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Literature Review on Rape in Prisons

Info: 6314 words (25 pages) Example Literature Review
Published: 1st Oct 2021

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Tagged: Criminology


Rape and other sexual crimes are recorded publicly in the United States largely due to trials and news reports.  However, there is another area where sexual crimes are not as publicly reported: prisons and juvenile detention centers. The rate of male on male; male on female; female on female; guards/employees on prisoners was previously unreported or not publicly reported.  These crimes were managed by the prison system internally. Historically it was considered that sexual assaults in prison were just one of those things that happen.  It was considered “the extra punishment that anyone sentenced to prison can expect.”

Prison Rape Statistics

Prison rape, broadly defined as unwanted sexual contact experienced by incarcerated men and women, has been aptly described by Robert Dumond (2000) as “the plague which persists.” In 1968, Alan Davis (1982) reported that over a 26-month period, at least 2,000 (3%) of 60,000 men in the Philadelphia prison system had been sexually assaulted. Davis famously pronounced the level of sexual assaults in the city prisons and jails to be “epidemic” (p. 108). Now 40 years later, the Department of Justice (DOJ) estimated that nationwide, 88,500 inmates (4.4% in prisons and 3.1% in jails) were sexually victimized in the previous year (Beck & Harrison, 2010). The DOJ study found that in some prisons (e.g., Fluvanna, VA), as many as 17% of inmates had been sexually victimized in the past year.

However, there was positive news in the DOJ report: numerous prisons and jails reported no or very low rates of sexual victimization. In all, the report documented that prison rape, while persistent, is not inevitable. (Mazza, “Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails: Review Panel on Prison Rape,” n.d.).

Defining Prison Rape

Identification of the Victims and Perpetrators

The defining of Prison Rape begins with the identification of the victims of the assault or those who are most vulnerable. Keep in mind though; all prisoners are at risk of being assaulted. The most likely targets are inmates who are young; new to the corrections system and easily intimidated.  First-time offenders of non-violent crimes; offender convicted of crimes against a minor; individuals not streetwise; white inmates; physically small or weak individuals; those with effeminate characteristics or known homosexuals; non-gang members; individuals with mental illness; those who have previously been sexually assaulted, not like by other prisoners or staff and snitches. (English, K., & Heil, P (2005).

The likely perpetrators can be found in all aspects of prison life.  The main perpetrators are usually prisoners themselves with the characteristics: Under 30 and older than the victim; individuals stronger than the victim; individuals accustomed to incarceration or had spent time in juvenile facilities; lived in urban area prior to incarceration; more likely to have committed a violent crime; belong to a gang or are most likely to break prison rules. (English, K. & Heil, P (2005).  Prison staff are not to be left off the list of possible perpetrators, they hold the power over inmates and use that power to obtain illicit sexual favors.

Prison Culture and Rape

Prison life has its own culture with characteristics that not many can understand.  The culture is formed from by the prisoners themselves.  When someone becomes incarcerated, they bring prison the characteristics, norms, and values from their diverse lives.  Prison life then shapes the culture due to the fact that it is an isolated and segregated society.  Inmates adapt to the life and adopt the culture of all the other inmates.  The last characteristic of the prison culture is the prison itself.  The architecture, policies, personnel and practice of the prison officials further define the life of the inmate. (Martyniuk, H (2014). Culture is a combination of ideology and rules. The rules guide behavior and ideology interprets it. Within correctional institutions, verbal messages are the single most important dynamic in the transmission of culture. New inmates do not learn how to behave in prison or to ‘think like inmates’ through inmate handbooks. Additionally, a high number of inmates are illiterate, making verbal transmission a necessity. (Martyniuk, H (2014)).

In prison, sex is both a highly valued item and a relatively cheap commodity. In the prison environment, items that are prohibited, such as sex, cigarettes, “street food,” money, drugs, and commissary, become extremely valuable. Prisoners and staff engage in trade for items they want and cannot get. (Smith, B. (2006)).  Prisoners go from criminal to victim in the prison setting.  Some engage in sexual activity willingly, others are forced to engage in the activity.

