A special give thanks to you to the Pennsylvania Coalition against Rape (PCAR) for permitting gendergeek.org to make use of PCAR’s advocacy file entitled understanding Rape in jail (by Hallie Martyniuk, 2013) to carry out a prison Rape remove Act resource for Maryland rape crisis centers. PCAR’s original file and other resources are accessible at pcar.org.

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Understanding Rape in Prison

Sexual assault is among the most underreported crime in the U.S., through an estimated 65% unreported.<1> The truth is that sex-related abuse in detention is a widespread, systemic problem. With an ext than 7 million americans confined in U.S. Correctional framework or oversaw in the community,<2> and approximately 95% went back to the communities after serving their sentences, this is one issue culture cannot afford come ignore. Sexual attack makes correctional environments more dangerous for staff as well as prisoners, spend scarce resources, and also undermines rehabilitation. It likewise carries the potential of devastating the lives of victims.<3>

In might 2012, the office of justice Statistics (BJS) exit the findings of a inspection of previous state prisoners; 10% report one or an ext incidents of sexual victimization if incarcerated. The the inmates reporting sexual abuse, 31% were victimized 3 or an ext times.<4> The office of justice Statistics discovered that 4% of federal and state prison inmates (and 3% of county jail inmates) reported experiencing one or much more incidences of sexual victimization by one more inmate because that facility employee in the previous 12 months or since incarceration, if much less than 12 months.<5> various other independent research indicates that one in five male inmates faces sexual assault behind bars.<6> While approximated rates of sexual abuse at women’s prisons differ widely, in ~ the worst facilities, as numerous as one in 4 prisoners room victimized.<7> nevertheless of the accuracy or lack of accuracy that the statistics, studies have actually concluded that also if the incidence of sexual victimization in prisons is fairly low, the pervasive are afraid of together victimization dictated inmate behavior and also dominated a majority of inmate interactions.<8>

Several factors contribute to sexual attack in correctional institutions. Under existing conditions, over-crowding and the rising prison and jail populaces are a critical factor when discussing safety and also violence. Real estate inmates in infrastructure that were designed for plenty of fewer human being beings, operating facilities with insufficient numbers that staff, who often work overtime, and reducing program and treatment methods because of budget shortfalls each contribute to a paper definition of potential violence.<9> the has also become a national health issue with sexuallytransfer illness often going undiagnosed and inmates return to the basic population.

The term sexual assault covers a continually of habits which include rape, “date or acquaintance” rape, incest, child sexual abuse, fondling/groping, and also molestation.

Generally speaking, a sexual assault occurs when the act is intentional and is cursed by:

Physical force or threat of pressure without consent that the victim; or

Maryland law prohibits correctional facility staff from engaging in sexual contact, quality intercourse, or a sexual act through an inmate; people who hurt this law are topic to disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.<11> Sexual contact consists of intentional touching or fondling the genital, anal, or other intimate areas.<12> Vaginal intercourse is genital copulation, consisting of penetration that the vagina, even if it is or no semen is emitted.<13> A sexual act consists of oral contact with the anus, dental sex, anal sex, or penetration of a genital opening or anus with things or any type of body part that is not penis/vagina contact.<14>


Understanding rape in prison requires proponents to gain insight right into prison culture, which is fully unique.

Prison culture comes native a mix of influences. First, inmates carry into jail the characteristics, norms and values native their diverse lives. Second, prison culture is shame by the truth that the is an isolated and segregated society. Lastly, the society is shaped by the architecture, polices, and practice that the prison itself.

Culture is a mix of ideology and also rules. The rules overview behavior and also ideology interprets it. Within correctional institutions, verbal messages space the solitary most vital dynamic in the infection of culture. Brand-new inmates execute not learn just how to act in prison or come ‘think prefer inmates’ through inmate handbooks. Additionally, a high number of inmates space illiterate, making verbal transmission a necessity. Inmates find out the prison culture through conversations, gossip, rumors, and through listening come the day-to-day life of other prisoners.<15>

Prison Culture’s sex-related Worldview

“Learn come behave, yet learn quickly. Don’t gain too comfortable with people; they might be deceptive and cunning and want to manipulate you. Avoid habits that won’t be tolerated, such together debts and theft. Safeguard yourself physically and mentally. Stay strong. Take care of your own battles. Be confident and decisive. Finally, sex-related temptation rises with time; if you shot it, you might enjoy it.”<16>

Prisoners’ see on sex-related violence room radically different from that of larger society. The prison society is based upon assumptions around a person’s physical and mental weakness; victims are weak. A victim-blaming ideology exists together with a absence of sympathy for the victim’s pain and also suffering.<17>

Several studies have suggested that the fear of sexual attack shapes prison society as much as actual incidents. Interviews of inmates indigenous a mid-western maximum defense facility revealed the are afraid of sexual assault inmates feel. Fear, researchers concluded, dominated new inmate’s ide of prison life. Fear leads come isolation.


Prison culture has a defined social classification known as homosexual, however all inmates who interact in same-sex actions are not thought about homosexual. Prison society refines the classification of homosexual right into specific groups known as homosexuals, gays, queens, and straights.

Male inmate who expresses his sexuality, however does no exhibit any type of feminine characteristics.Male inmate that exhibits mrs or feminine characteristics. Gays choose same-sex relations and publically refer this choice through characteristic such as arched eyebrows and also a “gay walk.”Male inmates who room “women” and also homosexuals. All homosexuals are not queens, though.Male inmates who room not involved with the general public sex scene, however may quietly engage in same-sex behavior, attempting come hide their habits from public view.

