Article from the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality 1990, NY:
Rape is a sexual act imposed upon a nonconsenting partner.
The method of imposition is often violent, though it may be by threats or intimidation or abuse of positions of authority.
Rape is one of the most misunderstood of all crimes, and when the victim is male, the misconceptions are severely compounded.
Many legal jurisdictions do not even recognize a crime of rape against a male victim, but instead use terms such as forcible sodomy or child abuse.
Nonetheless, rape of males in the non-legal sense is a much more common event than is usually supposed, covered as it is with a blanket of silence. If prisoners are included, on any given day in the United States there may be more males raped than females.
It appears that the rape of females by females, while not unknown, is very rare, and little is known about it.The rape of males by males is a practice protected by the silence observed by its victims, responding to a set of popular beliefs centering around the notion that A REAL MAN cannot be raped.
The phrase homosexual rape, for instance, which is often used by uninformed persons to designate male-male rape, camouflages the fact that the majority of the rapists as
well as of the victims are generally heterosexual.
In antiquity, the rape of males was more widely recognized. In Greek mythology, Zeus, king of the gods, abducted Ganymede for sexual purposes.
In the Oedipus myth, Laius, king of Thebes and Oedipus' father, abducted Chrysippus, son of his host, King Pelops; the boy killed himself out of shame, occasioning Pelops' curse on Laius that he should be slain by his own son.
In some societies the rape of a defeated male enemy was considered the prerogative of the victor in battle, and served to indicate the totality of the former's defeat.
Even in ancient times, we find the widespread belief that a male who is sexually penetrated, even by force, thereby loses his manhood, and hence can no longer be a warrior or ruler.
In the twentieth century, the best-known instance of this kind of humiliation occurred when the Englishman T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was captured by the Turks, who were well known for this custom, during World War I.
The subsequent disruption of Lawrence's life, while a surprise to his contemporaries, can now be recognized as a typical consequence of male Rape Trauma Syndrome.
Gang-rape of a male was also considered an ultimate form of punishment, and as such was known to the Romans (for
adultery) and Iranians (for violation of the sanctity of the harem). In modern times, until recently, rape of one male by another was considered rare outside of the special context of incarceration.
Virtually all the non-penological literature on rape assumes that the victim is female; police did not (and usually still do not) even collect statistics on "male rape." When the feminist movement led to the establishment of rape crisis centers in the United States in the 1970s, however, it became obvious that there was a large number of hidden cases of male rape.
Most of these came to the attention of rape counselors due to injuries inflicted on the victims (usually anal) which could not be hidden from medical personnel.
Rape crisis centers willing to deal with male victims found that anywhere from three to forty per cent of their counselees were male, with the higher figures resulting from specific efforts to publicize the availability of the centers for male victims.
This development led to research aimed at discovering the extent of male rape, and in 1982 to an anthology on the subject, Anthony M.Scacco, Jr.'s Male Rape. The results of this research have surprised virtually everyone by
indicating the vast extent of rape of males in North America.
Extent of Male Rape in the Community
Students of sexual abuse, drawing upon a wide number of studies conducted in the 1980s which sought to overcome the reluctance of the abused to discuss their experiences, have now concluded that boys and girls up to the early teen years have an equal chance of being sexually victimized; a summary of these studies was published by Eugene Porter in 1986.
For the later teens and adult males, figures are harder to come by, but a consensus appears to be forming that in the community" (a phrase excluding incarceration facilities) between one-seventh and one-fourth of all rapes involve male victims.
A household survey conducted for the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that the rapes of males reported to their interviewers were 25.9% of the number of completed rapes reported by females in the same survey; when applied to the national population that would be about 12,300 rapes of males per year.
These figures are believed to be underestimates due to a reluctance of male victims to identify themselves to the interviewers.
Phenomenology of Male Rape
Research indicates that the most common sites for male rape involving post-puberty victims "in the community" are outdoors in remote areas and in automobiles (the latter usually involving hitchhikers). Boys in their early and mid teens are more likely to be victimized than older males (studies indicate a median victim age of 17).
The form of assault usually involves penetration of the victim anally and/or orally, rather than stimulation of the victim's penis. Comparing rapes of females with rapes of males, it has been found that in cases involving male victims, gang-rape is more common, multiple types of sexual acts are more likely to be demanded, weapons are more likely to be displayed and used, and physical injury is more likely to occur, with the injuries which do occur being more serious than with injured females.Whereas cases of sexual assault of young girls usually involves a relative or family friend, young boys are more likely to be sexually abused by strangers or authority figures in organizations such as church, school, athletics, or scouting.
It is also noteworthy that men who rape boys, according to one study, have on the average well over three times as many victims each as men who rape girls.
One perpetrator kept records showing he had sexually assaulted over three hundred boys in one summer, mostly hitchhikers; he was arrested only when one of the boys complained to the police, the rest having remained silent.