In the article “From offender to situation: The “cold approach to sexual violence prevention”, Bill Hebenton reviewed literature regarding the evolution of the sex offender inside and outside of prison and how the situational nature can predict the violence.  He noted that there have not been many studies to document the work towards prevention.  He noted “bringing in the characteristics of the offender more accurately reflects the notion of behavior as an interaction between person and environment and offers greater potential for prevention. However, the patterns of offense remain the central concern for situational prevention.” “Institutional settings offer good deal of control over activities. However, organizations are often more concerned with protecting their reputations than instituting prevention.” (Hebenton, B (2011)). 

For many prisoners sexual expression is a related to freedom. Whether they are imprisoned for short or long sentences, sexual expression, though limited, is one of few acts within their control. There is a wealth of literature on the “situational” sexuality that occurs in prison: men who have sex with men or women who have sex with women, but do not consider themselves as gay or lesbian. While incarcerated, those prisoners’ sexual expression has been constrained by the state, and thus in prison they are forced to pursue sex with partners who they may not have sought in the community. Still other prisoners seek out staff members of either the same or opposite gender in order to have sex. While prisoners’ choices are constrained during incarceration, even making the choice to have sex when it is prohibited is an expression of freedom, albeit in a situation of constraint. (Smith, B. (2006)).

Health Consequences of Prison Rape

“Studies of Prison Rape resulting in HIV have shown the likelihood of acquiring HIV.   In a study published in 2007,  the risk of acquiring HIV following a single rape incident involving five assailants is 0.21% (1 in 477; SI/MP scenario), If the victim subsequently is raped seven additional times by one of the assailants involved in the initial attack, his risk increases to 0.48% (1 in 208; MI/MP low-risk estimate). In the most extreme situation considered in the main analysis, a man who is raped eight times by each of five different perpetrators faces an average 1.56% (1 in 64) risk of becoming infected with HIV (MI/MP high-risk estimate). Overall, across the four prison rape scenarios, the average risk of HIV acquisition equaled 0.49% (1 in 206). Assuming that 1% of imprisoned men are raped while incarcerated, the average probability that an incarcerated man would acquire HIV as a result of being raped in prison equals 0.0049% (1 in 20,572)”.  (Pinkerton, et al (2007)).

In the literature review article by Kimberley Collica-Cox, it was found that nontraditional programs, such as HIV prison-based peer programming, positively affects prison behavior. Little research has been conducted on nontraditional prison-based programming; this study demonstrates that the same effects derived from traditional educational and vocational programming can be derived from nontraditional prison programming.  This research also adds to the literature on prisonization and rates of maladjustment among female inmates. The way an inmate adapts to the prison environment. (Collica-Cox, K (2014)).

With the knowledge of the growing number of HIV cases in prisons,  a literature review study concluded there is an urgent need to continue to implement HIV prevention interventions in prisons and improve the quality of life among those at heighten risk of HIV infection. Efforts to prevent HIV infection are challenged by the high rate of transmission among people who are unaware of their status. Promoting access to and receipt of HIV preventions in prisons can lead to earlier diagnosis of infection and reduce the risk of transmission. (Valera; et al (2016)).

These findings suggest that approximately 68.1 of the 1.4 million men incarcerated in U.S. prisons at the end of 2003 (Harrison & Beck, 2004) already have or will become infected with HIV as a consequence of prison rape.  Prison rape has a tremendous impact both on the prison environment and on society at large. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, makes prison sexual assault a public health concern as most of the offenders now incarcerated will be released back into society, some not realizing they are infected. Prison sexual assault may also increase violence within the prison and impose physical and psychological effects on inmates who have been victimized. These effects often further hinder their reintegration into society once released.  (Pinkerton, Galletly, & Seal,(2007)).

