Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 is the first federal law in America to ever tackle the issue of prison rape, which existed ever since the conception of the modern prison system, but has been glanced over by the society and the legislative bodies. Now, more than a decade after the introduction of the law, it is possible to analyze its effectiveness, and review its policies through the prism of social work, efficiency, and morality, by using the New York prison system and Riker’s Island in particular as an example.
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The USA has the largest prisoner population in the world. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics for the year 2015, over 1.5 million prisoners were held in the US state and federal correctional facilities (“Prison Rape Elimination Act,” 2017). At the same time, the USA cannot claim their prisons to be safe for the inmates. Prison rapes and sexual assaults have been plaguing the state correctional systems for generation, the earliest statewide reviews dating back to 1974 (Jackson, 2013).
Rape is a horrible crime that damages the victim both physically and psychologically, leaving an imprint on the person’s psyche and preventing them from returning to normal lives after serving their sentence. As such, these crimes are not only atrocious but also counterproductive to the very idea of correctional facilities, as instead of correcting, they traumatize. According to RAINN statistics, the yearly number of rapes in American prisons estimates around 86,000 cases, with more than 60% of them being committed by prison staff (“The criminal justice system,” 2010).
The issue of prison rape is commonly ignored by government authorities, so much that it had become a widely-accepted fact. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 was largely brought upon by a bipartisan coalition of human rights organization, social and religious leaders, professionals in the field, and legislative forces, which aimed to severely reduce the numbers of prison rape, create working mechanisms for reporting such crimes, punishing those who commit them, and counseling the victims (Jackson, 2013). Now is the year 2017. Over 14 years have passed since the Act was adopted and implemented. The purpose of this paper is to thoroughly analyze the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 and its effectiveness by using the New York Prison system as an example.
Significance of the Problem
The problem of prison rape is a national concern, as the country has the largest prison population in the world. What happens in prison not only defies all basic laws and human rights but also negatively affects the rest of the society when these prisoners are released, as they harbor physical and psychological disorders that would inevitably resurface and prevent them from returning to normal life.
From the perspective of social work, this problem falls directly under its area of responsibility. According to the social work code of ethics, the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to and address problems in living.
Definition of the Problem
Prison rape is a colloquial term used to describe any sort of unwanted sexual advances or assaults happening within the confines of a prison, correctional facility, temporary restraining area, etc. PREA defines the word “prison” very loosely, meaning that any facility or detention area used by the law enforcement agencies with a purpose of restricting a person’s mobility can be described as prison rape (“PREA / Offender sexual abuse,” n.d.).
Prison rape can be conducted either by guards or by inmates. However, recent studies show that guards conduct over 60% of prison rapes. Bureau of Justice Statistics say that gay and transgender prisoners are at greater risk of facing statutory rape than their male and female counterparts – 59% of transgender prisoners in male prisons have reported being sexually harassed at some point during their incarceration (“Prison rape elimination act,” 2017).
In youth prisoners, around 13-15 percent of them identify themselves as gay or queer. This group is stated to be more prone to being harassed by both inmates and staff. In addition, according to BJS, female prisoners are more often harassed than male prisoners, with the percentages being 11.4% versus 8.2% (“Prison rape elimination act,” 2017). Nevertheless, the total number of male prisoners that were sexually assaulted during their incarceration severely exceeds that of any other gender groups, since the majority of prison population remains predominantly male.
While prison rape has been a long and enduring tradition on many prisons around the world, the general public’s awareness of the fact is relatively recent. This is explained by the fact that rape is a very personal offense that was rarely reported, and in the case, it was reported, the police rarely investigated it. This created a rift between the prison population and the rest of the society – everyone who had ever been to prison knew of prison rape, but never told about it to anybody.
The first major breakthrough happened in 1974 when researchers Carl Weiss and David Friar stated that in the next 20 years, over 46 million Americans would be incarcerated, and out of that number, over 10 million would be raped (Reid, 2013). This was the first major statement about the severity of the situation in the US prison system that got major attention from the press and the society in general. Since the year 1974, the number of prisoners in the American correctional facilities increased from 161 residents per 100,000 citizens to around 700 prisoners by 2012 (“Prison rape elimination act,” 2017). Thus, the amount of potential for power abuse and prison rape grew.
