We all know that our prisons are the final point for the socially rejected criminals and violent transgressors. We know that our prisons are so overcrowded that the Supreme Court of California issued a court order to reduce the number of inmates. We know that since there are more inmates in prison the chance of getting rehabilitated are very slim to none. And we also know that the ratio of supervision of guard to inmate is extremely high. But do we know what goes on in our prisons and jails? We know we have prison gangs, drugs, assaults, robberies, and even murders in prison.
But what happens when you mix an overcrowded prison or jail with violent, drug using, angry, abusive, gang related men with the average person who is in prison or jail for the first time. The result is an aggressive sexual act known as inmate rape. The fight against rape in our communities is doomed to failure and will continue to be so as long as it ignores the training grounds for rapists: our prisons, jails and reform schools. For too long, we have turned away from the rape crisis in these institutions, which now hold 1. 3 million men and boys.
In most of them, rape is an entrenched tradition considered by prisoners a legitimate way to `prove their manhood' and to satisfy sexual needs and the brutal desire for power. The exact number of sexually assaulted prisoners is unknown, but a conservative estimate, based on two decades of surveys, is that "more than 290,000 males are sexually assaulted behind bars every year. By comparison, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that there are 135,000 rapes of women a year nationwide, though many groups believe the number is higher. "(Mezey and King, 1995).
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