Mental Health issues related to Prison Rape

“In the 1990s, an important contribution to ending prison rape was a review article by Robert Dumond (1992), an academic and mental health expert with a background in corrections. With a strong humanitarian point of view, Dumond elaborated on solutions to prison rape with special emphasis given to Cotton and Groth’s (1982) model for victim treatment and staff training. He brought attention to new concerns that victims may commit suicide or be exposed to HIV and AIDS. Dumond reiterated that “protective custody”— viewed by some as a way to protect prison rape victims—isolates victims, cuts them off from services, and may put them in reach of a predator. He echoed the warnings of other researchers that untreated victims may take their rage back into the community on release. Dumond noted that a growing number of court courses were supporting the legal responsibility of prison staff to protect inmates from sexual assault. A pioneering effort to end prison rape in the 1990s was the release of the prisoner rape education program by the church-supported Safer Society Program of Pennsylvania.” (Struckman-Johnson, et al (2013))

Victims of Rape are at greater risk for suicide than most individuals.  Rape has become such a mental health issue it has a nursing diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).  This disorder is much like PTSD that the public hears about.” In the jail or prison system, it is not atypical that victims of sexual abuse have great difficulty in making the decision to come forward and report the incident. During this initial phase, when life has been suddenly disrupted by an external event, the victims may be left feeling confused, anxious, and upset, with a compromised sense of self and autonomy.” (Downer & Trestman (2016).  It can take 4 weeks before the victim is able to report due to the trepidation of the potential retribution.  In the article “The Prison Rape Elimination Act and Correctional Psychiatrists”, it is discussed by the authors the problem and need for training and education of correctional mental health providers to manage these victims. (Downer & Trestman (2016)).

In prison, sex is both a highly valued item and a relatively cheap commodity. In the prison environment, items that are prohibited, such as sex, cigarettes, “street food,” money, drugs, and commissary, become extremely valuable. Prisoners and staff engage in trade for items they want and cannot get. (Smith, B (2006) Prisoners, however, are limited in what they have to exchange. For many prisoners, the only item they have to trade is themselves. In some institutions, there is a menu of sexual practices that are bartered for common items like cigarettes, candy, chips, or a phone call.  In still other iterations of the exchange, prisoners who have money are exploited sexually and intimidated for their commissary. (Smith, B (2006)).

Correctional System Mandate

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to carry out, for each calendar year, a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape. PREA further specifies that the review and analysis shall be based on a random sample, or other scientifically appropriate sample of not less than 10% of all prisons, and a representative sample of municipal prisons. (Annual Report to Congress: Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Public Law ( 2004))

When the Act was signed by President George Bush it provided significant guidelines for the correctional system such as:

  • Establishes a zero-tolerance standard in correctional facilities,
  • Directs the Bureau of Justice Statistics to carry out a comprehensive annual statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape,
  • Establishes within the U.S. Department of Justice the Review Panel on Prison Rape to carry out public hearings concerning the operation of the three facilities with the highest incidence of prison rape and the two facilities with the lowest incidence in each category of facilities identified,
  • Charges the National Institute of Corrections with providing training and technical assistance to the field, developing a clearing house and authoring an annual status report to Congress
  • Directs the attorney general to develop grants to assist states in ensuring that budgetary circumstances do not compromise efforts to protect inmates and safeguard the communities to which they return; and
  • Creates the nine-person National Prison Rape Elimination Commission to conduct a comprehensive  legal and factual study of the penalogical, physical, mental, medical, social and economic impacts of prison rape, submit a report on the study, develop recommended national standards for the field and conduct public hearings to accomplish the work of the commission.

The passage of PREA established prison rape as a top priority in prison systems. The Act created NPREC, which was assigned to report on the nature and causes of prison rape and to recommend national standards for reducing prison rape to the U.S. Attorney General (AG). The Commission membership was bipartisan. Republican leaders in Congress chose five members: a federal district judge, a CEO philanthropist, an ex-inmate, a corporate prison lawyer, and a law professor.  (“Annual Report to Congress: Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Public Law 108-79 – September 2004,” n.d.)  Democratic leaders chose four members:

  1. an ex prison warden,
  2. a law professor,
  3. a human rights advocate,
  4. and an academic researcher (coauthor Cindy Struckman-Johnson).