The “Inner Homosexual”

Prison society has a distinct rationale for same-sex behavior: the “inner homosexual.” A research of inmate’s narratives caused this concept. The adhering to prisoner narratives show this theory:

“Every male is a homosexual. Every man has actually sexual fantasies around a man.”<18>

“Everyone is willing to perform something; it’s whether he’s ready to host it deep within him.”<19>

“It’s (homosexuality) miscellaneous in that individual. I don’t take credit for that. Lock are more than likely not facing whatever’s inside of them. I think there is other in you. Eventually, if girlfriend never gained locked up, you would have experimented. Eventually they’ll let themselves out of the closet. They try to hide the to stop others from learning what they yes, really are instead of comes out v it indigenous the beginning. They hide it and also it makes it look badder ~ above the person when they carry out find out. They’d be more respected if they just let others know.”<20>

“Time will gain you…” (…meaning the much longer a guy remains inside the an ext likely he’ll communicate in same-sex relations).<21>

The inner homosexual acts as an abstract expression of inmates’ same-sex habits within prison culture; the is a rationalization, an explanation. In ~ men’s prisons the is thought that homosexual tendencies are innate in everyone and also these habits may emerge on their very own or there may be a catalyst event.

Within women’s prisons, the inner homosexual helps describe inmate’s perspective toward assault victims. They think that victim of sexual attack have not accepted their within homosexual. Lock are more vulnerable to ridicule and social assault than ladies who sign up with the sex scene and have friends and also lovers watching her back. In sharp comparison to masculine prisoners, for female inmates, homosexuality appears to it is in a social adaptation come incarceration and a way for obtaining affection and attention.<22> it is not unusual for females who are heterosexual in the cost-free world, to take part in same-sex relationships in prison and also then go back to heterosexual lives following their release. Names because that this actions include, “gay for the stay” or searching for “STD” (something to do).

Within the reasonable of the jail culture, no admitting to your double sexuality or inner homosexual is a authorize of weakness. Men and also women who go into prison and admit they space homosexual top top the exterior are much more respected climate those who space “turned-out.” open acceptance of their homosexuality method in prison culture that these inmates room “true come themselves,” and also did not hide or deny their sexual preference.


Randy Payne, 21, judge of breaking into a warehouse and stealing liquor, was placed in a maximum-security Texas prison. Eight work later, he to be dead. He to be killed since he would certainly not pay convict gangs because that protection. The money demanded, together most brand-new inmates to be informed, to be sex. For this reason the gangs jumped him. He to be beaten because that over two hrs by 20 different inmates in a jail day room. The guards claimed they never saw a thing.<23>

Within prisons, us find both consensual and also nonconsensual or coerced sex-related activity. Many evidence about sexual experiences of men in prison is anecdotal or attracted from first-person accounts. The accounts indicate that numerous rape attempts space perpetrated versus young, recently incarcerated people who absence experience v violence or prison society and have couple of allies in the jail environment, such together gang or race-related affiliates.

Typically, perpetrators use some combination of deception, intimidation, implicit and explicit threats, and in some situations violence to pressure the target right into a sexually submissive role. If the individual is maybe to resist or defeat the strike during this initial confrontations, the individual establishes that that is a “man” and also may it is in left alone in the future.

If the target can not repel the assault and also his assailant(s) success in raping him, the victim is said to have been “turned out.” In jail terms, that has become a “punk” and is likely to be targeted for repeated assaults, both by the initial perpetrator(s) and others. In some instances, the victim will certainly be required to offer as a “sex slave” to men throughout the prison or to a specific prison sub-population such as a jail gang. Once a prisoner has been turn out, it is very difficult because that him to reclaim his condition “as a man.” occasionally a prisoner-on-prisoner rape is an isolated occasion used to establish dominance within the prison hierarchy.<24>

Prison culture interprets sexual violence through its context. An action of sex-related violence in one context may be taken as rape, in one more context taken as a turn-out, and also in still another context might be an action of coming out of the closet.

Prison society has its own unique view the childhood sexual violence, and how it results future assaults. Within prison culture, the id is hosted that childhood sexual abuse experiences have to have detailed knowledge and foresight to permit the inmate to prevent rape.<25>

Motivating Factors: strength or Deprivation?

Sexual attack theorists have long asserted that sexual assault is always around power and control and that sex is merely the weapon of choice. In ~ men’s prisons, “the strong preserve their feeling of manhood with sexual conquests of the weak. Sex-related threats, taunting and also assault overcome the scene into which brand-new inmates arrive.

In the male prison society, rape or the danger of rape is a mechanism for peer initiated social control wielded by the aggressors. Aggressors are the leaders in this culture and get power and respect, if the victims are feminized and also characterized together weak. The aggressor is never taken into consideration to be anything but heterosexual; his “punk” is simply a substitute for a woman. Rape in prison is about power, control and sexual gratification.”<26>

However, since the 1930s, the leading theory of jail homosexuality has been deprivation. Researchers argue the the power of deprivation, within prison culture, have the right to make directly men/women gay. David Lockwood (1980), who reaffirmed the deprivation theory in his book, Prison sexual Violence stated that the understanding of rape, as described in rape literature, has small supporting evidence in his study. Lockwood asked, “How can you cope with being sexually deprived for three years, because that two, for also five year at a time?” The worry with the deprivation theory is the it not only justifies the nonconsensual acts of sexual aggressors, however can argue the the aggressors are at some point the victims.<27>


Although consensual sex walk occur among male inmates, closer examination of the activities are likely to expose that the behavior shows up to be voluntary on the surface, the activity may actually be the an outcome of coercion and also manipulation. Inmates in ~ a male facility connect in what shows up to be consensual same-sex sexual habits often trying to find protection, security, and also financial support. This behavior shows up to be the result of the are afraid of sex-related victimization. Research study has displayed that fear of sexual assaults within male facilities is significantly higher than the actual variety of assaults.<28>

