Thursday, January 19, 2006

But Judge, All I was Doing Was "Shepherding Her Process of Sexual Awakening"

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) provided for grants to study the incidence of prison rape due to insufficient research. (at 17) One of those DOJ funded studies was "an anthropological study of inmate culture" with regard to prison rape. (at 21) The study is not out yet, but some details have come out, which has DOJ backpedaling a bit.

Some highlights from the author of the study, Mark Fleisher:
When inmates have sex, it is usually by choice, and often engaged in as a way to win protection or privileges.
Inmates who cry rape are usually lying and looking for a transfer, money or publicity.
Fleisher, in 700 hours of interviewing 564 inmates never met anyone who claimed to be a victim of sexual violence.
Cindy Struckman-Johnson, professor of psychology at the University of South Dakota and one of nine National Prison Rape Elimination Commission members, said Fleisher’s 155-page study is not in scientific form. She said there is no literature review, no raw data, and no in-depth explanation of his subjects or research methods. oops.
DOJ folks were quick to point out the study hasn't been peer-reviewed yet and isn't finished. What information there is was released by Fleisher in the American Society of Criminology's newsletter. (online version currently running three issues behind)

But the best quotes I'm saving for my motion to dismiss in my next rape case:
Inmates’ sexual activity is not “routinely or overwhelmingly violent or aggressive” and sex is “engaged in by men and women who choose it.” “Prison rape worldview doesn’t interpret sexual pressure as coercion,” he wrote. “Rather, sexual pressure ushers, guides or shepherds the process of sexual awakening.” (emphasis mine)

I can hear it now:
"My client was merely using the knife to guide her sexual awakening"
"But DA, my client was using his 40 greater pounds in weight and 5 greater inches in height to shepherd her into her process of sexual awakening."

Now, I don't have the report or Fleisher's article, so he may have just been looking at how sexual relationships develop in prison. If so, he badly spent the $939,223.00 (at 35) he was given under PREA for the purpose of studying the incidence of prison rape.

Here's some more links on prison rape:
DOJ's 2005 report
Human Rights Watch's article and 2001 report
Website of Andrew Vachss, whose sexual assault section includes a prison rape section. (beware: this site is a navigation disaster; try the site map if you want to explore)

P.S. Men enjoy seeing bad people get their due, while women empathize with the person being justifiably punished. (small study of only 16 men, 16 women (none of the women were prosecutors, obviously))

Jack

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