Outcomes of Earlier Efforts to Solve the Problem
Due to the fact that there was little to no research or coverage did about the issue of prison rape, the USA never saw a widespread program or effort to solve the dilemma. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 is the first United States Federal Law that deals specifically with prevention of prison rape. This law was predated by the Custodial Sexual Abuse Act of 1998, which was removed after the opposition from the prison guard unions (Jackson, 2013). PREA outlines all the major rights and procedures available to the prisoner and establishes a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual assaults. In addition, the act promotes in-depth studies of prison rapes in different prisons, its gradation by gender and sexual orientation, and states that sending a prisoner to a facility where their safety and protection cannot be guaranteed.
This act received the Second Chance Amendment in 2007, which tackled the issue of rehabilitation of the prisoners once they were released from correctional facilities and administrating grants towards programs that would supply these prisoners with welfare, housing, and jobs, in order to reintegrate them into the society.
While this act had been established with massive support from the community and numerous human rights organizations and foundations, such as the Focus on the Family foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, the critique on its implementation has been mounting up ever since it was introduced into the system.
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Purpose of the Review
The purpose of this review is to identify all the major problems currently present within the Prison Rape Prevention Act of 2003. As this is the main federal law implemented for over a decade, and the only instrument for prisoner protection, it must be ensured that its implementation is effective. Various flaws that have been highlighted over the decade severely reduce the effectiveness its implementation (Friedmann, 2013).
As a result, prisoners suffer, and perpetrators of prison rape continue working in prison facilities, assaulting some and endangering others. It is the duty of every social worker to weigh in on the subject and promote strict and just measures in order to protect the prisoners and ensure their physical and psychological safety. As numerous government officials in various interviews stated it, sexual assault is never acceptable or legally approved, punishment for a prisoner, no matter what the crime. As it is a federal law, this review will focus on the situation in New York City and Riker’s Island (Wynn, 2010).
Before starting to talk about Riker’s Island, we would need information about how it works. Wynn (2010) describes the prison from the inside out, including the number of prisoners, their division, the facilities available at Riker’s Island, and, of course, all of the problems present within the prison. According to Wynn (2010), the main issues on the island stem not only from the relative seclusion of the island from the rest of the world, but also from passivity and disinterest of the guards, and the overly large population of inmates, which leads to gang wars, beatings, and prison rape.
National Institute of Corrections provides an up-to-date manuscript of the Prison Rape Elimination Act as well as offers an official view on the policies of this act and how they are implemented. This source serves as the basis for this paper’s review, as its purpose is to review the efficiency and implementation of these policies and to offer constructive criticism and recommendations that would contribute to the improvement of the situation (“PREA / Offender sexual abuse,” n.d.).
After establishing the problems existing within a typical prison such as Riker’s Island, and analyzing the current iteration of PREA, it is important to analyze the problem from the perspective of the victim. Reid (2013) highlights some of the more prominent problems in PREA implementation policies or lack thereof. By sharing a number of scathing stories and cases in regards to prison rape, the author makes a statement that PREA, while looking good on paper, makes nothing to actually alleviate the situation for many prisoners.
In numerous cases, the law enforcement is reluctant or unwilling to cooperate and investigate the cases of prison rape, as it was demonstrated by showcasing all of these examples. What the article also demonstrates is the multitude of ways a guard can coerce or intimidate a prisoner into silence. These factors, combined together, put a significant deterrent to the implementation of policies listed by the PREA.
National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Report (2011) features a list of findings that are critical to the outline of this report, as they highlight all the major issues currently happening in the federal prison system, that allow the continuous existence of malevolent practices such as prison rape, and other related offenses. These findings state that certain individuals are at higher risk of being raped than others, due to either appearance, character, race, gender, or sexual inclinations.
Other than that, the report acknowledges that many victims are reluctant or unwilling to file a report against the perpetrators, whether out of fear or self-induced feelings of shame. This source is reliable and academic, meaning it can be used to accurately represent the situation in most prisons, and the results of this report could be extrapolated towards New York prisons and Riker’s Island in particular.
Some of the researchers cast a negative light on the effects PREA had on the prison population. Jackson (2013) addresses the recommendations often given in regards to PREA, that in order to make the prisoners safer, more control should be invoked upon them, and not less. The author takes a distinctively opposing view of the situation and claims that giving the government and the law enforcement, even more, control than they already have will make the situation worse, as the government and the prison authorities proved themselves untrustworthy with protecting the prisoners from being beaten and raped.
