In the United States alone, sexual attacks in prison are considered rape when penetration occurs. It is estimated that inmates are approached with unwanted sexual advances over 80,000 times per day (Anderson, 2001). Other more shocking statistics are (Anderson, 2001):
There is an estimated 300,000++ instances of prison rape a year.
Among this, 196,000 are estimated to happen to men in prison while 123,000 are estimated to happen to men in county jail.
40,000 are estimated to be committed against boys in either adult prisons or while in juvenile facilities or lock ups.
5000 women are estimated to be raped in prison.
The above statistics were all estimated because it is a common knowledge that most rape, particularly that which happened inside the prison cells, are not reported. The same study (made by Anderson) also revealed that the common attributes of the rape victims are (Anderson, 2001):
Those who are young.
Those who happen to come from a middle-class background.
Those who are not street-smart or have no gang affiliations.
Those who are physically of small stature.
From the information above, it can be assumed that the common denominator for all those is that of being a "weakling." Those "criminals" could easily force youngsters, rich people, small-built individuals and looking so naive people to do and/or accept anything that they would want them to do hence, the rape.
Meanwhile, a certain newspaper revealed other sordid details of rapes cases that has occurred in prisons. These are (Harper, 2005):
Much of the sex that takes place in prison happens along gender lines.
Depending on a person's role in the sex act, participants are identified in prison culture as men or women.
Most of the sex was highly coercive and considered as a blatant rape.
According to prison culture, anyone who had been "sexually penetrated in a power-defined interaction," was considered a woman, and it was then their job to provide men with sex.
'marriage' begins with the act of rape (penetration), and the 'wife' is then the constant target of humiliation.
Some warders take part in 'trade', because, as bad as it may sound, there is no clear policy regarding sexual assault. The situation was aggravated by warder involvement. Warders take part in the "trade" of prisoners for coercive sex and rape.
These, plus the fact that according to the state Department of Corrections, even if inmates agree to have sex with guards, this is, and would not be, considered as consensual because inmates are in a more vulnerable and powerless situation. Officers can control how a woman does her time, including visitation privileges, programs, parole recommendations, and writing disciplinary tickets (Some Prison Facts, 2005).
Hence, by just analyzing the two most common issues raised regarding the life inside the prison cells, there is one conclusion that can be derived. The life if the prison inmates is a reflection of the society. The prisoners, even if they are inside the prison cells, had to deal with societal related problems like over population and lack of the needed attention and assistance from the government sector. More so, prison inmates, despite the presence of jail or correctional officers, are still threatened by various factors like health risks and other safety concerns. This is exactly the life even out of prison cells.
The society itself is a venue where both opportunities and threats abound. Just like inside the prison cells, the opportunity in it is the chance to reform the person and give the convicted felons the chance to correct their mistakes. However, the threats attached to being one of the prison inmates is the different problems and challenges inside the prison cells like overcrowding and rape. Indeed, life of the prison inmates can be used as a clear reflection of the society itself.
Anderson, Scott L. (2001). "Rape in Prison. http://www.loompanics.com/Articles/RapeInPrison.html.
Harper, Iane. (January, 2005). "Jail rape: The sordid facts. http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/Politics/0,2-7-12_1669654,00.html.
Maxwell, Sheila Royo. (2000). "Sanction Threats in Court-Ordered Programs: Examining Their Effects on Offenders Mandated Into Drug Treatment." Sage Publications.
Canadian Criminal Justice Association. "Prison Overcrowding and reintegration of Offenders: A Discussion Paper. http://www.ccja-acjp.ca/en/overc.html