In one of the most comprehensive studies ~ above same-sex sexual behavior in masculine inmates, 65% that the sample declared that they had actually taken part in one or an ext same-sex sexual acts when incarcerated. Many of the inmates in this research self-identified together heterosexual.<29>

For jail staff, determining the difference in between consensual and also coerced sex is frequently complicated. “One that the hard things around this concern is the one go not want to get associated in a ‘lover’s spat’, however at the exact same time, you have to try and take it all claims seriously.”<30> employee interviewed as a component of the nationwide Institute that Corrections and the Moss team study felt that sometimes sexual contacts that are originally consensual may devolve into coerced activity. They said a variety of reasons for this such together feelings of shame after the initial act, embarrassment or worry about being discovered by various other inmates, and feared disapproval by staff or family.

Difficulty in distinguishing consensual from coerced sex was also related to sinner reporting practices. Prisoners frequently do not report a sex-related act until months after ~ the incident. Additionally, prisoners will recant their allegations claiming that the sex-related act to be consensual.

Protective Pairing

“He was protecting me, that knew my an initial year was tough on me. He’d make certain no one would certainly bother me anymore. We were friends, he to be so nice and also kind, and also I really believed we were just friends. Then someday he came into my cell and said, Jackie, I have actually needs and also you need to fulfill them. I’ve given you every this stuff, safeguarded you. Ns told that I’d given him stuff too and also that I believed of him prefer an larger brother, he claimed I could either perform it or he’d take it it. So ns bent over and let him do it to me...Now i just discover my own protection. Look for the downest, baddest (expletive).”<31>

“It’s better to no be a pen cushion, one pen is better. It’s out of convenience.”<32>

Some detainees will attempt to protect against or avoid rape by aligning themselves v a more powerful inmate. In this relationship, the inmate provides sexual services to a more powerful inmate (commonly used names because that inmates engaging in this predatory behavior are daddy, large daddy, papa, boss, your man, etc.) in exchange for security from arbitrarily assaults.<33> In these situations, the weaker inmate i do not care the sexual residential or commercial property of the much more powerful inmate and also may be loaned, prostituted, or also sold to others. Frequently used names because that inmates targeted together victims or prey space punk, sissy, gumpy, fresh meat, boy, gay boy, young thing, mines, etc.<34>

Bartering and also Trading for Sex

Bartering and trading sex is a usual occurrence amongst male inmates. Often, the an ext powerful inmate will offer “gifts” (such as a candy bar or cigarettes) to lure the weaker inmate into trusting him. As already discussed, trade sex because that protection likewise occurs. A grooming procedure exists that entails approaching a brand-new inmate with provides of help, and also perhaps defense from genuine or imagined dangers from others. The can be fried aim is to produce an duty for sexual task in exchange because that these things. This deliberate procedure unfolds end time and also with tiny overt pressure of violence. The grooming procedure is described here:

“Maybe castle (new inmate) room naïve. Lock don’t have an understanding of what can come about. A scheming inmate will certainly go to a naïve inmate and ask if he demands anything...”<35>

The Bottom that the Food Chain

Some prison rapes are encouraged by animosity toward the target. Persons judge of sex crimes, especially versus children, those identified as “snitches, and those who space not favored or that are perceived as having challenged a more powerful prisoner or prisoner team can be topic to brutal attacks with multiple assailants.<36>

AN evaluation OF SEXUAL assault EXPERIENCES through MEN and also WOMEN IN PRISON

In a study published in 2006 by Cindy and also David Struckman-Johnson, the sexual assault experiences the men and also women in prison were analyzed. Findings included:

Analysis the the relationship in between victims and also perpetrators proved that male inmates to be most likely to be struck by other inmates that were almost always male. One fifth of males were victimized by jail staff, which sometimes included female employees. Female inmates to be as most likely to be attacked by various other inmates, who were practically always women, as by staff, who could be male or female.Men and women were comparable in the most had actually been victimized an ext than once. Guys said they had actually been victimized an typical of ripe times in their existing facility, while women reported an average of 4 incidents.Compared to women, guys are much more likely to be intimidated with harm, to it is in physically harmed, and to have actually a weapon used versus them. Much more men than women reported the they suffered physical injury as a repercussion of a sex-related assault.

The experience of men and women are very different. Sexual assault in prison is a more violent occasion for guys than women. Males are much more likely come have better levels of pressure used versus them, to endure more physical injuries; and to experience more intimate plot of sex-related activity. Ladies were an ext likely than men to be victimized by staff who have constant and finish authority end them. Additionally, sexual activities among incarcerated women are greatly consensual:

The culture and social structure of incarcerated ladies is totally different than that that men.Women room far an ext likely to be victim of residential or sex-related violence before their incarceration.

Who space the Victims?

A ‘boys don’t cry’ society exists in men’s prisons. The solid inmate is a ‘real man’ who constantly hides his feelings and performs favor a tough guy. These qualities are much various from what wake up in everyday life in the larger society, where people need to it is in loved, require concernand compassion indigenous others, and express these to others as well.

While any kind of prisoner can end up being a rape victim, details categories of prisoners show up to be at greater risk, consisting of prisoners with pundit or physical disabilities or mental health and wellness issues. The national Prison Rape Elimination board of directors Report states:

Youth, small in stature and also lacking suffer in correctional facilities, show up to it is in at raised risk of sexual abuse by various other prisoners.Physical and also developmental disabilities and also mental disease can significantly affect an individual’s ability to duty and continue to be safe in a correctional facility. Individuals with severe developmental disabilities room at especially high risk of gift sexually abused. Your naivety, propensity to misinterpret social cues, and also desire to fit in make many developmentally disabled individuals at threat for manipulation and control by others. If they have actually previously lived in a group home or various other institutions, castle may have actually been conditioned to monitor directions from others without regard to their ideal interests or safety and may have actually a background of mistreatment and abuse by the time they get in a correctional facility.


