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Sexual Misconduct within the Prison System

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Persons in prison are prone to and undergo sexual violence inside prisons, further rendering them transmissible diseases and distress. The penalties of sexual violence go after the person into society upon discharge. Rates of sexual oppression vary significantly by sex, age, perpetrator, and facility and question phraseology. Offensive sexual conduct involves inmates and between staff and convicts than non-consensual acts of sex (Lockwood, 2005). Sexual violence in prison is a pressing issue of public health requiring aimed interferences to put off and revolutionize its health and societal consequences, which spatially focus on low interior city regions where these people, in the long run, will return.

The main aim of this paper, as a result, is to expound on sexual misconduct in the prison systems and its products.


Prison is usually known to be a place of violence. One form of power that is frequently characterized by prison scenery is sexual oppression. Sexual oppression entails an array of behaviours from sexually offensive demeanour to non-consensual sexual attacks and has various vital consequences on public health. Rape offers an opening for spreading sexually transmitted diseases, an issue of particular trepidation in prisons, where infection rates of HIV are higher than in the overall populace (Lockwood, 2005). Sexual oppression can stimulate anger, leading to future violent behaviour either in or out of prison and dejection and actions, of self-violence, for instance, abuse of drugs, suicidal ideas and gestures.

Sexual Misconduct within the Prison System

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Sexual Misconduct within the Prison System

In jails and prisons in the United States, the action of and the degree to which sexual oppression occurs among inmates has currently acquired elevated attention (Camp et al. 2003). The descriptions of sexual pressure differ and can create problems for distinguishing sexual violence, sexual attack, and rape. Rape is described as forced vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a part of a body or foreign object. Sexual assault is defined as any undesired sexual contact in which rape or tried rape does not occur. Nevertheless, some use the terms interchangeably.

The rationales for sexual oppression in prison differ. In prison, there is a simple categorization structure amid convicts. This categorization structure uses vocabulary or jargon to classify convicts, including those who have been oppressed. Prison jargon can influence the treatment that a convict will get from fellow convicts because those labels are core aspects in the formulation of social relations (Camp et al. 2003). These expressions stigmatize convicts and are frequently impossible to get rid of them. Some of the words are fag, gay boy, punk, to name but a few.

Attributes that make an individual vulnerable to oppression in the external world also apply to the prison setting. Particular personal aspects of risk may bring about pressure in the outside world. For instance, a person’s age and sex may be an aspect of trouble for some assault. While women are at more risk than men, the age bracket at the peak of danger for both sexes is 15 – 25 years. In the prison setting, a convict may be capable of avoiding oppression by keeping away from sections exposed to such occurrences (Beck and Hughes, 2004). For instance, steering clear of unoccupied areas or areas that are not monitored may reduce the risk of oppression in prison. Convicts ought to also never agree to take anything from other convicts. Refusing to pay a perceived debt to an inmate may then result in physical victimization. However, these choices are not always easy for inmates to make.

The second a convict goes into prison; he may already aim for sexual attack (Beck and Hughes, 2004). Nonetheless, the attributes that convict a high possibility of sexual oppression are repeatedly out of the convicts’ power.

The most susceptible convict is expressed as a Caucasian, average male with a small build who encompasses young and eye-catching conduct and is most probably a one time, passive wrongdoer (Petersilia, 2003). Those who are also vital objectives are effeminate gays, transsexuals, and unconfident, inert, introverted and rational (Petersilia, 2003). The more high-risk attributes a convict has, the more probable they are to be aimed at. Convicts younger in age or who come out to be young are at high possibility too, with most persecuted convicts falling between the ages of 17 and 29 (Beck and Hughes, 2004). Being bodily or psychologically feeble may also make a convict susceptible. Might unaccompanied may not put a stop to an attack from taking place; nevertheless, convicts ought to frequently act assertively to guard themselves (Beck and Hughes, 2004).

Age is one more aspect that can manipulate the possibility of sexual attack. The legal age of rape sufferers is 20 to 24. Penitentiaries with younger convicts contain higher incidences of rape as compared to those who house elder convicts. Younger convicts are more prone to be sexually battered for several rationales. Younger prisoners have a propensity to encompass more female traits and are unacquainted with the casual policies of life in prison (Camp et al. 2003). Also, older prisoners aim at younger prisoners to create a declaration to them earlier than another prisoner has time to do the same (Camp et al. 2003). These youthful prisoners are also aimed at since they are less likely to be paying attention to other prisoners, and many demonstrate to be more faithful to their spouse (Camp et al. 2003).

An additional target of sexual oppression is a prisoner who is psychologically challenged or aged. These prisoners may not have the cognitive aptitude, self -insolence, or substantial might required to make out and deal with sexual attackers (Camp et al. 2003). There has been amplification in the figure of oppressions of psychologically challenged or aged convicts (Beck and Hughes, 2004). Additional prisoners who are at threat of sexual oppression are those who self-classify as gay. It is advantageous for these prisoners to conceal their sexual direction to decrease their possibility of intimidation.