The Commission varied by gender (five men and four women) and by race (six White and three African Americans). The sharp political differences among the Commissioners played out intensively in every meeting, yet the members continually sought consensus for the cause. The Commission met from July of 2004 through August of 2009 (“Annual Report to Congress: Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Public Law (2004))

Re-defining Prison Rape

The NPREC was charged with defining sexual crimes and implementing a process to manage reports or discovery of abuse in the prison system.  First they had define the meaning of the charge for all potential categories that might be involved.  The NPREC developed the following definitions: “Inmate on inmate” sexual abuse was defined as all incidents of sexual touch and penetration that occurred without the inmate’s consent, or by coercion by threat of violence, or because the inmate is unable to give consent or refuse. Inmate on inmate sexual harassment was also considered sexual abuse. “Staff on inmate” sexual abuse included sexual touch or penetration that occurs with or without the consent of the inmate that is unrelated to official duties (e.g., pat downs). Staff to inmate indecent exposure and voyeurism were also considered to be sexual abuse (NPREC, 2009b, pp. 6-7). The Commission agreed that sex between inmates and staff is never consensual because of the great power of authority held by staff (NPREC, 2009a, p. 13).

Implementation of PREA

The PREA charged the NPREC to identify ways to implement the mandate.  Several factors needed to be considered in the process.  The NPREC found inmates with mental illness were specifically identified as an at-risk group for sexual assault; consistent estimates suggest that 12 to 13 percent of prison rape allegations involve an inmate with mental illness or intellectual limitations, eight times the proportion of the general inmate population.  Specific to mental health professionals, the NPREC standards, NIC training, and related documents identify the need for specialized training for mental health and medical professionals in screening, prevention planning, allegation management, and investigation of prison rape. At the time of intake screening, pursuant to § 115.41,12 if an inmate affirms experiencing or perpetrating prior sexual victimization in the community or facility, that inmate is to be offered a follow-up meeting with a medical or mental health practitioner within 14 days of intake. (Downer & Trestman, (2016))

Correctional psychiatrists should be actively engaged in curriculum development and training efforts. They have critical roles in the assessment, management, and treatment of sexual assault survivors. (Downer & Trestman, “(2016))

There are barriers to implementing all of the requirements set forth by the PREA however.  These include:  Contractors and Unions at the privately run correctional facilities; Staff Perception of the issue; False Rape Claims; failed attempts at implementation and the failure of inmates to report the assault due to fear of retribution.  These areas have all been reviewed and articles written to discuss and define the issues.

Contractors Collective Bargaining agreements governing correctional agencies to identify impediments that may impact administrators’ responses to sexual violence, specifically in instances of allegations of staff–inmate sexual misconduct were studied.  (Armstrong, Longmire, Dretke, & Steinmetz,(2014).  In the study, several methods were utilized: surveys; literature review; interviews of employees; prisoners; mental health professionals.  This study included members from Canada and Europe in the correctional facilities. As a result of this study policy recommendations were made to facilitate the implementation of PREA.  Both the correctional administrators and Labor Representatives agreed there was a need for effective policies and procedural issues related to staff sexual misconduct.  For both sides, education and training/retrainin were agreed upon to be the most effective way to be pro-active means of defining the code of conduct for staff. (Armstrong, Longmire, Dretke, & Steinmetz, (2014).

False reporting of rape is of concern, particularly when directed at the correctional employees as the perpetrators.  The Legal Dominance Feminism claimed through faulty methodology and reporting that only 2% of rape claims by women were false.  In reality this number is higher, more so in civilian areas than in the prison arena.  Women incarcerated tend not to report due to fear of retribution by the staff or fellow inmates. (Greer, Edward (2000)).

New Issues for Managing Prison Rape

Throughout the literature, most of the topics were addressed to the male/female populations. As more and more individuals “come out of the closet”; this presents a larger problem for the prisons.  In recent literature; articles have been directed toward the Misogyny and Homophobia in both men’s and women’s prisons.  In recent years Misogyny was prevalent in only women’s prisons, but as society has evolved it now found in both.  The UCLA Women’s Law Journal article of 2010 describes the evolution of the roles of misogyny and homophobia. The article showed the correlation of the beliefs defines the prison culture that not only relates to the prisoners, but the staff as well.  (Kupers, T (2010). While many sources have cited the need for protection from predatory inmates, other factors include the human need to seek acceptance, increase status and financial profit from gang activities. In her thesis for Western Cape, .Albertse, looks into the gang population in prisons and their role in perpetration of rape.  It is a known fact that gangs are the leaders in rape crimes in prison.  Sometimes it for initiation as a member; retaliation or just for fun.  (Albertse, L (2000)).