Within the language and society of sex-related aggression in prisons across the country, we uncover a variety of football player on the scene. Some space at risk, the punks, sissies, and girls; some are violent, the rapists and also the bootie bandits; others are con men, the turn-out artists. Rapists, bootie bandits, and turn-out artists are discernible social categories.

Characteristics the Sexually wild Inmates

The qualities of a sexually wild inmate include, yet are not restricted to the following:<41>

Between the ages of 27 and also 45Medium to big build and also possessing physical strengthAggressive in natureHaving minimal ties to external family and friends and having no outside way of financial supportIncarcerated because that sex offenses or other violent offensesMore streetwise and gang affiliatedMore accustomed to jail lifeMay have an obstacle controlling angerMay display negative coping skills/strategiesMay exhibition voyeuristic/exhibitionistic behaviorDoing a considerable amount that timeEstablished himself by power and also strength in ~ the jail inmate hierarchy


Based ~ above inmates’ narratives, rapists space repellant and also socially marginalized within prison for their behavior. If they have actually social ties, castle are attached to various other marginalized inmates. Thus, rapists discover themselves in a network of marginal and also weak inmates. Together a consequence, narratives provided that rapists carry out not have actually allies to protect them. Well-connected, mainstream inmates will certainly not danger their reputation and also their affiliation with other allies to aid protect them. Rapists can uncover themselves the victim of retaliation. According to inmates, rapists carry out not retaliate once assaulted.

Inmates’ narratives ~ above rapists:

“It is like a circle, gain him (rapist) the end of the circle. Nobody desires them (rapists) in group. Castle are propelled away.”<42>

“Cowards, he gots to gain up outta here, human being gets caught, that gets approximately the yard, he gots to go or he’s walking to acquire killed.”<43>

Turn-Out Artist

Inmates’ perceptions room that a turn-out artist has actually smooth social an abilities and coaxes, often in a matter of days, his prey into sexually compromising situations. One inmate that accepts a coco bar or stamps or joins a friendly game of cards has indebted himself and the debt have to be repaid. ‘Rough turn-out artists’ use harsh forced or hazards to acquire their prey. A unstable turn-out artist escapes the brand of rapist if he’s well liked, doesn’t bully or stalk his victims, and doesn’t display mental indications of weakness. Turn-out artists move easily through the general population; have companions, and also do not protect against social interactions. Although recognized as a turn-out artist, the behavior carries no negative stigma. Prison culture does not believe that every turn-outs space rapists. Inmate narratives have actually said that a expert turn-out artist is not a rapist and also does not lug a rapist’s an adverse social stigmatism.

Inmates’ consciousness of Turn-Out artist vs. Rapists:

“OK, check out I’m going to rest it under for you. Turning out is once a human gonna come in and if you want to have actually it, you perform it by choice, rape is as soon as a person don’t want to get turned out and a dude forces himself on him, if girlfriend won’t offer it voluntarily I’m going to take it it, come rape it.”<44>

“Yes, one supplied finesse, another can use strength however the result is the same.”<45>

“Yes, it’s the same. Cause they taking advantage of you.”<46>

Rapist vs. “Bootie Bandit”

The distinction between a rapist and a turn-out artist becomes clearer in the comparison of a rapist and also a “bootie bandit.” Old-school inmates, those who have actually served years inside prisons, distinguish “bootie bandits” indigenous rapists. They speak rapists stalk their prey and do no fight because that sex if a victim resists. This supports the prison culture asserts a man cannot be raped uneven he desires to be and that a guy doesn’t have actually sex unless he desires to. Inmates said that when challenged by forceful resistance, the rapist will merely move on till he finds a much less resistant target. However, a “bootie bandit” thrives ~ above resistance come his sexual advances and does not ago off if a victim fights back. He sees the communication as a game.

Although old-school inmates distinguish between rapists and “bootie bandits,” younger inmates use the terms synonymously. Old-school inmates characterize rapists together dark, foreboding, and violent; vice versa, a “bootie bandit,” in contrast, displays a cavalier attitude. Also though a rapist and a “bootie bandit” have actually committed similarly violent sex-related assaults, the behavior of the “bootie bandit” was construed by old-school inmates together comedic, a sex-related clown figure of jail culture. Based on the inmate narratives, a “bootie bandit” seems to have actually traits native both an wild turn-out artist and also a rapist.<47>


At any given time, more than 100,000 juveniles under the age of 21 room incarcerated in the joined States, with more than 10,000 detainees under the age of 18 held in adult prisons and also jails.<48> whether in adult or youth facilities, youth detainees room at severe risk for sexual violence.

On January 2010, the federal Bureau of justice Statistics exit the national Survey that Youth in Custody (NSYC). This report represented about 26,550 adjudicated youth organized nationwide in state operated and large locally or privately operated youth facilities. Overall, 91% the youth in these facilities were male; 9% to be female. An approximated 12% that youth reported experiencing one or much more incidents of sexual victimization by one more youth or facility staff in the past 12 months. In comparison to adult correctional facilities, the bulk of employee (42%) were women.<49>

In youth detention facilities, guys are an ext likely to be sexually assaulted by various other boys, when girls are at better risk because that abuse by male staff. Choose in the adult institutions, LGBTQ youth are disproportionately victimized. In girls’ facilities, girls well-known to have actually a background of prostitution are at major risk of abuse by masculine staff.<50>

These great statistics room still taken into consideration to it is in the pointer of the iceberg due to the fact that the majority of sexual assaults are no reported. Youth confront a number of barriers in reporting sex-related violence in detention, such as fear of stigma and other assaults. Additional barriers challenged by youth include: absence of suffer in the corrections setting, and also a typical fear and mistrust the adult authority figures.

