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Addressing the Challenge of Inmate Rape

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 67 Issue: 5 Dated: August 2005 Pages: 74-78
Andora Moss; Ashbel T. Wall II
Date Published
August 2005
5 pages
This article shows how the strategy that was used to counter correctional staff sexual misconduct in the early 1990s provides a body of knowledge that can be used in developing a systemic strategy to address inmate-on-inmate sexual assault.
Most of the components of the two efforts to modify sexually abusive behavior are identical: the development of a clear policy, staff training in effective ways to prevent and stop sexual abuse, inmate orientation and effective prevention programming, investigative protocols, operational issues, data collection and analysis, relationship with outside health care providers, the appropriate intervention of law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities, and strong leadership. Still, there are gaps in knowledge about factors in the incidence of inmate-on-inmate sexual assault that must be filled if strategies are to be effective. There must be an analysis of the role of race and gangs in inmate sexual assaults in order to draw implications for inmate management, and studies must be conducted to determine effective ways of dealing with perpetrators over the long term. Strategies must also be analyzed for managing victims. Considerations for special populations--such as juveniles in adult systems, mentally ill offenders, and gay and transgender inmates--must also be addressed. The effects of specific interventions on the inmate culture must also be evaluated, along with differences in the dynamics of sexual assault according to gender. Other issues to be addressed include the impact on sexual assault of different security levels and custody settings, risks to the community posed by released perpetrators and victims of prison rape, how to implement reporting by institutional personnel, and reporting mechanisms for probationers and parolees victimized while incarcerated.