While gay males are also raped, there is no evidence
that they are victimized in appreciably greater numbers than their proportion of the general population; most male rape victims are heterosexual. What is even more surprising to the average man is that, according to several studies, most rapes of males are committed by men who are heterosexual in their consensual sexual preference and
self-identity; only 7 per cent of the rapists of men in the Groth-Burgess study were homosexual. (Indeed, it has been reported that homosexual men are far less likely to engage in rape than heterosexual men.)
Half or more of these rapists choose victims from both genders.Theorists have sought to explain this as rooted in the nature of rape as primarily a crime of power and domination through violence rather than a sexually motivated act, though it is clear that sexuality has something to do with it. The exact relationship between the quest for power and dominance on the one hand and sexual drive on the other is little understood, and probably varies a great deal from one rapist to another.
It is clear that rapists are often not erotically attracted to their victims, and examples of sexual dysfunction (impotence, inability to ejaculate) are common in community rape.
On the other hand, one can cite instances of marital rape among gay couples where an erotic element is clearly present. One of the most interesting findings of recent
research on rape has profound implications for public policy regarding male rape: anywhere from 80 to 100 per cent (depending on the study) of adult male rapists (of women) have a history of childhood sexual victimization themselves. The implication is that rape is a vicious cycle in which boys, unable to even discuss their own rape traumas, much less find effective treatment for them, grow
up to take revenge on others in the same fashion.
Public Attitudes Towards Male Rape
Generally speaking, rape of males is a taboo subject for public discussion, so that for most women and many men, it does not exist. On the popular level, however, there are numerous mistaken beliefs which are common among the male population. These include the notions that male rape is very rare; that to be raped indicates a weakness which is not to be found in a "real" male, hence REAL MEN cannot be
raped; that rapists of males are necessarily homosexual; that being raped turns the victim into a homosexual; and most importantly, that for a man to be raped is to lose his manhood permanently.
It is because of these attitudes, which surround male rape with an aura of total humiliation for the victim, that it is rare for a male rape victim (especially past the early teens) to acknowledge his victimization even to his family or friends, much less to the police.
If ever there was a crime hidden by a curtain of silence, it is male rape.
For the same reason, most victims outside of jail consider
themselves to be relatively unique, and loathe to call attention to themselves. Given such pervasive silence, there is no demand for treatment programs for male victims as there is for female victims; there is no pressure for law enforcement activity; and the perpetrator is usually protected from even being accused, much less convicted. So powerful is the suppression of knowledge of male rape
that criminals such as burglars and robbers sometimes rape their victims as a sideline solely to prevent them from going to the police.
Rape Trauma Syndrome
Rape is an extremely traumatic experience centering on the total loss of control of one's own body and usually the inside of that body, the most intimate sanctum of self. On top of this trauma, which is common to all rape victims, the heterosexual male survivor must deal with the experience of sexual role inversion and the pervasive popular mythology revolving around loss of manhood and homosexuality.
The psychological devastation of rape is difficult to imagine for a male who has not been through such an experience.Survivors of rape, and often of rape attempts, usually manifest some elements of what has come to be called Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS), a form of Post-
traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The effects of RTS often last for years or decades, and can be lifelong. Apart from a small number of therapists and counselors specializing in sexual assault cases, few psychotherapists are familiar with the literature on RTS. For this reason, a rape survivor is usually well advised to consult with a rape crisis center or someone knowledgeable in this area rather than relying on general counseling resources. The same applies to those close to a rape victim, such as a lover or parent; these people are termed secondary victims by rape crisis counselors.
Typically, the first stage of RTS involves a phase of denial and disbelief.
Child victims commonly experience amnesia, partial or total, regarding the assault; memory, however, may return years later and initiate a psychological crisis.
A sense of guilt, shame, and humiliation is commonly found, exacerbated by the common tendency of those who should be supportive to instead blame the victim.
The sense of stigma, whether internalized or reinforced by others (in the case of public knowledge of the rape), is pervasive.
--Heterosexual male survivors typically show enormous anxiety and confusion regarding issues of masculine identity and homosexuality.
--The survivor's sexuality may show severe distortions and malfunctions.
--Serious depression is likely and suicide may result.
--The victim's rage may explode under unpredictable circumstances.
Other manifestations of RTS include a sense of:
--fixation on the incident,
--inability to concentrate,
--fear of intimacy,
--multiple personality development,
--drug and alcohol abuse, and
Survivors of childhood sexual assault and of rape in institutional surroundings often have to contend not with a single incident, but with a continuing series of
involuntary sexual activities which may stretch over years. In such cases, the adaptation process by which the victim learns to live with the continuing pattern of assault further complicates and strengthens the RTS pattern.As mentioned above, a certain number of male rape
survivors become rapists themselves.
It is not known how large this number is, though it appears to be more common among those victimized as boys than as adults. It has also been suggested that queer-bashers, violently homophobic males, are likely to be survivors of
childhood sexual abuse, laboring under the usually mistaken idea that the male who assaulted them must have been homosexual.
