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NCJRS Abstract

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  NCJ Number: NCJ 217023     Find in a Library
  Title: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons: Are Conjugal Visits the Answer?
  Author(s): Rachel Wyatt
  Journal: Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law  Volume:37  Issue:2 & 3  Dated:2006  Pages:579 to 614
  Date Published: 2006
  Page Count: 36
  Annotation: This article explores whether the implementation of conjugal visit programs in prisons are likely to reduce the incidence of male prisoner rape.
  Abstract: The analysis indicates that many countries, including the United States, have successfully used conjugal visit programs to reduce male prisoner rape. Preliminary evidence suggests that conjugal visit programs decrease the tension and stress of prison life, which in turn reduces the amount of violence, including sexual assault, within prison walls. The article begins with an analysis of the prevalence of male prisoner rape in the United States, which is difficult to estimate based on the covert nature of the crime and the nature of incarceration conditions. The impact of rape on prisoners is reviewed, including psychosocial, health, and financial costs. Factors that contribute to the occurrence of rape in prison are considered, such as overcrowding, the unisex nature of U.S. prison systems, and inadequate legal responses. Next, the case for conjugal visit programs is made, with many experts claiming that such programs can reduce and prevent male sexual assault by diminishing the negative effects of a unisex prison environment. Critics of conjugal visit programs as a solution to male prisoner rape claim that these programs will not work because rape is about power and control, not sex. However, the conjugal visit programs currently implemented around the country are more about giving inmates quality time with their families than about giving inmates sexual access to their spouses. The prevalence of male rape in other countries that have conjugal visit programs is offered as evidence that these programs indeed have an impact on the reduction and prevention of male prisoner sexual assault. Other arguments against conjugal visit programs are presented and include security concerns and concerns for prisoners who have no family. More research is needed to lay such arguments to rest and to demonstrate through empirical data that conjugal visit programs can reduce male prisoner rape. Footnotes
  Main Term(s): Prisoner sexual assault
  Index Term(s): Inmate Programs ; Conjugal visits ; Rape prevention programs ; Prison conditions ; Male rape victims
  Publisher URL: 
  Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
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