She argues that the systematic rape is one of the ways the state enforces its control over the prison population and that increasing control in order to prevent sexual assaults from inmates will inherently increase the amount of abuse received from state actors. The article suggests expanding the autonomy for prisoners and allowing them the ability to negotiate and engage in sexual relationships while in prison, thus supporting a framework opposite to that of PREA. The importance of the article to this research is that it offers an opposing view to the typical solutions offered to fix the issues with the Prison Rape Elimination Act often promulgated by various members of the government.
After looking at the issue through the eyes of the victim, it is important to understand the motivations of perpetrators as well. Miller (2004) gives a perspective into the mind of both the victim and the perpetrator, and offers explanations as to how perfectly good and decent people can be turned twisted and evil by the surrounding environment. One chapter, titled “A Situationist Perspective on the Psychology of Evil: Understanding How Good People Are Transformed into Perpetrators” by Philip G. Zimbardo, is of particular interest to us.
The contents of this chapter could be summarized with a quote: “While a few bad apples might spoil the barrel (filled with good fruit/ people), a vinegar barrel will always transform sweet cucumbers into sour pickles – regardless of the best intentions, resilience, and genetic nature of those cucumbers.” This conclusion resonates with the previous article mentioned in this literature review, which states that tightening the control will not necessarily stop prisoner rapes, as prisons in general eventually corrupt even the most well-intentioned people to commit atrocities. This point is very important to remember during the analysis and development of recommendations for PREA implementation and policies.
The RAINN organization, which is one of the largest anti-sexual violence organizations, with an interest of providing the most accurate data on the current state of affairs regarding prison rape, offers scathing statistics in regards to prison rapes committed in the USA. According to RAINN (“The criminal justice system: Statistics,” 2010), only one third of all prison rapes is getting reported, and out of approximately 300 perpetrators, only 6 go behind bars. This statistical data is useful for this investigation as it allows cross-checking data with the information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Bureau of Justice Statistics (“Prison Rape Elimination Act,” 2017) provides information on the total number of prisoners, the number of reported rapes, estimated unreported rapes, and their division by gender, sexual orientation, and race. This data is important for our research, and it comes from a government source. When compared to data received from the RAINN foundation, it showcases the depth of the problem, as it is accumulated mostly from reported rapes, which, according to RAINN, are a minority.
The press has been highlighting the issues with prison rape committed on Riker’s Island for quite a long while now. Scassia (2016) addresses the situation on Riker’s Island, and the actions (or lack thereof) currently taken by the prison’s administrations in order to lessen the number of rapes and ensure the protection of the prisoner population of the island. Due to a lack of contemporary academic information about Riker’s island and prisoner rape, press articles are the next reliable sources of information, as they are expected to hold a modicum of credibility and can be held responsible for providing misinformation.
Some press articles offer a surprisingly in-depth research on the subject of PREA and its effectiveness. Friedmann (2013) analyzes PREA from many different perspectives. In particular, he reviews the history that led to the current PREA standards, criticism of the proposed standards, costs to implement PREA, PREA enforcement provisions, staff-related issues, private contractors, prison litigation reform act, standards for correctional agencies, and many other topics.
It is a wholesome analytical article backed by numerous sources and citations related directly to the PREA and the primary stakeholders in the system. The information provided here can be implemented to answer numerous questions throughout the paper. The article is written relatively recently, and thus the information provided in it can be considered accurate and trustworthy.
Assessment of Past Policy Efforts
Although the problem of prison rape existed in America since the prison system’s inception, very little was done in order to pass any laws to directly prevent prison rape. Since past policy actions were virtually non-existent, so there is very little to assess. The only document worth mentioning is the predecessor of the PREA, which is the CSAA – the Custodial Sexual Abuse Act. Although it was proposed in 1998, it did not pass the opposition from prisoner guard unions, thus has never been implemented (Jackson, 2013). Thus, the Prison Rape Elimination Act is the first of its kind in the USA, with no past history of successful past policy efforts.
Significance of the Conflict
In New York City, the problem of police brutality and prison rape attracted plenty of attention from the public and the press, due to the never-ending infractions happening at Riker’s Island. New York prisons were rated as some of the highest rates of prisoner sexual abuse in the entire country, ever since 2011. This reputation was preceded by an array of lawsuits filed against guards, particular guards at Riker’s Island, which became infamous for sexual abuse, gang wars, and violence between inmates and guards.
Even though more than a decade has passed, PREA is still not implemented state-wide, as the transition is still going. For the majority of the prisons, according to Prison Legal News, the PREA remains a recommendation rather than law, with the only incentive to follow PREA being a grant offered to those facilities that follow these guidelines.
