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Sexual Assaults Among Male Inmates: A Descriptive Study

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 69 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring-Summer 1989) Pages: 72-82
N R Chonco
Date Published
11 pages
A descriptive case study of 40 males violent and nonviolent offenders was conducted at a prerelease center in a large Midwestern State to determine the characteristics of the predators, victims, and targets who are not victimized in prison sexual assaults.
The responses do not indicate that race determines victimization. Rather, victims are younger than predators, usually first-time inmates, perceived as scared and weak, talk too much, have feminine features, and accept gifts from other inmates. Aggressors are described as being too nice and overfriendly, giving things to and doing favors for other inmates, and having a tendency to touch inmates and make sexual remarks. Targeted inmates who escape victimization generally mind their own business, do not associate with many prisoners, do not accept gifts from other inmates, and have reputations as fighters. The stages leading to the set-up process of a victim -- observation, selection, testing, approaching, and victimization -- involve inmates playing several roles, including observers, contacts, turners, and pointment. The sexual assault is carried out in a special "trouble spot" such as a bathroom, shower, or cell. On the whole, prison staff are ineffectual in stopping victimization because they are late on the scene, outnumbered by prisoners, often overlook assaults for their own purposes, and are afraid for their own safety. Prisoners learn that, to stop their victimization, they must fight back. Segregating violent offenders, undermining the prison economy, and developing new options for protecting victims are recommended. 1 footnote, 30 references.


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