Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scaring people with rape?

(The footage in this clip is pretty rough and talks about prison rape. Tread carefully.)

Okay more than likely the bits of Anderson Cooper laughing were added by the uploader but this isn't an Anderson Cooper hit piece so never mind that.

What I do want to talk about is how guards and prisoners are using fear of rape as a tactic in Scared Straight efforts.

If you don't know scared straight is the idea of taking kids that are about to head down the path of crime and placing them in contact with hardcore prisoners. The hope is that the kids will learn from the prisoners that a life of crime is not a life worth living. Now in and of itself I don't have a problem with that. But I don't like the use of rape as a tool of fear.

The purpose of going to prison is to lose the freedoms of not being a prisoner in the outside (mostly) free world as punishment for crime. While rape certainly does happen in prison it is simply not acceptable that it be regarded as part of the punishment of prison. Ideally no form of rape should happen to anyone so why use it as a threat for kids who are headed for the criminal life?

Again I'm all for showing kids what they truly deserve to stand to lose if they become criminals. Knowing you are all alone? Go for it. Knowing that the world isn't going to stop for you while you're inside? Go for it. Knowing that once (or if) you get out you will have an uphill battle trying to straighten your life out? Go for it. Knowing that if you keep down that path you will likely reach a point where you will never see the light of day as a free person again? Go for it.

But telling them that if they end up in prison they're going to be made into someone's sex toy? No.