Human suffering in the American Prison system is significant and entirely preventable. This is why the conflict generated by the ineffectiveness of PREA is significant and requires immediate attention. Reformation is necessary, in order to prevent this malpractice from happening and returning correctional facilities to what they should be.
Need for Analysis
PREA as a policy needs to be analyzed from several perspectives. Some of these include why the policy takes so much time to implement, its non-obligatory status in several states, and the controversy of some of its proposals, concepts, and measures. Since this is the first set of federal laws meant to directly prevent prison rape, it is bound to have flaws, which should be detected and fixed in the next editions and versions of this system. These are the primary issues that need to be addressed in the analysis sections and will be elaborated on further.
Implementing the Policy
Legislative, Judicial, and Regulatory Instruments
From a legislative perspective, PREA operates under the United States Department of Justice Mandate. Any additions to the existing set of laws have to pass Congress and be voted on, as it happened with the Second Chance Act of 2007. As the law itself was proposed by concerned groups and human rights organizations, it is possible to submit research and analysis for review to one of those and promulgate change of the current document in such a way. From a legislative perspective, PREA serves as a blanket for all initiatives to prevent prison rape in governmental facilities.
When it comes to judicial instruments and investigative authority, PREA is used as a framework for the investigations of prison rape by numerous agencies operating under the Department of Justice. Although PREA exists and there are several supportive organizations meant to help the prisoners out in the case of rape, there is no dedicated organization under the mandate of DOJ that investigates and prosecutes prison rape alone – it is usually handled by the state Department of Corrections. This department assigns an inspector to investigate any reported cases of prison rape (“PREA / Offender sexual abuse,” n.d.).
PREA’s regulatory functions are delegated to the Prison Rape Elimination Commission, which has the authority to investigate prisons and take note of their effectiveness in preventing prison rape. In addition, PREA obligates all the prisons following it to send out yearly reports in regards to incidents of prison rape to ensure that the number of rapes is kept to a minimum. This commission operates under the authority of the National Institute of Corrections, operating under the state Department of Corrections (“PREA / Offender sexual abuse,” n.d.).
Ambiguities, Conflicts, Problems, and Contradictions Related to the Instruments
The greatest ambiguities and problems related to PREA and its implementation lie in the fact that in many cases it was not implemented at all, or implemented in name only. Numerous researchers and reporters state that, in regards to prison rape issue, very little had changed for the prisoner, as they are still finding themselves unable to stand up for themselves and report the crime, fearing not only retribution from the inmate or the guard that committed the assault but also inhumane treatment at the hands of the investigative facilities.
PREA’s recommendations for keeping the prisoner safe through isolation are understood very broadly, and in most cases, the prison authorities use solitary confinement as the means of “protecting” the prisoner, instead of removing the alleged culprit from duty pending the investigation of the charges (Jackson, 2013).
Other controversies in regards to the instruments proposed by PREA standards in order to prevent prison rape include the fact that they expand the prison’s authority over prisoners rather than diminish it. Placing cameras in isolated spaces or places meant for personal hygiene, such as showers or individual cells, invades a prisoner’s privacy. It gives prison guards tools to keep an eye on the prisoner 24 hours a day, even when in some situations they should not have the right to do so. As argued by Jackson (2013) and supported by the theoretical framework in Miller (2004), expanding the authority of prisons over their guards will make power abuse grow instead of falling, as prisons are environments that have the potential to corrupt even the most benevolent of people, in time.
Lastly, some researchers have noted that in some cases PREA was turned against the prisoners for no good reasons, for relatively innocent gestures such as hugging a friend or touching another’s neck or similar gestures. Misinterpretation of signs of genuine affection for unwanted sexual advances contributes to the prisoner feeling of isolation and alienates them from other inmates, making longer sentences harder to bear and instilling an atmosphere of hostility and distrust (Jackson, 2013).
Evaluating the Policy
PREA has come under criticism for several of underlying assumptions behind the act. As stated by Jackson in her critique of PREA, the document assumes several things, in particular that prisoners of color are more inherently violent and sexually abusive that white prisoners, that LGBTQ prisoners are more likely to become assaulted and prison raped, and that the authorities will act in a way to protect and secure these prisoners from being raped (National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, 2011).
