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August 24, 2006

Charming

To unite two of my recent obsessions, who wants to know one of the main ways AIDS is transmitted in America?

Anyone?

Prison rape. We're not only locking folks with full knowledge that they'll likely be sexually assaulted, we're doing so with full knowledge that the assault could, and possibly will, end in a terminal disease.

August 24, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Gives new meaning to the tried and true "cruel and unusual punishment."

Posted by: anon | Aug 24, 2006 2:49:30 PM

Maybe, finally, this will be a way to stop stupid prison rape from considered "acceptable".

Great frame of a debate that's needed one for a while. A jail sentence shouldn't be a death sentence.

One other thought - since AIDS is a fairly expensive disease to treat and control, allowing prison rape imposes substantial long term health costs on society. Not only is it morally wrong not to control this crime, it also is not in the long term health and financial interest of the society as a whole.

Posted by: Samuel Knight | Aug 24, 2006 3:00:38 PM

But then again, since prison is the most costly and ineffective way to control abusable drugs, it would seem that long term costliness and ineffectiveness is not a serious impediment to maintaining a policy indefinitely.

Posted by: BruceMcF | Aug 24, 2006 3:06:50 PM

You are overthinking this.

It's a heinous crime. End of story. Why tolerate on the inside what you wouldn't on the outside?

Again, it begs the issue of enforcement as laws and good intentions don't mean squat without enforcement. So, how 'bout it? Ezra and all of his followers here talk a good game, but how much do they *really* care? Is this all flapping liberal gums?

Since they are already in prison, what would you do to enforce your grandiose ideas?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 24, 2006 5:17:13 PM

How? By sending a two-fisted manly-man like Fred Jones to ram some sense into those evil-doing Sodomites. That's how.

Posted by: Jimmm | Aug 24, 2006 5:22:42 PM

The link you provide doesn't seem to back up the rape angle. It mentions HIV transmission rates among incarcerated men, but those could be the product of either consensual sex or IV drug use. It seems to me that a strong claim like "prison rape is one of the main ways AIDS is transmitted in America" calls for a stronger supporting link.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Aug 24, 2006 5:38:00 PM

Again, are you willing to enforce? Are you willing to do what it takes?
Or is it all liberal bluster as it comes down to on other issues where there is no collective liberal 'stomach' to do the harsh stuff?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 24, 2006 5:45:00 PM

How about starting with truckloads of freely available condoms in prisons?

Posted by: Jackmormon | Aug 24, 2006 6:10:56 PM

It's a heinous crime. End of story. Why tolerate on the inside what you wouldn't on the outside?

Again, it begs the issue of enforcement as laws and good intentions don't mean squat without enforcement. So, how 'bout it? Ezra and all of his followers here talk a good game, but how much do they *really* care? Is this all flapping liberal gums?

Since they are already in prison, what would you do to enforce your grandiose ideas?

Lightening strikes - I agree with Fred. Although, in fairness I think he chimed in on the earlier prison rape thread.

As for enforcement, alas, flogging is out - I think that falls under cruel and unusual punishment. But immediate isolation, investigation and a trial. Punishment would be tricky - especialy for lifers - what do they have to lose? Certainly a loss of privaleges, extended sentence if they aren't a lifer are starting points. Solitary confinement would be one tool - though I am unsure of how long they're allowed to leave them there.

Posted by: DuWayne | Aug 24, 2006 6:22:56 PM

How about starting with truckloads of freely available condoms in prisons?

What, to imply that it's ok to rape fellow prisoners - as long as you use a condom?

Posted by: DuWayne | Aug 24, 2006 6:25:19 PM

Lighning *does* strike! I am in full agreement with DuWayne.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 24, 2006 6:31:10 PM

It's called "harm mitigation." Punish the rapists you find, but make condoms available anyway. After all, some people consent to sex in prison, even though I suspect most prison sex is coercive in ways I'd find repugnant or even criminal outside prison.

Posted by: Jackmormon | Aug 24, 2006 6:33:01 PM

Although prison rape is a serious crime that ought to be taken seriously and it is, no doubt, a means of transmission, I don't see anything about rape in the press release you linked or in the link to the story that is contained in the press release.

Posted by: slickdpdx | Aug 24, 2006 6:54:20 PM

Fred, are you ever going to address my suggestion for dealing with the prison rape problem?

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Aug 24, 2006 8:20:49 PM

in New York, it's Hasidic Men.
Also the largest group using prostitutes.