The immoral account of the victim is an additional aspect that may bring about oppression. Those who are at a predominantly high possibility of sexual attacks are imprisoned for sex offences (Beck and Hughes, 2004). Nonetheless, the victim has a minor brutal crime than his reprobate. In several occurrences, their offence may have been the reason for their oppression, as this sort of insult is the basis for retribution by other prisoners (Petersilia, 2003).

Another rationale for sexual oppression is articulating one’s influence and power over a different prisoner, also denoted as the course of seduction. The latest prisoners may be given security, hand-outs, or commissary and are later confronted by a prisoner searching for a few sort of sexual actions (Petersilia, 2003). If a convict declines to engage in sexual doings, he must give back the hand-outs or commissary and surrender the safeguard. Nonetheless, many felonious prisoners may have recourse to violent behaviour and force to achieve involvement in sexual actions. Also, Lockwood (2005) argues that sexual oppression articulates control outcomes in the eventual disgrace by causing a man to presume a female’s function.

Beck and Hughes, 2004, explain that in women’s facilities, prison staffs impregnate women. Many of the workers also coerce the inmate into sex. However, such incidents are rarely known outside prisons. Such hurdles seem insuperable for women in prisons. Sexual assault is a way of life in prisoners, and its implications are many. For example, the guards have unlimited access to prisoners’ way of life, including where they bathe, sleep, and living environment. Such an imbalance of power leads to an increase in sex in prisons. The prisoners rely on the guards for necessities such as cigarettes, food and other small privileges. Because of such cases, prisoners exchange their bodies in return for such conditions.

Sexual misconduct in prisons ranges from the trading of sex and rapes for privileges. Guard-on-prisoner is expected, which puts several assaults unreported because prisoners are embarrassed and ashamed to come forward because they fear that the attackers will punish them. As a result, the prisoners continue living with the attacks as part of their daily lives. For them that report sexual misconduct, Lockwood, 2005, claims that they are isolated, where the isolation is sometimes physically and emotionally draining. For every four prisoners, one is sexually abused. However, sexual misconduct is common in men’s prisons than in women’s. Sexual assaults start the first 24 hours, typically when a prisoner is admitted. Sometimes eight inmates, in addition to staff, can sexually abuse an inmate. However, the power imbalance in prisoners can only be prevented if efforts are taken to educate inmates and staff on their rights and follow up on sexual abuse cases. Those who sexually assault others should be punished, detained and punished severely.


Prisoners who are sufferers of another prisoner’s antagonism and hostility are frequently positioned underneath massive emotional trauma. Offended convicts repeatedly undergo clinical elements comparable to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psychological disarray that is brought about by an acute, distressing happening that concerned bodily damage or the risk of physical damage (Petersilia, 2003). Indicators of PTSD comprise regular flashbacks (imagery, reflections, or conceptions), frequent terrifying dreams, thoughts that the experience is recurring, thoughts of misery when rendered to indications that remind you of the happening, and physiological response to such reminders. Other indicators may be categorized as forestalling and deadening expressions, such as an attempt to steer clear thoughts, emotions, actions, or situations and sentiments of impassiveness. Symptoms of augmented stimulation may also take place as well as intricacy falling asleep or having asleep, bad temper, and difficulty focusing.

To decrease the possibility of reformatory sexual oppression, penitentiary officers require concentrating on prisoners at a lofty threat. Risk aspects are often overlooked and can bring about the pressure that could have been avoided. Outlooks such as this have led to convict safeguard throughout the authorized principles of purposeful unresponsiveness. It is a convict’s right to be liberated from hurt, even though they have carried out misdemeanours.

Oppression by other prisoners may occur due to importation and dispossession, which draws attention to call for prison management to make available an opening for convicts who undergo these sentiments. Disregarding these facets of the reformatory subculture may bring about oppression, which sequentially may result in PTSD. Additionally, it is significant to guard convicts since all too frequently, they are regarded as intruders and not as sufferers.

Sexual oppression of a convict can be incapacitating and devastating, and the consequences may be aggravated as a result of the incarceration setting (Beck and Hughes, 2004). This may make a prisoner criticize himself for being sexually mistreated. This self-censure can bring about psychological misery. Many sensations are probable to run through the sufferer, for instance, feelings of a low sense of worth, a sense of disgrace, indignity and shame, terrifying dreams, and flashbacks. On top, offended convicts may undergo bodily reactions such as gaunt muscular pressure and hurt, gastrointestinal tetchiness, genitourinary disorder, incapacity and excessive poignant expressions (Camp et al. 2003). These signs start from the two stages of Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS), a type of PTSD.

Convicts who undergo PTSD or RTS on account of prison oppression have got to be given ample concentration and given a chance to look for the assistance they may require after the occurrence. Since several convicts have the likelihood of undergoing oppression and its consequences, penitentiary personnel necessitate being prepared to assist the victim during the emotions that may tag along.

  • Beck, A.J. and Hughes, T.A. (2004). Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities. Washington Dept of Justice.
  • Camp, S.D. et al. (2003). The influence of prisons on inmate misconduct. Justice Q.
  • Lockwood, D. (2005). Prison Sexual Violence. New York: Elsevier.
  • Petersilia, J. (2003). Parole and Prisoner Reentry. New York: Oxford University Press.


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1 comment

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