While rape of males is a serious problem in the community, it is in the institutions of confinement (prisons and jails, reformatories, mental institutions) and, to a markedly lesser extent, in other all-male residential settings (boarding schools, hobo camps, the military) that male rape is most common, even an accepted part of
Rape of males in confinement differs from male rape in the community in that it is generally open, is accepted if
not condoned by the prisoner subculture, usually involves repeated patterns of sexual assault following the initial rape, is far more likely to be interracial, and serves a social function in converting heterosexual young prisoners into sexual slaves to be acquired by more powerful men. Thus, once raped, the victim is forced into a pattern of perpetual sexual abuse which may in time appear consentual
to a casual observer, but which is rooted in the need for protection of the rape survivor from further mass assaults.
Confinement institutions furthermore have the effect of legitimizing to their graduates the use of rape as a means of validating their masculinity, and of converting non-violent offenders, by raping them, into ex-convicts full of rage and potential for violence (often rape) once
released. In these ways the institutions help perpetuate the practice of rape of women and of men.
Rape of males, while a widespread and extremely serious problem, has escaped the attention of society because of deep taboos springing from popular conceptions that to be raped is to forfeit one's masculinity. The actual dynamics of rape are only beginning to be explored, and very little of what is known to students of the phenomenon has penetrated the public consciousness.
Rape crisis centers in the United States have developed much of what is known about rape and its effects, including Rape Trauma Syndrome, yet many if not most such centers, run by feminist women, still see rape as a women's issue only and have made little or no effort to reach out to boys and men who have experienced rape. The public media have
continued to treat rape of males as a taboo subject. Until this taboo is broken, there can be little hope that survivors of male rape will be enabled to deal constructively with rape trauma or that the vicious cycle of rape can be effectively undermined.
Article from Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, 1990
Incarceration facilities have for some time provided fodder for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of the full range and potential of homosexual behavior.
These facilities host social worlds in which sexual acts and long-term sexual pairing between people of the same
gender, who consider themselves and are generally considered by others to be heterosexual (man/punk pairs), are not only common but validated by the norms of the prisoner's subculture.
General Features of Incarceration Facilities
Incarceration centers constitute a subset of the total institution, a category which includes the several branches of the armed forces and boarding schools. Along with monasteries and nunneries, incarceration facilities are characterized by gender segregation, a limited interface with the outside world, and an official norm of sexual abstinence. Like other total institutions, confinement facilities witness a good deal of resistance on the part of their inmates to the regimentation demanded by the institution; such resistance can take the form of involvement in officially censured sexual activity.
There is a great deal of diversity among institutions holding prisoners sent to them by government as a result of criminal charges. Probably the most salient differences exist between confinement centers for males and for females, at least with regard to the prevalent sexual conditions; unless otherwise noted, the account below pertains to facilities for males, who are still nearly
19 out of every 20 prisoners in the United States, with similar ratios elsewhere. Confinement institutions for the mentally disturbed and for privately-committed juveniles have been omitted from this article or lack of data.
For similar reasons, there is a focus on contemporary American institutions, which held nearly three-quarters
of a million prisoners in the late 1980s at any one time and saw nearly eight million admissions over the course of a year (mostly short jail lock-ups for minor offenses such as public drunkeness).
Confinement institutions for adults (most commonly 18 or over, though there is considerable variation in age limits) may be divided into prisons and jails. A prison is a place of incarceration for persons serving a sentence, usually of a year or longer; they are divided by security level into maximum (long-term), medium, and minimum (short-term) security.
A jail, properly speaking, is a place of detention for defendants awaiting trial or sentencing and for convicts serving misdemeanor or very short sentences. This division, which is characteristic of modern penal systems, is replicated at the juvenile level with reformatories (going by a wide variety of names) and juvenile detention centers.
Both "prison" and "jail," though especially the latter, are also used as comprehensive terms for all confinement institutions. The proportion of the general population which is incarcerated varies enormously from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; the countries with the highest rates are said to be South Africa, the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the United States. Demographically, the incarcerated population is overwhelmingly young, with the late teens and twenties
predominating, and lower or working class.
Historically, widespread confinement is a relatively recent development, replacing previous criminal sanctions of execution, banishment, and short times in the stocks and pillories. Imprisonment as a punishment for crime is
unknown to the Mosaic law, whether for sexual or for non-sexual offenses. The first penitentiaries were built in the United States in the nineteenth century and were soon copied by other countries, although debtor's jails existed for some time previous. Not all penal systems have sought to banish sex from the prisoners' lives; conjugal visits were common in English jails of the seventeenth century, while in South American countries today conjugal visits are common and in many places the prisoners are allowed visits from female prostitutes.
