first offense. life for the 2nd, and death for third. If they are already in for life, then straight to the electric chair.
5 posted on 06/10/2003 8:46:00 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: 1stFreedom
I always figured I would pretend to be a Nazi if I ever went to jail to get some protection from them, but then I started watching that show on HBO where they were some of the worst offenders.
6 posted on 06/10/2003 8:47:12 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: philosofy123
This topic should scare all males because we could end up in prison over any stupid thing on any given day. Anyone who thinks prison is only for bad people needs to read the bible.
7 posted on 06/10/2003 8:48:12 AM PDT by biblewonk (Spose to be a Chrissssstian)
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To: philosofy123
The black moslem gangs in the US prisons provide protection from rape if a prisonner converts to Islam.

On the occasions that my brother has been in jail, he seeks and receives the same protection from the white aryan brotherhood. He's not exactly what you would call a racist, but prison makes for strange bedfellows. He strongly recomends it over being beaten senseless by the Muslims and other black gangs.
8 posted on 06/10/2003 8:49:07 AM PDT by AdA$tra (Tagline maintenance in progress......)
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To: philosofy123
Have you ever seen a young derelict on the street with a face full of tatoos?

It is probable that the person you saw was a victim of repeated rape and gang rape in prison. Prisoners like to leave their mark and pass victims around. Just a very distasteful fact about prison life.

9 posted on 06/10/2003 8:49:19 AM PDT by ex-Texan (primates capitulards toujours en quete de fromage!)
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To: b4its2late
You silly-silly boy.
10 posted on 06/10/2003 8:50:02 AM PDT by whereasandsoforth
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To: biblewonk
You're right. This legal system is far from perfect and is full of scumbags/morons/idiots who deserve to be shot. I wonder how many innocents are in jail...horrible thought
11 posted on 06/10/2003 8:51:21 AM PDT by Norse
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To: philosofy123
I think the AG of CA pretty much admitted that the use of rape as punisment was State policy when he said:

"I would love to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, 'Hi my name is Spike, honey.'"

http://www.equityfeminism.com/articles/2001/000077.html

12 posted on 06/10/2003 8:52:05 AM PDT by DManA
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To: 1stFreedom
The problem is physical overpowering by the strong man over the weaker man. Add to it if the strong guy has a gang that holds the weak guy down. Add to that if there is a gang of black moslems being paid by a foreign power to convert prisoners to Islam.

Our government is too insensitive as well as too stupid to allow such things to take place in a controlled areas like prisons.

13 posted on 06/10/2003 8:52:25 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
Pretty good reason to stay out of jail (by not doing the things that puts you there) in the first place.
14 posted on 06/10/2003 8:52:38 AM PDT by sirshackleton
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To: Rodney King
You got a good point. I would add to that that the prisoners should be housed with comparable size and strength to make it more difficult for the stong to take advantage of the weak.
15 posted on 06/10/2003 8:56:00 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: biblewonk
It is terrifying!
16 posted on 06/10/2003 8:56:54 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
The system doesn't help a lot - I am informed by an acquaintance in a position to know that you may, in fact, request solitary confinement to avoid this, but if you do any time served does not count toward "good behavior." And solitary drives people nuts.

Being the baddest dude on the cellblock doesn't help a lot either - nobody can fight off ten guys and never go to sleep. Hence prison gangs. Same reason there are street gangs - safety in numbers.

17 posted on 06/10/2003 8:59:14 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Billthedrill
It is sad and inhumane. If women were being raped in such numbers things could be different. The State has no right to think of one strong prisoner rapping a weaker prisoner a justice rendered.
19 posted on 06/10/2003 9:05:39 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: xin loi
You have good ideas. The problem with the administrators of the prisons, they are probably uncaring/unthinking idiots.
20 posted on 06/10/2003 9:07:59 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: sirshackleton
Pretty good reason to stay out of jail (by not doing the things that puts you there) in the first place.

Do not be so naive to think that even you, Mr. Perfect Citizen, could not end up in prison. All it takes is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and to piss off the wrong person in the system.

21 posted on 06/10/2003 9:08:34 AM PDT by circles
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To: biblewonk
This topic should scare all males because we could end up in prison over any stupid thing on any given day. Anyone who thinks prison is only for bad people needs to read the bible.

You've got that right. One of my biggest fears is being railroaded into the joint.