The second assumption the document makes is that the increased levels of surveillance would be a benevolent thing as it will increase the modicum of control over the prisoners and that this kind of control will always be benevolent in nature. In addition, in the descriptions of its working mechanisms, PREA largely assumes that prisoners will actively report the crimes, without being intimidated by potential consequences in case they are not believed, or if the investigation is not performed properly. The document offers no criteria upon which to judge the effectiveness or thoroughness of the investigation. As practice shows, in particular on Riker’s Island, investigations lead by the state agents tend to lead nowhere unless the incident gains public attention and is backed by a strong legal attorney (Reid, 2013).
Lastly, PREA assumes that in every case, that any intervention on the part of the state and the law enforcement institutions will be perceived as inherently benevolent and not violent, which is not the case. As noted by Reid (2013), in many cases prisoners are afraid of investigations, as the standard procedures include them being isolated in a “hole” for months, depending on how long investigations go.
Effects on Roles and Key Stakeholders
The document identifies three groups of stakeholders in the event of prison rape scenario – the prisoners, the jail administration and staff, and the investigators from the Department of Corrections. In theory, the document is supposed to provide more security for prisoners, limit the ways guards and inmates can force themselves on others, and provide ample tools for the investigators to establish if the assault took place and punish the perpetrators accordingly.
While some of these notions should work, at least in theory, the overly lengthy implementation times for PREA standards have, in numerous cases, prevented them from being fully followed. In New York City, for example, PREA guidelines were adopted only in 2013, and are still far from being fully implemented due to the associated costs and procedures (Friedmann, 2013). In many states PREA is not considered obligatory, as the only thing prisons have to lose in case of noncompliance is the additional funding received for maintaining PREA – approved security measures and procedures.
While PREA framework suggests that its purpose is to increase safety for the prisoners, it was observed that what it does is give more power and authority to the jail or prison officials while curtailing a prisoner’s rights for privacy.
Conflict among Key Values
The main conflict between key values in PREA is illustrated through the fact that the law has a purpose of protecting the prisoners from offenders, who, in most cases, tend to be prison guards rather than inmates. Statistics show that in most cases (over 60%) it is the guards who are the perpetrators and not the inmates, and the percentage is even higher for high-security prisons in New York, particularly Riker’s Island (Wynn, 2010). At the same time, PREA suggests giving the guards more instruments to supervise and control prisoners.
Another conflict arises from the needs to protect the prisoner, as many testimonies mention prisoners being afraid of reporting assaults due to the procedures that entail safety. So, in other words, things and measures proposed by PREA that are supposed to make prisoners feel safe and comfort them after a sexual assault, in reality, turn against the prisoners, so much that they would rather stay silent than endure months of solitary confinement while the investigation continues.
Implications of Issues
There are several implications of the issues mentioned above. The first implication is that PREA does not work as it should because prison authorities are reluctant and hostile towards the transparency that PREA suggests by demanding to send yearly reports on prison rapes, something that the authorities would rather avoid in order not to ruin their facility’s and their own reputation.
Another unfortunate implication is that, according to Jackson (2013), the state is looking to further expand the authorities of the prison guards in order to facilitate the so-called “Social death,” of prisoners, making them inept at continuing social life outside of the prisoners and turning them into malleable and obedient tools for the government.
Lastly, while PREA claims that statutory rape is a completely avoidable situation that must be fought against, the existence of a certain qualitative minimum of prison rapes suggests that despite PREA’s best intentions, prison rape is on its way to becoming institutionalized and accepted as inevitable in prison settings.
Conceptual Framework: Role Conflict
The current concept of PREA and prison jurisprudence suggests a conflict between the prisoners and the guards since the latter are expected to safeguard the former and ensure they are not breaking any laws within the facility and prevent their escape if need be. Silent antagonism is always present, especially when the guards feel hatred and disdain towards the prisoners, which often makes them overstep their boundaries. The prisoners, on the other hand, view the guards as symbols of oppression and supervision (Reid, 2013). The investigator role is supposed to stand apart from this relationship and only intervene when either the inmate or the prison authority figure break the laws, after which the investigator must determine the guilty one and commence with the due process.
There are several controversies within this framework. One of them is pre-conceived, and the other one is factual. The pre-conceived controversy is that the guards who are perceived to be the main perpetrators in prison rapes are also tasked with the safety and security of the prisoners, which gives them even more power. The other controversy is that the investigators, that are supposed to be neutral towards the prison authorities and the prisoners alike, tend to treat the reported victims of sexual harassment as if they were prisoners and not victims, and often side with the prison authorities and do not perform investigations as thoroughly as they should.