Originally, solitary confinement was the rule in the penitentiaries, but so many of the prisoners became insane as a result that this regime was dropped. Evidence for widespread homosexual activity in confinement is generally lacking until the twentieth century, handicapping attempts to trace its historical development; there are, however, indications that sexual patterns similiar to those found
today prevailed in the nineteenth century as well.
Sexual Roles in Confinement
The inmate subculture has its own norms and definitions of homosexual experience, which are to some extent archaic: they derive from the period before the modern industrialized-world concept of homosexuality had become even imperfectly known to the educated public, much less to the criminal underworld.
In general, they seem to reflect a model of homosexuality found in ancient Rome, medieval Scandinavia and the Viking realms, and in Mediterranean countries into modern times: any man can be active in the sexually penetrating role without stigma, and does not thereby compromise either his masculinity or his heterosexuality. A male, on the other hand, who submits to penetration has forfeited his claim
on "manhood" and is viewed with contempt unless he is too young to make the claim, is a powerless slave, or has become sufficiently feminine so as to never raise the claim. A salient difference with the Greek model is that the sexually passive youths are not being trained to become men, but are expected instead to become increasingly effeminate. That this model is not limited to jails,
prisons, and reformatories, but is also widespread (if not so sharply drawn or so clearly legitimized and institutionalized) in the lower class of the general population from which prisoners are drawn, is clear to students of sexual patterns.
Discussion of conditions in confinement, including sexual mores, is common among outlaws, so that even a juvenile delinquent who has never been locked up has some idea of the sexual system prevalent among prisoners.
The model is introduced in the reform schools and reinforced in the local jails, so that by the time a convict reaches a prison, he has already been saturated with it and considers it "normal" for such institutions.
The Role of "Man"
The prison subculture is characterized by a rigid class system based on sexual roles.
The majority of prisoners are "men" (used in quotation marks as a term of jail slang, not as a reflection on the masculinity of such individuals), also commonly known as "jockers", "Studs", "wolves," "pitchers," and the like.
These prisoners are considered to be heterosexual, and most of them exhibit heterosexual patterns before and after incarceration, though a small number of macho homosexuals blend with this group by 'passing'.
The "men" rule the roost and establish the values and behavioral
norms for the entire prisoner population; convict leaders, gang
members, and the organizers of such activities as the smuggling of
contraband, protection rackets, and prostitution rings must
be "men."Sexually, the "men" are penetrators only; a single incident
of being penetrated is sufficient for lifelong explusion from this
class. The sexual penetration of another prisoner by a "man" is
sanctioned by the subculture and considered to validate the "man's"
masculinity. "Manhood," however, is a tenuous condition as it is
always subject to being "lost" to another, more powerful or
aggressive "man"; hence a "man" is expected to "fight for his
manhood."Middle-aged and older "men" are most likely to abstain from
sexual activity while incarcerated. A minority of the younger "men"
also abstain, but most of the young "men" who have been incarcerated
for a significant amount of time will take advantage of any
opportunity for sexual relief, despite its necessarily homosexual
nature. The latter, however, is not recognized by the prisoner
subculture, which insists that aggressive-penetrative activity is not
homosexual, while receptive-penetrated activity is. Some of the
reasons for such involvement go beyond the necessity of relieving the
sex/intimacy drive. One is that aggressive sexual activity,
especially rape and possession of a known sexual receptive, are
considered to validate masculine status and hence tend to protect
the "man" from attempts to deprive him of that status. There is
considerable peer pressure in many institutions to engage
in "masculine" sexual activity because it validates such activity on
the part of other "men" already engaged.Other motivations are not as
directly sexual: deprived of almost all areas of power over his own
life by the regime of incarceration, a "man" often seeks to stake out
a small arena of power by exerting control over another prisoner. The
existence of such an island of power helps the "man" retain a sense
of his own masculinity - the one social asset which he feels the
administration cannot take from him - because of his identification
of power and control with the masculine role or nature. For an
adolescent prisoner, this motivation is often even stronger, as he
has few other means of acquiring "manhood" stature. Furthermore,
involvement in prohibited homosexual activity is an act of rebellion
against the total institution, hence a demonstration that the
institution's control over that person is less than complete.