22 posted on 06/10/2003 9:09:42 AM PDT by cardinal4 (The Senate Armed Services Comm; the Chinese pipeline into US secrets)
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To: philosofy123
"It is sad and inhumane. If women were being raped in such numbers things could be different. The State has no right to think of one strong prisoner rapping a weaker prisoner a justice rendered."

This statement is True and I agree with it. Still, I rather enjoy the thought of some of the most notorious pedophiles getting a taste of their own medicine in prison - repeatedly.
23 posted on 06/10/2003 9:10:32 AM PDT by Roughneck (Get the U.N. out of the U.S, and get the U.S. out of the U.N.)
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To: sirshackleton
Pretty good reason to stay out of jail (by not doing the things that puts you there)...

"We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - "there is none without sin, no, not even one"
I've spent several years' in a Christian prison ministry, and I can say that a prison is one of the most oppressive places immaginable, if one is fairly tuned spiritually, one can sense the (nearly) over-powering presence of evil - it truley is Satan's play-ground.
I'm not for a country-club atmosphere, as it is supposed to be punishment, but nobody deserves the torture of rape that is given a nod-nod, wink-wink by officials.
There is no place for tolerance of any kind of rape in a civilized nation like America.

24 posted on 06/10/2003 9:10:47 AM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is a war room".)
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To: Rodney King
Prison forced rape is primarily the province of blacks against anyone that those blacks who prefer such activity see as vulnerable including other blacks. They prefer young white boys.

Latino, Asian, and Whites are less likely to indulge in forced rape. You would probably be fairly safe with ABs or the like but they might extort money or favors from you. They are particularly vicious but not in the sexual domination department.

Aside from the AB rape scene, I thought the movie American History X was fairly accurate.

When I say blacks, I do not mean Jamaicans and West Indians etc....I'm talking about American Blacks...primarily younger urban ones.....and for the sake of honesty, it should be noted that NOI strongly frowns on such activity.

25 posted on 06/10/2003 9:12:06 AM PDT by wardaddy (I was born my Papa's son....when I hit the ground I was on the run.....)
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To: xin loi
You are quite right but black prisoners so inclined will rape other weaker black prisoners as well.
26 posted on 06/10/2003 9:14:29 AM PDT by wardaddy (I was born my Papa's son....when I hit the ground I was on the run.....)
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To: sirshackleton
"Pretty good reason to stay out of jail (by not doing the things that puts you there) in the first place."

Are you SURE that you haven't done something to put YOU there?

Remember, in this day of wanting to beat the Hell out of anyone we so much as think is a criminal, we place innocent people in jail all the time.

Over 120 people have been released from death row based on DNA evidence that says they couldn't have possibly committed the crime.

27 posted on 06/10/2003 9:19:23 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican (If the only way an American can get elected is through Mexican votes, we have a war to be waged.)
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To: Psalm 73
I'm not for a country-club atmosphere, as it is supposed to be punishment, but nobody deserves the torture of rape that is given a nod-nod, wink-wink by officials.

Prisoners are in prison as punishment, not for punishment. I agree that inmate-on-inmate violence, in any form, ought not to be tolerated.

28 posted on 06/10/2003 9:20:12 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: philosofy123
The solution to this would be for the prison doctor to give the prisoners a drug to prevent them from getting and erection. Put it in the food or water and let everyone do their time "limp".
29 posted on 06/10/2003 9:24:30 AM PDT by LetsRok
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To: DManA
"I think the AG of CA pretty much admitted that the use of rape as punisment was State policy when he said:..."

I suppose that until we see a single modestly successful argument that somebody with a deep pockets (may be the same Ken Lay) should not be jailed because it is a "cruel and unusual" punishment due to widespread rape things would hardly change.

BTW, what is gay community attitude towards prison rape? are they encourage it as a sort of initiation?

30 posted on 06/10/2003 9:31:12 AM PDT by alex
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To: philosofy123
>>The problem is physical overpowering by the strong man over the weaker man.

Yes and no. You have to have some "prison" or "Street" smarts.

The worst part is when you first get in. Guy whistling at you, just like in the movies. Ignore it and don't let it get to you.

1. First time there is *any* problem, you basically gotta creamate the fellow who is causing it. A good punch to the throat and a kick between the legs, followed by an dual earslap does wonders regardless of your size. After this you simply beat the man into the ground.