Although the juvenile Justice and also Delinquency avoidance Act prohibits detaining juveniles with adults other than in very restricted circumstances, this security does not use to youth who room prosecuted together adults.<51> A 1989 examine by a team that researchers contrasted how youth reported being treated in ~ a number of juvenile institutions, with those serving time in adult prisons. Five times as plenty of youth hosted in adult prisons reply yes come the question “has anyone attempted to sexually attack or rape you” 보다 those hosted in youth institutions. Close come 10% of the youth interviewed reported a sex-related attack, or rape attempt had been levied against them in the adult prisons, if closer to one percent report the exact same in the youth institution.<52>


A rape victim will often define the attack as “a ns of their soul” whether it is carried out by a friend, acquaintance, or a stranger. Numerous factors deserve to influence an individual’s solution to, and recovery from, sexual assault. These may encompass the age and also developmental maturity of the victim; the social support network accessible to the victim; the victim’s relationship to the offender; the an answer to the attack by regulation enforcement (or in this situation prison staff), clinical personnel, and also victim advocates; the an answer to the attack by the victim’s loved ones; the frequency, severity and duration of the assault(s); the setting of the attack; the level the violence and injury inflicted; the solution by the criminal justice system. Part victims the sexual assault will uncover they have the right to recover relatively quickly, if others will certainly feel the lasting effects of your victimization throughout your lifetime. In the consequences of a sexual assault while incarcerated, victims not only challenge the over reactions, however the really real hazard of additional violence and abuse.

Some feasible physical effects of sexual assault may include:


Much has been written around the mental trauma connected with sex-related assault. Some usual reactions include:

Shock/denialIrritability/angerDepressionSocial withdrawalNumbing/apathy (detachment, ns of caring)Restricted influence (reduced ability to refer emotions)Nightmares/flashbacksDifficulty concentratingDiminished interest in activities or sexLoss the self-esteemLoss the security/loss of trust in othersGuilt/shame/embarrassmentImpaired memoryLoss the appetiteSuicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide and also death)Substance Abuse

There are various stereotypes and myths that affect male victims’ capability to confront their sex-related assault. This include:

Men space immune come victimization.Men should have the ability to fight off attacks.Men shouldn’t refer emotion.Men reap all sex, therefore they should have took pleasure in the assault.Male survivors are much more likely to become sexual predators.

These stereotypes and also myths deserve to then lead to particular outcomes for male victims of sex-related assault, including:

Dramatic loss of self-esteem and also belief in your masculinityExaggerated self-blameFeelings the shame, guilt, angerFeelings that powerlessness, apprehension, withdrawal, and also embarrassmentFears the they won’t have the ability to protect and support their familiesSymptoms that Rape Trauma SyndromeSexual difficultiesSelf-destructive behavior (drinking, drugs, aggression)

For the incarcerated victim, some common reactions might include:

DepressionSocial tap the money – are afraid to it is in in certain less supervised areas of the prisonFear, paranoia or anxietyLashing out in fury or frustrationActing the end to gain to the minimal housing unit (RHU) or in an initiative to be transferredRefusal come showerIncreased clinical complaints and attention, particularly increased concerns around sexually sent illness (PA DOC, 2008).

Survivors of sexual violence in detention are likewise faced through the frequently unavoidable proximity of the offender and/or the offender’s friends.


Most account from prison-insiders, both employees and inmates, revealed that under-reporting is in component because complaints space either ignored or handled improperly and perpetrators virtually never challenge criminal charges.

Male victims who spoke to human Rights watch (HRW) claimed their claims were often met by insensitive policemans who told them to “be a man” and protect us or insinuated the the victims to be willing, homosexual participants. If their claims were acknowledged, they faced seclusion (protective custody) – a devastating an effect in the after-effects of abuse and one the emboldens perpetrators since they know victims are discouraged from speaking out. Victims have actually reported that the results were also worse if the perpetrators uncovered they had actually been “ratted out.”<53>

Reluctance to Cooperate

It is daunting within the prison atmosphere to confirm reports of sexual assault. Reports frequently cannot it is in substantiated though physical evidence, witness statements, or identification of the perpetrators. Inmates might refuse to send to a clinical exam or recant their original report during investigation often refusal come cooperate in the investigation is bound to an additional element the inmate culture: are afraid of retaliation.

Fear that Retaliation

“Inside, a snitch is the shortest on the totem pole and is no respected by anyone. There room two groups: 1) those in power—COs and also any officers and also 2) cons. If you’re a con, girlfriend don’t snitch on another con. If you do, then you won’t last a lengthy time.”<54>

During the NIC focus groups, staff at all levels agreed the inmates space afraid come report the they, or various other inmates, have been sexual struck due come their are afraid of retaliation by the perpetrator(s) or other inmates who object to “snitching.” In every facility, staff said that inmates who reported any kind of kind that sexual attack were topic to more violence or feared they would be the target of ongoing violence. In most participating facilities, victims might refuse clinical or mental health care and also are no obligated to cooperate with the investigation. Staff expressed worry that inmates would typically refuse the arsenal of forensic evidence.