Prisoners serving long terms are often looking for a companion to "do
time" with; such "men" tend to rely less on aggression and more on
persuasion in their search for someone to "settle down" with, but
they are not above arranging for a confederate to supply the coercion
needed to "turn out" someone for this purpose. As the demand for
sexual partners always far exceeds the supply, however, only a
minority of the "men" succeed in obtaining possession of a partner;
these tend to be the highest-ranking "men" in the prisoner power
structure. The remainder, including some "men" who would be able to
claim and retain a sexual partner but who choose not to do so for
various reasons, make use of prostitution, join in gang-rapes, borrow
sexual submissives from friends who control them, or do
without. "Men" who are without sexual outlet altogether may be
considered marginal in their claim to "man" status, and targeted for
The Role of "Queen"
A second class consists of the "queens," also known
as "bitches," "ladies" and so forth. These are effeminate homosexuals
whose sexual behavior behind bars is not markedly different from
their patterns "on the street." They are strictly receptive
(penetrated) and are generally as feminine in appearance and dress as
the local administration will allow. By prison convention, these
prisoners are considered to be females in every possible way, e.g.,
their anus is termed "pussy," they take female names, and are
referred to using female pronouns. The queen are submissive to
the "men" and may not hold positions of overt power in the inmate
social structure. Known or discovered homosexuals who enter
confinement without a feminine identity are relentlessly pressured to
assume one; the idea of a homosexual who is not a substitute female
is too threatening to be tolerated. The more extreme the contrast
between the effeminized homosexual and the super-machismo "men," the
more psychologically safe distance is placed between the "men's"
behavior and the notion of homosexuality.In some prisons and many
jails and reformatories, queens are segregated from the general
population and placed in special units, referred to by the prisoners
as "queens' tanks." There they are often denied privileges given to
the general population such as attendance at the recreation hall,
yard visits, library call, hot food, etc. The rationale given for
such units is to protect the homosexuals (who generally would prefer
to pair off with the "men" instead) and reduce homosexuality, though
in practice it simply increases the frequency of rape among the
remaining population. The actual life of prison homosexuals, it
should be clear, has little or nothing to do with the ideals
propagated by the gay liberation movement, which have barely affected
prison life. There is little room for the independent, self-affirming
homosexual, who upon entering confinement faces the choice
of "passing" as a heterosexual "man", submitting to the subservient
role of the "queen," or risking his life in combat time after time.
Only the toughest of homosexuals can even seriously consider the
The Role of "Punk"
The lowest class (though the difference between the two "non-men"
classes is often minimal) consists of those males who are forced into
the sexually receptive role; they are called "punks," "fuck-
boys", "sweet kids," and other terms. The overwhelming majority of
these punks are heterosexual in orientation; they are "turned out" (a
phrase suggesting an inversion of their gender) by rape, usually gang
rape, convincing threat of rape, or intimidation. Punks retain some
vestiges of their male identity and tend to resist the feminizing
process promoted both by the "men" and by the queens; upon release
they usually revert to heterosexual patterns, though often with
disruptions associated with severe male rape trauma syndrome.Punks
often try to escape their role by transferring to another cell block
or institution, but almost always their reputation follows
them: "once a punk, always a punk."Punks tend to be younger than the
average inmate, smaller, and less experienced in personal combat or
confinement situations; they are more likely to have been arrested
for non-violent or victimless offenses, to be middle class, and to
belong to ethnic groups which are in the minority in the institution.
Relations between queens and punks are often tense, as the former
tend to look down on the latter while trying to recruit them into
their ranks, a process which the latter resent, though some may
succumb to it over the years.In subsequent usage, when both queens
and punks are meant, the American prison slang word "catcher," which
includes both (as the opposite of "pitcher," both terms derived from
the sport of baseball) will be used.The percentage of queens in an
incarcerated population is usually very small, from none to a few per
cent. The number of punks is usually much larger, given the
unrelenting demand on the part of the "men" for sexual catchers;
nevertheless, the supply of punks never approaches the demand, so
that the majority of the population is always "men." The number of
punks tends to rise with the security level of the institution, as
the longer the prison term, the more risks will be taken by an
aggressive "man" to "turn out" a punk for his own use. Big-city jails
and reform schools are also considered to have relatively high
populations of punks.
In ongoing sexual relationships, a "man" is paired ("hooked up") with
a catcher; no other possibilities, such as a pair of homosexuals, are
tolerated, but this one is not only tolerated but sanctioned by the
prisoner subculture. These relationships are taken very seriously, as
they involve an obligation on the part of the "man" to defend his
partner, violently if necessary, and on the part of the catcher to
obey his "man."
Catchers are required to engage in "wifely" chores such as doing
laundry, making the bunk, keeping the cell clean, and making coffee.
Due to the shortage of catchers, only a small minority of "men"
succeed in entering into such a relationship, and the competition for
available catchers is intense, sometimes violent.
The impetus manifested by the "men" to form pairs is remarkable in
light of the many disadvantages in doing so, for the "man" not only
risks having to engage in lethal combat on behalf of someone else and
hence suffer for his catcher's blunders, seductiveness, or good
looks, but he also greatly increases his vulnerability to
administrative discipline by increasing his profile and the
predictability of his prohibited sexual activities.
The fact that so many "men" seek to form pairs rather than find
sexual release through rape, prostitution, etc. is strong testimony
for the thesis that such relationships meet basic human needs which
are related to, but not identical to, the sexual one, such as a need
for affection or bonding. Sometimes the "man" part of the
relationship is actually a collective, so that a catcher may belong
to a group of "men" or to a whole gang. Ownership of a catcher tends
to give high status to the "man" and is often a source of revenue
since the "man," who is often without substantial income, can then
establish himself in the prostitution business. These relationships
are usually but not always exploitive and they often result from
aggression on the part of the "man"; the catcher may or may not have
consented before the "man" "puts a claim" on him.The relationship of
involuntary to voluntary sexual activity inside prison is a complex
Many continuing and isolated liaisons originate in gang rape, or in
the ever present threat of gang rape.
