Despite the general public's ignorance of this issue of sexual misconduct perpetrated by female prison staff against male inmates, such stories are remarkably familiar to those who study or work in the world of prisons. The Prison Rape Elimination Act ("PREA") of 2003 mandated that the Bureau of Justice Statistics ("the Bureau") undertake new studies of sexual violence in prisons. Accordingly, the Bureau released a report in July 2006 revealing some groundbreaking data. Of the 344 substantiated allegations of staff-on-inmate sexual violence made in federal, state, and private prisons in 2005, 67% of the overall victims were male inmates and 62% of the overall perpetrators were female staff. The data contradicts the deeply entrenched perception that, in cross-gender interactions between prison staff and inmates, men are the perpetrators of sexual violence and women are the victims. This gender stereotype has influenced not only the minds of average Americans but has also permeated the legal response to prison rape.
Lauren A. Teichner,
Unusual Suspects: Recognizing and Responding to Female Staff Perpetrators of Sexual Misconduct in U.S. Prisons,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol14/iss2/4