False Reports

“So where does this start and where does this end? We had an offender popped ~ above the butt v a towel and now that is claiming sexual assault and also protection. Inmates will certainly manipulate any system because that their own gain.<55>

Corrections employee in the focus groups indicated that inmates will use insurance claims of sex-related assault against other inmates the they “don’t like;” or “want to acquire into trouble;” or as “leverage because that something else.”<56> The inmate’s an ideas may be obtaining a new cell, a brand-new “cellie” or to be put in protective custody. This false accusations are regularly frustrating come staff. Lock create extr investigative work and they make it difficult to believe inmates as soon as reports space valid. “Not knowing the validity the inmate’s stories,” was figured out as a problem throughout facilities.<57>


Profile of ladies in Prison

Women space the fastest farming segment the the incarcerated population, increasing at nearly dual the price of men due to the fact that 1985, come include much more than one million females behind bars or under the manage of the criminal justice device in the U.S. Nationally, over there are more than eight time as numerous women incarcerated in state and also federal prisons and also local jails as there were in 1980, increasing in number from 12,300 in 1980 to 182,271 through 2002.<58>

Women in the U.S. Are mostly incarcerated because that non-violent offenses with the vast bulk of offenses involving drugs, as watched in the graph at right:<59>

The price of women incarcerated for violent crimes is about fifty percent the price of men. Women room far an ext likely than guys to attack people they recognize than strangers. According to a 1999 national prison survey, virtually two-thirds of women in jail for violent crime had victimized a family member or “intimate” (spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend) or someone rather they knew. Researches of ladies who have committed violent crimes display that regularly they have actually acted in solution to abuse the they suffered.<60>

Particularly remarkable is the truth that the number of racial and also ethnic minority females incarcerated far exceeds their depiction in the basic population. The price of black women is an ext than eight time the price of white women; the price of Hispanic women is nearly four times the price of white women.<61>

Within Maryland, over there is one women’s prison, the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women, situated in Jessup. It has its very own Reception, Diagnostic and also Classification Center. This administrative security facility has maximum, medium, minimum security and pre-release housing.<62> Under the authority of MCIW is the Baltimore Pre-Release Unit because that Women, which offers work-related release and also other rehabilitative programs for females.<63>

Mothers Behind Bars

One of the most painful stigmas on incarcerated women is that they are negative mothers. Once a mom is imprisoned, the separation from her youngsters can be incredibly traumatic for all. Contact is often difficult with constraints on touching and also phone calls being limited. Women’s prisons are frequently located in remote, rural areas far far from homes and communities, making visits with family members difficult, and jeopardizing effective reunification of mothers and also their children. A national study uncovered that much more than half of the youngsters of female prisoners did no visit their mothers while they were incarcerated. An ext than 60% the these children lived more than 100 miles away.<64>

Five percent the women go into prison pregnant.<65> In 1997-98, more than 2,200 pregnant females were imprisoned and more than 1,300 babies were born to ladies in prison. In at least 40 states, babies may be bring away from your imprisoned mothers practically immediately after bear or soon after when the mother is discharged indigenous the hospital.<66> pregnancy in jail presents distinct problems. Any time prisoners have to be moved from the institution, defense becomes a risk. Stories abound about women providing birth when handcuffed or in shackles.

“Maria Jones” describing how she provided birth if an inmate of chef County Jail, Chicago, 1998:<67>

“The doctor came and said the yes, this infant is coming best now, and started come prepare the bed for delivery. Due to the fact that I was shackled to the bed, castle couldn’t remove the lower component of the bed because that the delivery, and also they couldn’t placed my feet in the stirrups. My feet to be still bound together, and I couldn’t acquire my legs apart. The doctor referred to as for the officer, however the officer had actually gone under the hall. Nobody else can unlock the shackles, and my baby was coming but I couldn’t open my legs...Finally the officer came and unlocked the impeded from my ankles. My infant was born then. I stayed in the shipment room with my baby for a small while, but then the officer put the leg shackles and handcuffs earlier on me and I to be taken out of the distribution room.”


The society of women’s prisons is vastly different than life in male prisons. In Women’s Prison: Sex and also Social Structure, the authors, Ward and Kassebaum (2007) imply women take part in a social system that offers a feeling of control and also belonging.

In this section, us will research three areas that meaningfully influence life and culture within women’s prisons:

Social and cultural backgrounds the incarcerated womenPseudo family members that build in prisonPrison sexuality

Social and social Backgrounds the Incarcerated Women

To know the culture within women’s prisons, one have to examine the resides of women before prison. Studies show us that most female inmates space poor, have fairly low level of education and vocational skills, and also are the a racial or country minority.<68> economic marginalization, histories of physical and also sexual abuse, problem abuse, and self-destructive actions are likewise defining attributes of inmate’s lives before prison.<69>

In a study entitled, Making it in Prison: The Square, the Cool, and the Life, Heffernan (1972) explained how women prisoners organize your prison identities approximately two things: their pre-prison identities and their differing adaptation come the prison subculture. Women that did not specify themselves as major criminals prior to prison embraced “the Square” orientation to jail life, and continued to organize conventional behaviors and also attitudes during their imprisonment. In contrast, females who adapted to jail life as “the Cool” became heavily invested in a prison-based identity and developed a type of act time that was based upon prison values. Finally, some women retained their street identity of the small criminal and embraced “the Life” together their layout of act time. These three studies found remarkable similarities: Prison culture among ladies was bound to gender expectations the sexuality and family relationships, and these expectations additionally shaped the method women occurred their lives within prison.<70>

Race and class crossing in predictable methods within prison walls. Gyeongju tensions from the outside communities follow inmates right into the prisons. However, study tells us that prison subcultures for women are very different native the violent and also predatory structure of the modern-day male prison. The presence of gangs and violence – central to the culture of contemporary male prisons - walk not have actually a counterpart in the women’s prisons.