Prison officials can label such behavior as "consensual," but fear on
the part of the passive partner is certainly a prime stimulus."Free-
lance" or unpaired catchers are not very common, since they are
usually unable to protect themselves and are considered to be fair
game for any aggressive "man." Usually, a gang-rape or two is
sufficient to persuade an unattached catcher to pair off as soon as
possible. A catcher who breaks free from an unwanted pairing is
called a "renegade."
Pair relationships are based on an adaptation of the heterosexual
model which the prisoners bring with them from the street; the use of
this model also validates the jail relationship while confirming the
sense of masculinity of the "man." The "men" tend to treat their
catchers much as they habitually did their female companions, so a
wide range of relationships ranging from ruthless exploitation to
love are encountered.Emotional involvement by the "men" is less
common than "on the street," but not rare; long-term prisoners may
even "get married" in an imitation ceremony to which the whole cell
block may be invited. A little-noted emotional significance of the
relationship for almost all the "men," however, is that it becomes an
island of relaxation away from the constant competitive jungle, with
its continual dangers and fear of exposing anything which might be
considered a "weakness," which marks social relations between
the "man" and other "men."
Confident in his male role, the "man" can allow himself to drop the
hard mask which he wears outside the relationship and express with
his catcher the otherwise-suppressed aspects of his humanity, such as
caring, tenderness, anxiety, and loneliness. Sexual reciprocation is
rare, and when it does occur, is almost always kept very secret.
Another noteworthy alteration from the heterosexual model is that
the "men" tend to be considerably more casual about allowing sexual
access to their catchers than they would with regard to their
females. The catchers are frequently loaned to other "men" out of
friendship or to repay favors or establish leadership in a clique,
and are commonly prostituted. Unlike the females, the jail catchers
won't get pregnant by another man.
It is very important, however, for a "man" to retain control over
such access to his catcher.The punks, who retain a desire for an
insertive role which they cannot find in sex with their "men,"
sometimes reciprocate with one another, giving each a temporary
chance to play the "male" role which is otherwise denied them. As
queens are highly valued, being both scarce and feminine-appearing,
they tend to have a little more autonomy than the punks, who are for
all practical purposes slaves and can be sold, traded, and rented at
the whim of their "man."
The most extreme forms of such slavery, which can also apply to
queens, are found in the maximum-security institutions and some
Perhaps the most dreaded of all jailhouse experiences is forcible
rape. This phenomenon, while it has much in common with rape of males
in the community, is distinguished by its institutionalization as an
accepted part of the prisoner subculture. Most common in urban jails
and in reformatories, gang rape (and the common threat of it) is the
principle device used to convert "men" into punks. In the subculture
of the prison those with greater strength and knowledge of inmate
lore prey on the weaker and less knowledgeable. Virtually every young
male entering a confinement institution will be tested to see whether
he is capable of maintaining his "manhood"; if a deficiency is
spotted, he will be targeted. Sometimes an aggressive "man" will seek
to "turn" the youngster using non-violent techniques such as
psychological dependence, seduction, contraband goods, drugs, or
offers of protection.
There is a great variety of "turning out" games in use, and with
little else to do, much time can be spent on them.If these techniques
fail, or if the patience or desire to use them is absent, or if a
rival's game is to be pre-empted, violent rape may be plotted.
Usually this is a carefully planned operation involving more than one
rapist ("booty bandit," "asshole bandit"). The other participants in
a gang rape may sometimes have little sexual interest in the
proceedings, but need to reaffirm that they are "one of the boys," to
retain membership in the group led by militant aggressors.
In the absence of such positive identification, they would expose
themselves to becoming victims.The aggressor selects the arena for
the contest, initiates the conflict, and deliberately makes the
victim look as helpless, weak, and inferior as possible. The usual
response is a violent defense which, if successful, will discourage
further attempts. Frequently the target is seized by a number of
rapists under circumstances which do not even allow a defense.
Sometimes the attack will be discontinued even when the attacker (or
attackers) has the advantage, so long as the victim puts up a
vigorous fight and thereby demonstrates his "manhood."
In other cases, especially with particularly young and attractive
newcomers, the assault will be pressed with whatever force and
numbers it takes to subdue the victim.
If the victim forcibly resists he is liable to be wounded or
mutilated, in no small part because he has no experience or skill in
the use of knives and the like. Defenses used to preempt a rape by
knowledgeable but vulnerable newcomers include paying for protection,
joining a gang, and being sponsored by relatives or friends already
Rape in prisons is less frequent than in jails and reform schools
because most prisoners who are vulnerable to rape will have already
learned to accomodate themselves to the punk role in jail or reform
school and will "hook up" with a protector shortly after arrival.