Posted by: dolorman | Aug 24, 2006 9:03:32 PM

If I may strengthen my point and slickdpdx's, here health consultant Theodore Hammett argues that:

There's a persistent perception that jails and prisons are "breeding grounds" for HIV and other infectious diseases. But in a recent commentary in the American Journal of Public Health, I argue that there actually isn't strong evidence for HIV transmission among correctional inmates. There certainly is evidence of transmission within the prison population, but not evidence that it's widespread, which suggests that the vast majority of inmates with HIV/AIDS probably acquired their infections on the outside.

I would search for that original article in the Journal of Public Health, but the site seems to be down.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Aug 24, 2006 10:40:21 PM

Again, are you willing to enforce? Are you willing to do what it takes?
Or is it all liberal bluster as it comes down to on other issues where there is no collective liberal 'stomach' to do the harsh stuff?

Posted by: Fred Jones

What's your solution, Fred? Death penalty for every rapist on the first offense? Or is it just conservative bluster?

Now that one of my contractual cheap shots is out of the way, deterrence is obviously of limited value, if the threat of jail didn't prevent people from committing crimes in the first place. "Sure, maybe I raped those women, but I'd better not touch this guy or they'll really crack down" - people with Asperger's Syndrome are the only ones who think criminals or human beings in general deal with problems like that.

Make something like capital punishment mandatory but change nothing else, and you get rid of the stupid prison rapists, the loner prison rapists, the ones who already have two strikes against them... in other words, you make a dent in the problem, and even that only if you're lucky.

What to do instead? I'm too lazy to try to track down Hamilton's idea, but a few possibilities off the top of my head, which would be good both for this problem and in general:
-Reduce overcrowding in prisons
-Get the pot smokers and angry drunks and muggers away from the actual likely rapists
-Punish the prison guards and administrators who don't take the problem seriously
-Nip prison gangs in the bud (before they get to the stage of establishing serious pecking orders, let alone the stage of prison rape)
Thoughts? I'm no expert, but even I'm trying to make a more substantial contribution than stuff like "It's a heinous crime. End of story... Is this all flapping liberal gums?"

Posted by: Cyrus | Aug 24, 2006 11:45:15 PM

If you donate blood, a couple of the questions they'll ask you involve whether you've spent time in jail, either long-term or short-term (prison/arrested).

It's disturbing that the "temporarily-held" question is 72 hours, as if that's the consensus average amount of time it'll take for the new guy in jail to be sexually assaulted.

Posted by: Chris | Aug 25, 2006 1:43:00 AM

You can never stop prison rape among the general population in medium security prisons. In level 6 Max, where you are in your private cell for 23 hours a day, and out singly with supervision for one, sure. The only method I can see is to segregate the general population based on infected vs. non-infected. It's called quarantine. Perhaps you've heard of it? It shouldn't happen in the general public. But in prison, yes. You've already lost all your important rights, being singled out on the basis of a contagious disease seems to make sense.

Posted by: nunya | Aug 25, 2006 8:21:33 AM

How? By sending a two-fisted manly-man like Fred Jones to ram some sense into those evil-doing Sodomites. That's how

That little puss Fred would end up with his end up in under 72 minutes in a low security trustees' section, just because that's his preference.

Posted by: Nunya | Aug 25, 2006 8:25:34 AM

Here in DE, the state has sealed the prison death records for 'confidentiality' reasons. There has been a large increase in prison deaths due to AIDS, and it's being transmitted within the prison system. Whether it's rape or consenual, it's being transmitted WITHIN the prisons, and the state is fighting hard to keep the public from the truth.

Posted by: larry | Aug 25, 2006 9:15:08 AM

America's slave values bubble to the surface again. No punishment is good and effective unless it is cruel and degrading. The needs of the slave owners society live on in us.

Posted by: Northern Observer | Aug 25, 2006 9:53:28 AM

Most of the liberals' answers: "You can't stop it. It's society's fault", etc.

THEN STFU ABOUT WANTING TO STOP IT IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO ACTUALLY STOP IT.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 25, 2006 11:28:46 AM

Feels good to beat the shit out of that strawman, doesn't it? Let it all out, Fred.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Aug 25, 2006 11:36:33 AM

My guess is that the solution is to this problem (prison rapes) is along the lines of what Cryus wrote.

A Guiliani style 'broken windows' campaign in Prisons that prevents a lot the gang behavior and violence at the beginning would probably have a dramatic reduction of this.

To do so would probably require either less prisoners (get rid of the non-violent offenders) and/or more guards and more space. It would also require a serious commitment to accountablity for the guards and better mechanisms to ensure that guards are doing their jobs.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Aug 25, 2006 12:41:40 PM

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