Monday, February 12, 2007

Prison Rape

Glenn Reynolds writes about prison rape today. That Americans tacitly approve of this by not being outraged and putting this to a stop is, to me, outrageous. I have a friend in Federal Prison right now, never broke a law in his life before being hung up by a procedural problem inflated by an over-zealous Federal Prosecutor and all I can think about is how he is prey in a predatory system. Imagine a white, pasty engineer amongst hardened criminals. He will be in prison for 18 months but his life will never be the same.

Reynolds quotes Ezra Klein who says this:

We've decided to tacitly accept rape in our prisons because we believe deeply and firmly in the guilt of all who enter -- this is just further punishment. Better yet, we're not the executors -- that such barbarism occurs behind bars is further confirmation that those we incarcerate are monsters. The assaults make us feel better, they vindicate our sentencing. And we can countenance them because we never face their horrors.

When a person commits a crime, the penalty for his crime is being stripped of his freedom and excluded from society. Living in a room with sixteen other inmates, having no privacy for any bodily function, sleeping on a smelly cot, is consequence enough. A man should not have to worry about his physical safety. A man should not worry about being raped. A civilized society does not condone this sort of vigilante justice.

Remember, too, that the guards often look the other way. A friend whose father is a prison guard said that he didn't worry about his safety from the inmates, but he did watch his back with other prison guards. At least half were dirty and the problem was, he didn't know which half. I remember a punk kid who hung out at the bars with college students where he dealt drugs. Well, he got in trouble, decided he didn't want to be on that side of the law, and became a prison guard. I shuddered to think about the "justice" he meted out. Prison guards need to uphold the safety, security and dignity of prisoners, not participate in further victimization. There are far too many crooked guards.

No one likes to think about that prospect, either.

This evil must be stopped. It is just one more way we are coarsening as a society. It is one more way we devalue life--by sucking the dignity out of the living.


Victoria Placeo said...

As a recent rape survivor this is what I think , should it matter:

Victoria Placeo

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