Nevertheless, rape remains a feature of prison life since the testing
process is never really concluded and the demand for punks is always
In a minimum-security prison, rape is uncommon because few "men" want
to assume the risks involved and the separation from females tends to
be short or release imminent; in a maximum-security prison rape is
far more prevalent because the prisoners are more violent to begin
with, are more willing to take the risks involved, and feel a more
intense need for sexual partners.The psychological roots of jail rape
are complex, but it is clear that the primary motivation for the
rapist lies more in the area of power deprivation than sexual
deprivation, though the role of the latter should not be
In the eyes of the perpetrator the victim is less a sexual object
than a means of exhibiting male dominance and superiority of the
rapist. That physical qualities are significant, however, is shown by
the fact that obese or older inmates are rarely selected as
victims.From a sociological perspective, rape functions as a violent
rite de passage to convert "men" into punks in order to meet part of
the demand for sexual partners.
Most jail rape victims quickly "hook up" with a "man" (not
necessarily or even usually the lead rapist) in order to avoid
repetitive gang-rapes; some enter "protective custody" (often
called "punk city") but usually find it impossible to remain there
indefinitely, or find the promised protection to be illusory; some
take violent revenge on their assailant(s) at a later date, risking
both death and a new prison term; others commit suicide. In the
United States, rape often takes on a racial dynamic as a means by
which the dominant ethnic group (usually but not always black) in the
institution intimidates the others. As such it can become a major
source of racial tension. The rape problem has class aspects as well:
the middle-class white who finds himself in an institution where he
is a total stranger to its subculture, its language, even the tricks
and strategems played on unwary newcomers, simply lacks the survival
skills requisite for the prison milieu, while the repeated offender
of lower-class or delinquent background has mastered all of them,
even if he is not adroit enough in his calling to escape the clutches
of the law.
The rape of an "attached" catcher is also a direct challenge to
his "man", who must retaliate violently, according to the prison
code, or give up his claim on the catcher and be targeted for rape
himself. It should also be mentioned that when the combination of
easy victims and administrative pressure against pair-bonding arises,
as it often does, it becomes less risky to commit rapes than to
commit oneself to an ongoing consensual relationship.A further
dimension of prison rape is the racial issue.
Whether or not blacks constitute a majority or plurality of the
prison population, the aggressor in homosexual rape tends to be
black, the victim to be white or Puerto Rican.
A study of 129 separate incidents in the Philadelphia prison system
--13% involved white aggressors and white victims
--29% involved black aggressors and black victims
--56% involved black aggressors and white victims
Hence 85% of the aggressors were black, 69% of the victims were
white. The motivation for the crime is not primarily sexual; it is
conceived as an act of revenge against a member of white society
collectively regarded as exploiting and oppressing the black race.
Among older boys in a reform school, the white victim was often
forced to submit to a black in full view of others so that they could
witness the humiliation of the white and the domination of the black.
Gang rapes are typically perpetrated by black inmates from urban
areas serving sentences for major crimes such as armed robbery and
assault with a deadly weapon. The white inmates are often
disadvantaged in the prison setting if they have not been part of a
delinquent subculture in the outside world, and they lack the sense
of racial solidarity that furnishes the blacks with a group ethos and
the collective will to oppose the official norms of the prison and to
risk the penalties attached to fighting, even in self-defense.
Further, in some institutions blacks commit acts of sexual aggression
to let the white inmates collectively know that the black inmates are
the dominant element, even if they are involuntarily behind bars. It
is essential to their concept of manhood to make white prisoners the
victims of their assaults, and they resent the black homosexuals in
the prison whom they identify as weak and effeminate. This whole
pattern of symbolic acts is first inculcated in reform schools and
then carried over into the penitentaries where the offenders are sent
for the offenses of their mature years. As the black population of
the United States has ceased to be concentrated almost entirely in
the states of the historic Confederacy, as it was before World War I,
and is now spread more evenly over the territory of the Union, the
share of blacks in the prison population of other states has risen,
so that a more homogeneous institutional subculture now exists in
which whites are the dominated and exploited class.Thus far the white
prisoners have not developed their own sense of solidarity in order
to cope with the threats inherent in the situation.
As noted above, reliable statistics on the extent of homosexuality in
confinement are notably lacking. However, from the Wooden-Parker
study cited above, some figures are worth citing. It must be kept in
mind that these figures are derived from a low-medium-security
prison, that they apply only to incidents affecting the prisoners
while in that particular prison (thus omitting previous "turn-outs"
by rape), that the percentages apply to prisoners of all age groups
and races taken together, and that the authors themselves emphasized
that "our study is likely underreporting certain types of sexual
behavior (i.e., sexual coercion and assault)."This study found that
55% of all (self-designated) heterosexuals reported being involved in
sexual activity while in that prison, this figure breaking down into
38% of whites, 55% of Hispanics, and 81% of blacks; that 14% of all
the prisoners (9% of heterosexuals and 41% of homosexuals) had been
sexually assaulted there; that 19% of all the prisoners (100% of
homosexuals and 10% of heterosexuals) were currently "hooked up."