Los Angeles County Jail segregate Gay; Transgender and race in the jail.  The issue with their determination is that it is left up to staff members to ascertain whether or not to segregate these individuals unto a secure unit called K6G unit.  The selection process is flawed in that gay men must declare they are gay in public and then answer a series of questions.  Transgender women are the only group recognized by the jail.  (Hill, T (2014). The K6G unit is also out of step with the findings of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, which the Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) established to provide recommendations for reducing rape in prisons and jails. (Hill, T (2014)).  The Commission’s report recommended that facilities consider the following criteria in housing new inmates: “mental or physical disability, young age, slight build, first incarceration in prison or jail, nonviolent history, prior convictions for sex offenses against an adult or child, sexual orientation of gay or bisexual, gender nonconformance (e.g., transgender or intersex identity), prior sexual victimization, and the inmate’s own perception of vulnerability. (Hill, T (2014)).  K6G illustrates a troubling phenomenon: gay and anti-gay forces often advance similar stereotypes of gay men-even though they do so for different reasons (Robinson, R (2011)).

Boundary Violations between staff and prisoners presents another barrier to PREA.  Due to the close proximity of the two groups, sexual misconduct is inevitable.  Even though an inmate cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship of any kind by virtue of the fact he or she is incarcerated (Smith (2008)), a growing body of literature suggests that it is not uncommon for male prisoners to initiate interactions with female staff for the purpose of establishing an inappropriate relationship.  Sometimes these relationships are sexual; they can also be for obtaining gifts or privileges that they otherwise would not be able to obtain .

Since the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (Public Law 108-79, 2003), every year BJS researchers collect data from inmates to ascertain the nationwide prevalence of sexual inmate-staff boundary violations  (Worley, Worley, & Hsu, (2017). In one annual study commonly referred to as the National Inmate Survey, researchers collected responses from a sample of 92,449 adult offenders between February 2011 and May 2012 (Beck et al. 2013). Of these, 2.3% respondents reported to be a willing participant in a sexual relationship with a staff member within the past months. In a similar yet significantly smaller study, Dial and Worley (2008) administered questionnaires to inmates within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and reported that 14% (50 of the 367 respondents) admitted to engaging in a sexual act with a correctional employee during the course of their confinement.

Studies in both the US and England have resulted in different means of dealing with the unincarcerated offenders i.e. location restrictions; electronic survelliance; registries.  Prison cannot provide this level of safety due to the legal rights of the prisoners and the confining location.

The gang culture in prison has brought with it a rise in prison rape as gangs employ rape as an initiation ritual. Contextual information on the gang culture in prison and the consequences of sexual abuse were discussed in a recent study of US and South African jails.  Gangs pose another threat to prison rape.  Gangs tend to rape individuals for not being in the gang and then others who want to be members.  According to Allender & Marcell (2003:10) the motivation driving the prison gang member is.

Where do we go from here?

In 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate established a zero tolerance standard which mandated the U.S. Department of Justice to make prevention of prison rape a top priority (Beck & Harrison, 2007, p. 5). Inmates of United States correctional institutions are presumed to be protected while serving their sentences, but this presumption continues to be questionable in spite of the zero tolerance toward this complex issue; inmates continue to be victims of sexual violence.

Offenders in Georgia undergo a thorough process of classification (Georgia, 2012). They are categorized before being placed in a holding cell (J. Doe: personal communication, 2012). Inmates are housed according to types of crime in an effort to promote safety (Cotton & Groth, 1982, p. 49). The process of selecting housing for offenders may take up to six hours because it involves cross referencing and matching several elements. Risk factors that are included in determining security categories and housing for offenders can include an individual’s history of violence, criminal history, behavioral problems, and threats toward fellow inmates. (Ware & Martin (n.d.) The inmates are also screened for physical and behavioral characteristics that may be considered feminine by other inmates. Doe stated that this system helps reduce injury and conflict in the institution (J. Doe: personal communication, 2012). This method is also an attempt to prevent sexual assault by separating violent inmates from inmates manifesting feminine characteristics.  (Ware & Martin, ( n.d.).

Prisons have the same issues as the public; gender classification and how to protect the non-confromal genders from harm.  Homosexuals; Transgenders and even women are not well protected in the prison system from rape.  Since men are the majority of the population; males who demonstrate effeminate qualities and are not gay are at risk for rape.

