Link to article: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2007/12/16/usdom17560.htm
After reading the Human Rights Watch article titled, “US: Federal Statistics Show Widespread Prison Rape,” I have discovered that prisons not only deprive an individual of liberty and freedom, but they are also extremely unsafe. This article clearly demonstrated that there is a good possibility that a person who enters prison will be sexually abused. A striking statistic in this report was that in one year (2007) alone more than 70,000 prisoners were sexually abused. In my eyes this is something that is clearly a problem with institutions nationwide.
The article also reported that sexual abuse is not only common amongst prisoners, but also with staff. I think that the prison environment in a way invites staff to violate offenders because it is unlikely that it will result in a penalty. Who is the warden going to believe a prisoner or one of his guards? Clearly, this is not a difficult question to answer. This leads me to my next point that this article allowed me to think about. I really believe that prison guards have too much control. Although I’m certain that not all abuse their power, the few that do can force the public to question guard integrity as a whole. It often seems that it is a lose-lose situation for the inmate and no one will believe his or her side of the story.
With that said, prison rape and other forms of sexual abuse are clearly an issue in this nation’s prison system. The government has to figure out ways to protect these inmates who are already suffering enough. Minimizing sexual abuse in prisons will only make the environment less hostile and dangerous. Guards and other staff need to be aware of the situations and not turn their backs on what is happening. In order to reduce this type of behavior there is a need for collaboration and cooperation of several parties.