Incarcerated Mothers

The majority of ladies in prison are mothers.<71> researcher place good importance top top this fact due to the fact that prison inmates with household ties during incarceration have actually lower recidivism rates and also do far better upon relax then those there is no them.

Researchers space concerned around the result on the mothers, but also on the youngsters and society as a whole with more and much more women being incarcerated because that years at a time. When a mother is incarcerated that is often uncertain that will treatment for her children. In most situations there is no dad in the home. The case is further exacerbated by the reality that there room fewer woman prisons. The median female inmate is 160 mile from their home, making contact with your children very difficult.<72> The low price of contact between mothers and also their children further erodes household relationships, which reasons psychological and also emotional damage to the child and the incarcerated mother. Studies show that solid family ties during incarceration have tendency to lower recidivism rates, and prisoners with strong family ties throughout imprisonment do better upon release.<73>

The damages done come the youngsters is probably much more serious than to the adult when a mommy is imprisoned. A number of children screen symptoms that post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorder, such as depression, feeling of anger and guilt, flashbacks about their mother’s crimes or arrests, and also the suffer of hearing their mother’s voice. Kids of incarcerated mothers display other an unfavorable effects such together school-related difficulties, depression, short self-esteem, aggressive behavior, and general emotionally dysfunction. In one examine of incarcerated mothers, 40% of the boys ages 12 to 17 to be delinquent and also the price of teenage pregnancy amongst female kids was 60%.<74>

With fathers lacking in the majority of the homes, youngsters are often left through a treatment giving situation that is insufficient or unreliable, causing further long-term damage to the advancement of the child. Because of this deprivations and also traumas, kids of incarcerated parents may be six times an ext likely 보다 their counterparts to come to be incarcerated themselves. This unwanted, unanticipated result is part of the collateral damages not only to the child, but likewise for society as a whole because of the intergenerational dangers of imprisonment (Hagan & Dinovitzer, 1999).

Prison Families

One of the most notable actions seen in women’s prisons is the effort to produce an atmosphere that in some methods mirrors their resides in general society. Far from families and loved ones, ladies in prison have tendency to build their own networks of familial ties in ~ the wall surfaces of the institutions.

Unlike the culture of men’s prison, i beg your pardon is based on power — the strong over the weak — the social framework within women’s prisons frequently replicates the women’s stays on the outside. In Women’s Prison: Sex and also Social Structure, Ward and also Kassebaum said that females in jail felt a lose of control over your lives and anxiety over the course of their prison term. In stimulate to alleviate these feelings, women participated in a prisoner social mechanism to reclaim a sense of control and also belonging. If in prison, mrs prisoners develop “pseudo families” and also relationships, offering a remedy to feelings of loss and the “affection starvation” resulting from your separation indigenous family and male partners.<75>

Within pseudo families, adaptations of classic feminine roles, such as mother, daughter, and also wife room observed. More dominant or masculine women take ~ above the gender stereotypes of masculine roles, such as husband, brother, uncle, etc. Older, created “married couples” often assume the parental duties within families. Vice versa, younger, more recent inmates come to be the “children.” other roles often encompass sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents. These relationships commonly last the duration of a women’s incarceration, but roles are flexible and can change over time.

These make-believe family members are rarely connected with homosexual behavior and also membership is infrequently for sex-related gratification. Instead, member provides many of the attributes of a timeless family including financial assistance, security, protection, companionship, affection, attention, status, prestige, and acceptance. Prison households are often encouraged by managements for your social control aspect – keeping members the end of trouble. Within this families, relationships can come to be quite intimate and also may encompass touching or hugging. However, in a climate whereby homophobia often exists, women are fast to establish that your relationships are sister-sister or mother-daughter, etc.

These pseudo households have been documented in researches of women’s prisons dating earlier to the 1930’s, offering insight right into women’s requirements for familial ties and also close an individual relationships.<76> Interestingly, comparable behaviors were additionally observed in female detainees in concentration camps during human being War II.

Although sex in ~ prison may be consensual, sexual task of any kind is versus the rules within Maryland prisons.

Prison Sexuality among Female Inmates

Prior come a discussion of sexual assault in women’s prisons, it necessary to clarify the according to studies, the majority of sexual task among incarcerated women is consensual.<77> A irreversible study of women in a California women’s facility proved that most of the women participated in a complex system that interpersonal relationship with other inmates based upon emotional, material, sexual, and also familial overtones.<78>

In a random sample the inmates, 65% had actually taken component in one or an ext same-sex sex-related acts if incarcerated. Ironically, most of the females (78%) established themselves together being heterosexual.<79>

However, it can not be assumed that all sexual acts occur among female inmates there is no coercion. Years of studies reported that inmates would usage their sexuality to protect against beatings and also reap the financial benefits the homosexual behavior. A clear distinction between consensual and coercive sex fades right into ambiguity as soon as a coerced inmate appears to consent in exchange for canteen goods or protection. More will be discussed about coercive sexual habits in the following section.


Many woman inmates space victims of sexual abuse by staff, consisting of sexually attack language, masculine staff emotional inmate’s breasts and genitalia as soon as conducting searches; male employee watching inmates when they space naked; and rape.

Academic experts in the area that female prisoner subcultures have recently acknowledged the possibility of female prisoner sex-related assault. Two types of sexual assault/coercion have arised in the literature, inmate- on-inmate and also staff-on-inmate. Few existing studies address the prevalence and also nature of inmate-on- inmate sexual coercion/assault among female inmates return statistically that is the larger problem.