Moving toward a more affirmative transgender rights jurisprudence is an emerging challenge facing the U.S. prison system. Legal advocates have shown that our current system is not sustainable; functionality or the means by which prisons can prevent physical and sexual violence will be limited if lawmakers are too slow to respond. Even more important, however, is the tragedy that transgender prisoners collectively suffer from discrimination in our society and are perhaps the least among us. Although many Americans may not know that transgender people exist, they do know and likewise react to gender non-conformity. Transgender rights are an indicator by which we can gauge our moral and legal advancement. Our institutional failures implicate our legal system’s humane treatment standards. Attention and effort toward improvement, nonetheless, brings us ever closer to moral restoration. (Faithful, R (2009).

In his literature review, Russell Robinson found the decision whether or not to come out implicates the right to privacy, law should not condition protection on people coming out, at least insofar as there are viable policy alternatives. Second, legal policies help construct masculinity and Gay Identity, reflecting and reinforcing broader cultural conceptions, including the view that gay men are weak and in need of protection. General conceptions of gay men as effeminate, promiscuous, and affluent wield influence even in a context where they would seem out of place. People tend to imagine inmates as mostly black and Latino, poor or working class, and hardened by living in inner cities.  It also suggests that heterosexuals have an investment in propagating Gay Identity because it buttresses heterosexual masculinity. Although this Article seeks to illustrate how masculinity norms regulate all men, I do not argue that masculinity is inherently harmful or that we need to abolish it. Gender is such a totalizing force, structuring the way we socialize children from birth and the way that most people experience sexual desire, that I doubt that “gender-free” is attainable or desirable. A more realistic goal is to think critically about gender and seek selectively to intervene and reconstruct certain aspects of it. (Robinson, R. 2011).

Women are vulnerable to rape,but are not the largest population in prison They however face more potential rapes from prison staff than me due to the fact that most staff in women’s prisons are male. “PREA opens the door for important and often sensitive conversations, creating a degree of urgency to discussing issues of sexual safety in correctional facilities housing women and girls. This means shining the light on ways in which pathways into crime impact behavior in custodial settings. Practitioners must also illuminate the interplay of staff with the female population, bringing a willingness to recognize how staff contribute to shaping the culture in correctional facilities. Similarly, agency-level leadership must recognize the need for policy review and development that aligns with the day-to-day practice of staff working with women and girls. For years, professionals in leadership roles in women’s services have searched for effective ways to have national dialogue about sensitive issues in women’s facilities, particularly the relationships among women, and the “gay for the stay” dynamic that occurs for some women and girls. Now is the time for an intentional discussion that builds on research, experience and leadership commitment in addressing sexual behavior in custodial settings for women and girls. Knowing about the pathways of women and girls entering the criminal justice system, practitioners have the responsibility to implement trauma-informed services, train staff and make the management commitment to acknowledge that gender makes a difference. Fortunately, there are excellent resources to assist the field in shaping a gender-responsive approach to PREA.”    (Moss, A (n.d).

“The social death of prisoners is intricately tied up with sexuality and violence. It is through discourses of sexual exceptionalism, which frame prisoners as inherently sexually violent and the rest of the US population as needing to be protected from them, that the social death of prisoners is constructed. This exclusion, in turn, makes prisoners susceptible to state sexual violence—in the refusal of state protection from sexual violence committed against them, as well as in being subjected to sexual violence from state actors. PREA and the NPREC report attempt to address one piece of this—the failure of the state to protect incarcerated bodies. However, in doing so they reinforce discourses that frame prisoners as sexually violent and in need of continual policing, and that increase in policing, in turn, increases sexual violence against prisoners by state actors.”  (Jackson, J (2013).

The prison staff and their biases towards certain populations of prisoners lead to an increased risk of rape occurring.  They categorize inmates according to race, gender, characteristics, religion, and offense.  Having the power to place some inmates in sections where there is the greater risk is something that will need to change in the future.  In a study by Gonsalves, Walsh and Scalora, the overall, findings indicate that a low proportion of inmates were rated medium–high risk for either perpetration or victimization. In addition, results suggest that staff perceived risk factors for sexual violence somewhat differently for female and male inmates. Furthermore, data revealed that staff considered presentation characteristics more relevant than empirically derived risk factors when determining vulnerability to prison rape. Implications for institutional policy and prison sexual assault screening are discussed. (Gonsalves, et al. (2012).

