September 29, 2005

Band Aids on an Epidemic

by PG

I finally finished a post that I started over a year ago and had forgotten until today, on the question of making arbitrary abuse by guards or fellow prisoners part of the punishment for having committed a crime or being under suspicion. The reminder came from Milbarge's post about whether we should take the probability of assault by other prisoners into account in determining the length of sentence and location of its being served.

Americans accept prison rape too casually, but we need a more global solution than simply reducing the sentences of the "pretty" ones, or those whose crimes make them more likely to be victimized. Prison guards have a limited ability to prevent assaults from occurring within the cell, but in that case we should be housing likely victims away from probable perpetrators, and guards should be held liable for failing to deal with assaults that occur in the general environment. In other words, no one should be getting raped within sight or hearing of an authority figure.

On the other hand, we can't make a good assessment ahead of time of who the probable perpetrators are, though I admit to basing that mostly on The Shawshank Redemption, where the rapists were a weaselly group of men who committed their assaults by force of numbers rather than individual strength.

September 29, 2005 09:56 AM | TrackBack
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