Inmate-on-Inmate sex-related Coercion

The very first data on sexual coercion among female inmates come from 1994 and 1998 studies, both by Struckman-Johnson.<83> Within their studies, forced was defined as pressured or forced sexual contact of one inmate within a prison facility. The researchers found that sexual coercion prices reported by female inmates varied amongst institutions indigenous 6–19%.<84> Incidents explained by the women, to be classified by the researchers. The sexual coercion ranged indigenous “pressure tactics” and genital emotional to “force tactics” such as gang rape. Rape rates for women differed from 0 - 5% of the mrs offender population. Thus, most of the sex-related coercion incidents were committed by other women offenders that fondled, seduced, or in which method pressured ladies inmates right into oral and/or quality sex.<85>

Staff-on-Inmate sexual Assault

Within the previous 10 years, establishments such as Amnesty International and Human civil liberties Watch Women’s legal rights Project have actually increased attention to woman offenders that were sexually coerced or sexually struck by correctional staff. In 1995, a examine asserted the women prisoners are more likely to it is in sexually abused by employee than space male prisoners.<86> In 1996, The human being Rights clock Women’s Rights project did an extensive study the revealed the degree of guard-on-inmate abuse together “staggering.” This report is astonishing in that graphic explanation of everyday experiences of females incarcerated in U.S. State prisons. The complying with is a an introduction of the report’s findings:

“The custodial misconduct recorded in this report takes many forms. We uncovered that masculine correctional employees have actually vaginally, anally, and also orally raped mrs prisoners and also sexually assaulted and abused them. We discovered that in the course of committing such gross misconduct, masculine officers have actually not only offered actual or intimidated physical force, but have likewise used their near full authority to carry out or deny goods and also privileges to female prisoners to compel lock to have sex or, in other instances to reward them for having done so. In other cases, masculine officers have violated your most straightforward professional duty and also engaged in sexual contact with female prisoners lacking the use of hazard of pressure or any material exchange. In addition to engaging in sexual connections with prisoners, male officers have used obligated pat-frisks or room searches come grope women’s breasts, buttocks, and vaginal areas and to view them inappropriately if in a state that undress in the housing and also bathroom areas. Masculine correctional officers and also staff have additionally engaged in constant verbal degradation and harassment of woman prisoners, therefore contributing come a custodial setting in the state prisons for females which is frequently highly sexualized and also excessively hostile.”<87>

The frequency the rape in jail is very difficult to determine. Rape is one underreported crime, in general, however in jail it becomes an ext so. Human being Rights Watch has stated, “One of the greatest obstacles to the eradication that custodial sexual misconduct is its invisibility.”<88> Conservative approximates conclude that at least 13% of all inmates have actually been sexually attacked while in prison. Other studies show that up to 27% the women space sexually struck while in custody.<89>

Why Don’t females Report?

Information excerpted indigenous the letters of ladies inmates suggests that the incarcerated women space desensitized come the interpretations of coerced sex. As result of a high percentage of females who have actually a past background of sex-related assault and also molestation, this women may be overlooking the truth that they have actually been coerced into sexual plot or sexually assaulted. In a 1991 research by the U.S. Department of Justice, 43% that incarcerated ladies in the unified States had a history of abuse; 32% said the abuse occurred before the age of 18.<90> Rape during adulthood is also prevalent among incarcerated women, with approximates as high together 25%. Many of these women report multiple previous traumas.<91>

“Most have actually no ide of a healthy relationship to start with, and thus perform not acknowledge coerced responses. This I’ve ascertained via conversations with other women. The saddest component...is the woman prisoner basically accepts those relationship behavioral problems in prison, and also out in society, together ‘okay.’”<92>

In women’s prisons, the innate imbalance that power in between inmates and also guards is compounded through the cross-gender imbalance the power in between men and women. Male correctional police officers are responsible for almost every aspect of the female inmate’s life, and also thus exert enormous power over the individual. One of the more frightening facets of rape in jail is the inmate has actually no method of escaping her rapist. All over she goes, the officer that raped her has accessibility to her. This ever-present contact also serves come reinforce the fear of retaliation if the woman reports the rape.

The are afraid of retaliation is significant. Females in prison have much come fear, due to the fact that their rapist (if that is staff) has practically absolute strength over them. Human Rights Watch adhered to up your report on sexual abuse behind bars by evaluating what taken place in among the Michigan prisons they criticize in their report 2 years prior. They listed that almost all of the ladies they had previously interviewed who had actually reported their rapes had faced retaliation for doing so. Sometimes, the officer who struck them would straight retaliate, however often he would certainly convince other officers to retaliate as well, creating less skepticism of the individual guard. This retaliation would certainly take the type of disciplinary acts for violations that never occurred, loss of “good time,” linguistic harassment, loss of privileges, threats, and added abuse throughout pat-frisk searches. The women that reported sex-related abuse in prison frequently were even prevented from see their youngsters when lock visited. In light of the severity that the retaliation versus women who reported sex-related abuse in Michigan’s prisons, that is basic to understand why this crime is so seldom reported. Yes, really retaliation may not also be essential to stop women native reporting. The threat may be enough.

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While some sexual relations in between correctional staff and inmates occur lacking any type of threat, bribe, or coercion, these stay problematic as well. The strength correctional employee holds over all inmates makes any type of true consent impossible. Women in prison do not have their freedom. The correctional police officers do. Ladies in jail are greatly women the color. The correctional police officers are mostly white. Ladies in jail are largely ill-educated and also poor. The correctional policemans are not. Prisoners are female. Many correctional police officers are male. These room systems that hierarchy, and also the ladies in prison space at the an extremely bottom of each of these.<94>