Prisoners fail to report sexual assaults due to the fear of reprisal from other inmates; prison staff; or the law.  They also know that very few of the reports are investigated and criminal charges brought against the perpetrator.  In a review published in UCLA Women’s Law Journal,  it was determined that “sexual abuse perpetrated by prison staff causes great harms to the victims and to the community at large. Not only do victims of such abuse suffer physical and emotional trauma, these abuses also relate to serious public health problems and decreased public safety both inside and outside of America’s prisons. When these abuses occur, the door to the justice system should not be closed to its victims. Prosecutors and lawmakers must recognize the seriousness of these cases and act to protect both the human dignity of the victim and the well-being of us all.” (Colgan, B (2012).

Much of the literature review has been about the United States, Hebenton and Seddon reviewed similarities of the United States and the sexual predators in Europe.  They summarily events before they happen, but fear dictates the cautious approach taken in society today.feel that fear and logic are the two common factors of both regions.  Whether or not to constrain the predator before he commits the crime or allow the judicial system to take care of the issue is for debate.  Common logic dictates managing


Albertse, L. (1970, January 01). Gang members’ experiences of victimization and perpetration of rape in prison. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from http://etd.uwc.ac.za/xmlui/handle/11394/2214

Annual Report to Congress: Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Public Law 108-79 – September 2004. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://www.prearesourcecenter.org/file/151/annual-report-congress-prison-rape-elimination-act-prea-public-law-108-79-september-2004

Armstrong, G. S., Longmire, D., Dretke, D. J., & Steinmetz, K. (1970, January 01). Impediments of Labor Contracts on Prison Administrators’ Response to Staff-Inmate Sexual Misconduct. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://nebraska.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/impediments-of-labor-contracts-on-prison-administrators-response-

Downer, A. V., & Trestman, R. L. (2016, March 01). The Prison Rape Elimination Act and Correctional Psychiatrists. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from http://jaapl.org/content/44/1/9

Greer, E. (n.d.). The Truth behind Legal Dominance Feminism’s Two Percent False Rape Claim Figure. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol33/iss3/3/

Hebenton, B., & Seddon, T. (2009, April 27). From Dangerousness to Precaution: Managing Sexual and Violent Offenders in an Insecure and Uncertain Age. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1389104

Hill, T. (2014, January 01). SEXUAL ABUSE IN CALIFORNIA PRISONS: How the California Rape Shield Fails the Most Vulnerable Populations. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5sw7f149

Mazza, G. J. (n.d.). Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails: Review Panel on Prison Rape. PsycEXTRA Dataset.

Paul, D. C. (2017). The Prison of Culture. University of Illinois Press.

Pinkerton, S. D., Galletly, C. L., & Seal, D. W. (2007). Model-Based Estimates of HIV Acquisition Due to Prison Rape. The Prison Journal, (3).

Role Of Misogyny And Homophobia In Prison Sexual Abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://mybooklibrary.com/role-of-misogyny-and-homophobia-in-prison-sexual-abuse.html

Smith, B. V. (n.d.).

Smith, B. V. (n.d.). Rethinking Prison Sex: Self-Expression and Safety.

Struckman-Johnson, C., & Struckman-Johnson, D. (2013). Stopping Prison Rape. The Prison Journal, (3).

Thompson, R. A., Nored, L. S., & Dial, K. C. (2008). The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Criminal Justice Policy Review, (4).

Ware, S., & Martin, R. (2015). Sexual Violence Among Male Inmates in Selected Georgia Correctional Institutions. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, (4).

Worley, R. M., Worley, V. B., & Hsu, H. (2017). Can I Trust My Co-worker? Examining Correctional Officers’ Perceptions of Staff–Inmates Inappropriate Relationships within a Southern Penitentiary System. Deviant Behavior, (3).

This literature review has been written by a student and is published as an example. See our guide on How to Write a Dissertation Literature Review for guidance on writing your own.

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