What you have done is gave notice not to mess with you. Size doesn't matter if you aim to incapacitiate your intended target. Remember, you aren't trying to go toe to toe cause the bigger man will win. (I'm 5'4 and people underestimate me.)

2. If something looks odd, then it is odd. Like if you feel you are being followed, you are. Turn around and get ready to rumble in the open. Don't wait, hit first and aim to incapacitate.

If you are followed into a room you are in trouble. Best to fight it out before going into room/shower/etc. Whatever you do, take someone down with you if you can't fight the whole gang.

3. Make "friends" quickly even if you don't officially join. Jesus walked with the sinners so it doesn't mean you can't either. Prison is a fertile ministry ground.

4. Got a problem with your cellmate? Well, they got to sleep some time. When they do, they'll wish they never touched you -- if they live.

5. When you fight, give it all you got. Don't be afraid, worst that can happen is you get killed (literally). Let it all out.

>> Add to it if the strong guy has a gang that holds the weak guy down.

Yea, this is a problem. You often will have to fight with a wall (preferrably a corner) to your back and just survive getting hit from all angles. Take out eyes and noses when you can. Worst case roll up into a tight little ball and yell your ass off. I did this once to resist arrest and it took 5 police using major pain compliance techniques to unroll me. It's very effective.

The rule of prison is very well known: don't take shit, and when someone gives it to you, make them eat it.

31 posted on 06/10/2003 9:31:44 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: xin loi
>>black on white rapes where the black population dominates.

From my experience, this has to do with a lack of street smarts and fear more than anything. I've seen guys get bullied around and 9 times out of ten it's becaue they are middle class people who aren't used to the street way of things.
32 posted on 06/10/2003 9:33:30 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: AdA$tra
Exactly what I mean. You will be forced, either by invitation, or by need for protection, to join a group.
33 posted on 06/10/2003 9:34:09 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: philosofy123
Prison rape is quite common. Also, remember seeing the Tom Selleck movie "An Innocent Man." If men and women are sent to prison for crimes committed, then why should the general public expect them to get rehabilitated if crimes are committed inside the prison? The prison system really needs overhauling. If the state and national legislators really wanted to accomplish something, they could give up their pay raises to help pay for the prison system overhaul.
34 posted on 06/10/2003 9:34:48 AM PDT by lilylangtree
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To: philosofy123
Violent criminals need to be confined in isolation until their trials and appeals are finished, then executed -- and all of this needs to happen as quickly as possible within the bounds of due process.

Non-violent criminals need to be put on strictly supervised probation and required to make restitution.

If these policies were implements, our prisons could be almost emptied, there would be no rape inside prisons, and our crime rate would be much lower than it is now. And, I would argue, this is all a much more humane treatement of prisoners than what we have now.

35 posted on 06/10/2003 9:35:22 AM PDT by Stefan Stackhouse
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To: 1stFreedom
Having done time, I seriously think it comes down to standing up to someone.

I've heard that before. But the fear of hell in jail is a very powerful tool for law enforcement which is why police either don't address it or do not dispute false statistics. Many first time criminals crack and fully cooperate with police upon being told that if they don't they are going to jail and will probably be raped.

36 posted on 06/10/2003 9:37:23 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: AdA$tra
Agreed. From what I've heard, a white guy had better "Klan up" the first day he's inside, or resign himself to being a permanent victim of the black and Hispanic gangs.

I say run the prisons the way the Navy runs its brigs: solitary confinement for all prisoners. I bet there's no rape problem at GitMo.
37 posted on 06/10/2003 9:41:23 AM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: 1stFreedom
A good punch to the throat

So you rupture the guy's larnyx and he dies and you get twenty years added to your sentence. Is it worth it?

Your prison experience sounds like a Sylvester Stallone movie. Where the heck were you?

38 posted on 06/10/2003 9:45:06 AM PDT by circles
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To: philosofy123
Anyone who has read widely about these matters, including specifically the 'Gulag Archipelago', realizes that the brutalization of the mass of prisoners by unofficially-sanctioned thugs is a necessary part of the modern prison regime.

How could anyone really expect anything different?
39 posted on 06/10/2003 9:47:06 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: 1stFreedom
You have to basically try to kill the person and they'll get the message

The problem then is what if you are a first time offender with a short prison sentence. You have a very good chance of getting out and starting over. But if you fight back too well you could end up with a much longer sentence.

I saw a tv show about prison life. One of the guys there was sentenced to a few years for robbery, but ended up killing another prisoner in a fight and now is doing life.