Conclusions and Recommendations
To summarize the reasons why PREA, after over a decade since its implementation has lent little results, is because of several factors that weighed in since the document’s approval by the Congress. These reasons are:
- Lack of appropriate stimuli for prisons to adopt PREA, which is why it took so long to implement in prisons in New York City and Riker’s Island (Scassia, 2016).
- Numerous controversies between the goals of the document and the methods used to achieve these goals (Jackson, 2013).
- Conceptual error that associates prisoner safety with more control from the prison authorities and guards, while said guards also serve as the main source of danger for vulnerable prisoners (Muller, 2004).
There are several recommendations that could be suggested for the improvement of PREA. Some of them involve modifications to the current framework, while others suggest modifications that would alter the law to a greater degree. These recommendations are as followed:
- Adoption of PREA as a compulsory requirement for all jails and prisons in the country, effectively transforming it into a state law.
- Remove the controversies present between the end goals and the means of achieving them, particularly in how mistreated prisoners are protected. Solitary confinement should be replaced with a gentler environment that would facilitate psychological and emotional healing rather than promote isolation and fear.
- Reform the document to avoid the fallacy of more control equaling more safety of the prisoners.
Rationale for Recommendations
The recommendations offered in this paper have been thoroughly influenced by the article written by Jackson (2013), and the book written by Miller (2004). They suggest that the way to reduce the number of prison rapes is not through improved surveillance over the prisoner and the guards, but through the reformation of the prison system itself in order to allow prisoners a greater degree of autonomy and limiting prison guards’ role in their supervision. The first two recommendations can be achieved within the scope of the current PREA draft. As it was mentioned in numerous sources, the biggest problem with PREA is that it is simply not followed. Forcing prisons and jails to follow PREA would significantly improve its effectiveness and offer more results for us to analyze.
The suggestion for reformation goes beyond the scope of PREA and extends towards the prison system itself. Literature suggests that the extremely hostile nature of prison environments has a corruptive influence on prison guards, desensitizing them towards their wards, their pains and grievances, which enables them to commit atrocities like beatings, battering, and prison rapes without feeling guilt or remorse.
Changing this tendency would require changing the way prisons work and look, by practicing guard rotations frequently and transforming the environment from hostility to reformation and learning. These measures also suggest giving prisoners a larger degree of autonomy and allowing them to form consensual relationships with one another in order to avoid misinterpretations and false accusations under the blanket of PREA rules and guidelines.
Implications and Possible Outcomes of Specific Courses of Action
The first two recommendations imply that PREA recommendations and solutions will prove effective once they are widely implemented across the country. While there is no conclusive data to either prove or deny such an implication, doing so would allow for more data that could be used to analyze the effectiveness of policies and solutions offered by PREA.
The implication of the third recommendation is that PREA is ineffective not because of any particular errors within the document, but because of a conceptual error that connects to the very concept of modern American prison system. Possible outcomes for application of these recommendations include the reduction of the number of prison rapes, improvement of the psychological climate and change in how prison is perceived by the prisoners, the guards, and the outside public. All recommendations are aimed to make the system more effective, protect the rights, dignity, and life of sexually assaulted prisoners, and putting the perpetrators behind bars.
Limitations and Possible Unanticipated Outcomes
The research is limited to the information freely available to the public and is largely based on findings revolving around New York Prison system and Riker’s Island in particular as a prime example of a facility with the highest prison rape rate in the country (Scassia, 2016). The solutions offered in this paper are generalized and may not be applicable to every jail of prison inside the country. Since the paper operates with facts revolving around the American prison system, it does not reflect on the situation in other countries.
Unanticipated outcomes of proposed solutions and recommendations include failure of all proposed measures to improve the prison rape rates in American prisons. It is possible that relinquishing control over the prisoners by the prison authorities will lower the number of rapes committed by the guards, but increase the number of assaults conducted by other inmates.
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Jackson, J. L. (2013). Sexual necropolitics and prison rape elimination. Signs, 39(1), 197-220.
Miller, A (Ed.). (2004). The social psychology of good and evil: Understanding our capacity for kindness and cruelty. New York, NY: Guilford.
National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. (2011). National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Report. Federal Sentencing Reporter, 24(1), 44-45.
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Reid, E. A. (2013). The prison rape elimination act (PREA) and the importance of litigation in its enforcement: Holding guards who rape accountable. The Yale Law Journal, 122(7), 2084-2098.
Scassia, A. (2016). Still waiting for rules to prevent rape on Rikers. City Limits. Web.
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