Home / Charli Carpenter / DoJ Opens Rulemaking on Prison Rape

DoJ Opens Rulemaking on Prison Rape


From Change.org:

On March 10, 2010, the Department of Justice opened a 60-day public comment period on national standards addressing sexual abuse in detention. Released last June by a bipartisan federal commission, these common-sense measures have the potential to help end sexual abuse in detention. But the standards are opposed by some powerful corrections leaders. These officials argue that it is too expensive to stop prisoner rape, and they seem to have a great deal of influaence over the Department of Justice.

As I’ve argued before, this is an important one for progressives to weigh in on.
A 2001 Human Rights Watch report showed an epidemic of prison rape in the US; and the final report of Congress’s Congressional National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, released last June, found that nearly 60,000 inmates have suffered sexual abuse in US prisons. It also showed that more prisoners are abused by staff than by other inmates, and that gender minorities are at the greatest risk.

NPREC’s original recommendations were that 5% of federal funding for prisons be contingent on states’ reduction in incidence rates in accordance with standards now being drafted by the Attorney General. I haven’t yet read which provisions made it into the proposed rule, but I would argue that 5% may be much too low a penalty to check such well-entrenched abuse; and at any rate the federal government will also need to consider providing resources for states to implement the standards, which would involve a significant overhauling of prison culture.

When you contact Attorney General Holder with your thoughts, refer to Docket No. OAG-131.

You can try out our latest 70-272 and 70-693 training courses to get flying success in final 70-573 & 70-690 exams; F50-531 is also very useful tool.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Oz Ozzie

    err, what’s a gender minority? A male?

    • They probably mean transexuals.

      • Holden Pattern

        I think they actually mean gay (or apparently gay) inmates, where gay people are a gender (preference) minority in their sex.

  • John Smith

    Prison rape is often interracial, with non-violent white inmates the most frequent victim. If the facts were reversed, it would be a national scandal.

    • Holden Pattern

      Riiight… Because bleeding heart liberals are the ones making the prison rape jokes.

      Better trolls, please.

      • John Smith

        I hear prison rape jokes made by all kinds of people. Better “better troll” jokes please.

        • Holden Pattern

          Fine then. Please show evidence that:

          (a) prison rape is committed more by non-whites against whites and then:

          (b) that your counterfactual white victimization shtick has any basis in reality.*

          Because the whole “poor whites, without any power in society” victim whine in response to people who are actually concerned about this problem is a pathetic and fairly disgusting attempt to hijack the issue.

          * Cue Tawana Brawley cite here.

          • movari

            Actually, Human Rights Watch has been studying male Prison Rape for some time and it definitely stated that young, mentally or physically disabled white males were the primary target in prison rape and that black inmates were responsible for the overwhelming majority of rapes.

            In prisons where whites make up a clear minority of the population, whites are the majority of the victims. Whites are often selected OVER even lesser represented minorities like Asians and Native Americans.

            When you link that back to African American males selecting white victims at a hugely disproportionate rate, than it makes me believe that it may be a racial motivation.

            That reminds me of my time in Iraq where Christians and Yzidis were being targeted for gangrape by Sunni insurgents. Or even more glaring, in Darfur, where the Janjaweed use rape as a weapon of war to express their desire to dominate and control their enemies. Even down to the reproductive cycle.

      • Eve

        I’m sorry to say that prison-rape jokes aren’t limited to any political stance. It seems that conservative and liberals alike make them when someone they dislike goes to jail.

        I saw prison-rape jokes on gay-rights blogs when the murderer of a trans woman was jailed.

        And prison-rape jokes are both homophobic and racist.

    • Walt


    • witless chum

      There’s a bunch of different statistics you’d want to know if you were going to look into the racial dynamics of prison rape in the U.S. For instance, the racial composition of the prison population and that of prison rapists and victims.

      If you want people to focus on that, you’d probably want to post some of them.

    • Interesting, if true. However, I’ve also heard the opposite claim made, with the added “If it was white inmates being raped by black ones, then the racist media would pay attention!” Do you have any evidence to back your claim up?

  • Prison rape happens as frequently as it does because corrections officials are willing to tacitly sanction it as a means of keeping order. One guy gets raped, his gang gets prestige and power, and the leader is the only one you need to deal with to keep order with that segment of the population. So officials can look the other way while publicly crying crocodile tears over it — and because it’s happening to inmates who have been convicted of serious crimes, a too-large segment of the public is willing to look the other way also, with the inchoate idea that the victims somehow deserve it.

    • Eve

      a too-large segment of the public is willing to look the other way also, with the inchoate idea that the victims somehow deserve it.

      And, in fact, it’s seen as part of the expected punishment of a prison sentence.

  • John Smith

    And pssst: my point was that members of the black community would be screaming bloody murder if a majority-white prison population were routinely brutalizing a black minority prison population under the knowing eye of prison staff. And, yes, I do wish the interracial character of prison rape got more attention from bleeding hearts and right-wing lock-em-up types alike.

    • Holden Pattern

      Ah. Much like the gutting of the black community by the disproportionate incarceration of black men, (so placing them into a brutal system on a number of levels under the watchful eye of prison staff) and the subsequent felony disenfranchisement laws and (often legally enforced) social stigma has really had a significant effect on actual policing and sentencing.

      Or not. Really, hijacking this issue for your reverse-racism complaint is disgusting.

    • movari

      One has to wonder though, does that say more about the disorganization and lack of “community” in the white community?

      Why don’t whites do more to protect vulnerable whites? Why don’t they speak out more about anti-white discrimination and violence?

      I know growing up as a white minority in a largely black area, I stuck with the other immigrant kids not with the regular white folk because they simply would not stand up for one another.

      It’s like all the white people whining about Black History Month because “we’re not allowed to have a White History Month.”

      Well??? White people are 65-70% of the population, if white people would actually make a move, it would happen!

  • rea

    Well, John Smith, I suppose you’re entitled to your notion that the US is controlled by evil black overlords, but the rest of us are probably more skeptical.

  • Warren Terra

    Aside from how to actually stop it, and aside from racists like Mr. Smith, the very least we can do is to acknowledge that a lot of otherwise nice people think of prison rape as a joke or as deserved.

  • mpowell

    Does prison rape as a joke really make it harder to do anything about the situation? I’m being honest here. I’ll admit to having enjoyed a prison rape joke in my time, but I’m about as extremist as you come with regards to the drug war and imprisonment issues. I don’t think a society has any business locking people up if rape is going to be a byproduct. But I don’t think the problem is that people think that prison rape is a joke. Anyways, the criminal justice system in our society would be a travesty with or without prison rape so I don’t even think that’s the most relevant issue.

    The first problem, I think, is that just due to the nature of the issue, if a politician takes a stand that is in the middle of public opinion on crime and punishment, it is very easy for an opponent to move to their right and make them look really bad.

    The second problem is that people are utterly lacking in compassion for people they don’t know or don’t like.

    There are other problems as well.

    • sam

      It wouldn’t be seen as soft on crime to take a public stand against prison torture, prison murder, or even prison drug abuse. Why would it be seen as soft on crime to take a stand against prison rape? To me the only way to see it that way is by not taking the effects of rape seriously.

    • movari

      It should be also packaged as a public health issue, because many people simply do not care what happens to inmates.

      When you look at the insanely high HIV rate for African American women, and compare that to the incarceration rate of black men, I wouldn’t be surprised if the prison rape/sex culture that’s evolved in the black community doesn’t play a role in it.

      Especially when you consider that black women aren’t particularly prone to intravenous drug use.

  • Pingback: The Problem With Online Petitions : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

It is main inner container footer text