He stopped one attempted rape, but now will live in fear for the rest of his short life.

40 posted on 06/10/2003 9:52:02 AM PDT by Sci Fi Guy
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To: circles
Odd are you wont hit the larynx due to the guy trying to duck. What ends up happening is you typically hit the throat and the guy chokes for a little bit.

And you forget, HIV kills. Taking out a guy in prison is justified IMO -- it's self preservation. I also said "incapacitiate" not kill.

As for where I've been, it wouldn't make a difference if you knew or not.
41 posted on 06/10/2003 9:52:36 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: alex
they count them as part of the homosexual population. (seriously)
42 posted on 06/10/2003 9:53:04 AM PDT by longtermmemmory
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To: Rodney King
Prisoners should be told that if they rape anyone in jail, they get 20 years on their sentence for the first offense. life for the 2nd, and death for third. If they are already in for life, then straight to the electric chair.

That makes a lot of sense, but you still need to have correction officials care about preventing rape.

43 posted on 06/10/2003 9:53:56 AM PDT by Sci Fi Guy
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To: Rodney King
Exactly right. Punishment must be dealt for these sex offenders. If someone is serving a life sentence and commits a sex crime in prison then they should get sentenced to solitary confinement.
44 posted on 06/10/2003 9:54:15 AM PDT by doc
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To: Sci Fi Guy
Short time doesn't matter. It's a matter of survival.

Wanna get raped and get HIV? Wanna be shared around the block? Then don't fight back and let them have you. Then when you leave prision dying of AIDS a short time later, think if it was worth not putting up a fight.

The norms and rules of prison are not the same as the outside. Your short prison sentence doesn't mean much to someone who wants to rape you. You have to play within those rules, not when you are getting out and so forth.

45 posted on 06/10/2003 9:56:44 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: Stefan Stackhouse
Absolutlely!! I thought I was the only one who thought that is the system that should be implemented. Where the crime involve theft, loss of money, destruction of property, non-violent crimes to people, no one really wins by making the guy go to jail. Now, if the guy had to work and fork over a third of what he made each pay day until he paid his victim, the victim gets restored, the offender learns a lesson, and hopefully has a much better shot at becoming a productive citizen, (not to mention the human toll on his family; he could repay his debt to the victim, but also still be there and a part of his family).

Violent criminals are a different matter entirely. Armed robbery, assault, rape, murder, all those folks in a different institution, closely monitored, little freedom.

46 posted on 06/10/2003 10:00:07 AM PDT by job (Dinsdale?Dinsdale?)
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To: 1stFreedom
As for where I've been, it wouldn't make a difference if you knew or not.

Just wondering, because I know a guy who did time in a North Carolina prison (not sure if it was medium or max) who said you can just mind your own business and do your own time, so I'm wondering how much of a difference it makes where you do your time.

I've never been in prison so I don't know. (Did a few days in the county jail, but that's not the same thing.)

47 posted on 06/10/2003 10:05:47 AM PDT by circles
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To: biblewonk
"This topic should scare all males because we could end up in prison over any stupid thing on any given day."

The topic of rape scares women every day. It shouldn't be tolerated no matter who the victim is.

48 posted on 06/10/2003 10:19:00 AM PDT by MEGoody
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To: philosofy123
Student In Jail For Drugs Is Raped
49 posted on 06/10/2003 10:21:55 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: circles
You *can* do your own thing. It's not impossible.

The problem is if you are pressured to join a group or you get targeted by a gang. Then you can no longer do your own thing.

You might as well cut things off at the start and join whatever group you fit in with.

In some ways, county jail is worse than prison. In prison it's a little more open, a little more freedom, etc. Some places you can even have your own TV. Some prisons have kitchennets where you can get coffee, etc.

And remember, plenty of guys get raped in county jail. Happens all the time. Typicall it's by someone awaiting a court appearrance -- a hardened experienced criminal if you will. The victim is usally a young male who is scared to death to begin with.

IMO,County jail is just a filthy holding cell for animals. Most people are there for under 6 months (some over) and so the entire atmosphere is one of a temporary nature. It's filthy, people piss all over the toilet in the cells, etc. A prison cell, on the other hand, is where you'll be spending the next five years. The prisoners keep their cells cleaner than those in county.

50 posted on 06/10/2003 10:24:04 AM PDT by 1stFreedom
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