Looking at the (self-designated) homosexuals alone, 64% reported
receiving some type of pressure to engage in sex (82% of whites, 71%
of Hispanics, 49% of blacks) and 41% had been forced into it.
Disciplinary action for sex had been taken against 71%, while 35%
were engaged in prostitution. An eye-opener for some gay consumers of
pornography featuring jailhouse sex may be the report by 77% of the
homosexuals that they had better sex "on the Street" and by 78% that
they were "looked down upon and treated with disrespect by other
The Davis study of the Philadelphia jail system, based upon
interviews with 3,304 prisoners, estimated that the number of sexual
assaults in the 26 months of the study was about 2000; during this
period some 60,000 men passed through the system. Of these assaults,
only 96 were reported to prison authorities, only 64 were mentioned
in prison records, only 40 resulted in disciplinary action, and only
26 were reported to the police for prosecution.
Davis studied 129 documented sexual assaults in which the races of
both victim and assailant were known, finding that 15% involved
whites only, 29% involved blacks only, and 56% involved black
assailants and white victims; none of the incidents involved white
assailants and a black victim.
Jailhouse Sexual Mores
Sexual activity in confinement may take place nearly anywhere; the
expectation of privacy which prevails in other circumstances often
gives way to necessity.
Furthermore, it is often to a "man's" advantage to be seen engaging
in "masculine" sexual activity by other prisoners, enhancing his
reputation as a "man." For these reasons, sex is often a group
activity with some participants taking turns standing "lookout" for
guards or shooing away uninvolved prisoners from the area being
used.While disciplinary codes in confinement institutions are nearly
unanimous in outlawing all sexual activity, these codes usually have
little more effect than to ensure that sex takes place outside the
view of the guards.
They do, however, inhibit catchers from enlisting the aid of
administrators in avoiding rape situations, given the fact that such
avoidance usually requires pairing off with a protector. The furtive
nature of consensual activities and pairings necessitated by the
disciplinary codes also works to dehumanize them and favor the quick
mechanical relief as distinguished from an affectionate relationship.
The severe sanctions provided by the prisoner code against informers
protects even rapists from being reported to the administration by
their victims. These fear retaliation from the perpetrators, who can
be well placed in terms of the inmate power structure- and famed for
their criminal ruthlessness and daring.
The aggressor is usually guilty of the far more serious crime, the
victim may have committed only a trivial one. Officials usually have
a general idea of what is going on, based on reports from informers,
but these reports cannot be made openly enough to provide a basis for
disciplinary action.The openness of jailhouse sexuality, in spite of
disciplinary codes, is one of its most remarkable features.
The institution of "hooking up" which is the heart of the system, and
which specifies that any catcher who is "hooked up" may
be "disrespected" only at the risk of violent retaliation from
his "man," is dependent on general knowledge of the specifics of such
pairings among the entire incarcerated population. Virtually the
first result of a claim being laid on a catcher is its announcement
to the prisoner population at large; sex is the number one topic of
conversation, and the news that a new punk has been "turned out"
spreads like wildfire throughout an institution.
Under such circumstances, guards and administrators with their eyes
open can hardly fail to be aware of pairings. Often, in fact, housing
moves are made to facilitate keeping the pair together; practical
experience has shown that this tends to minimize fights and therefore
keeps the general peace, which is the first priority of all
Thus when a "man" in a double cell acquires a catcher, he "persuades"
his current cellmate to request a move out, the new catcher requests
a move in, the catcher's current cellmate is prompted to request that
he be moved out, and the administration approves it to keep the peace
among all concerned. A particularly dangerous situation is one in
which a catcher is bunked with a "man" other than the one he is
hooked up with. For this reason punks are often celled together, as
It is not known whether the incidence of homosexuality in prison is
higher in male or female populations. One survey that used the same
criterion for male and female inmates reported the same incidence in
both.The role of the female inmate in lesbian activity is precisely
defined by the prison subculture. The "penitentiary turnout" is the
woman who resorts to lesbian relations because the opposite sex is
unavailable; in contrast, the "lesbian" prefers homosexual
gratification even in the outside world, and thus is equated with the
queen in the men's prison.
The lesbian is labeled as sick by some of the other inmates because
the preference in a situation of choice is deemed a perversion. The
participant in lesbian relations who does so for lack of choice is
not so stigmatized.
The "femme" or "mommy" is the inmate who takes the female role in a
lesbian relationship, a role highly prized because most of the
inmates still wish to play the feminine role in a significant way in
prison. In the context of a pseudo-marital bond, the femme continues
to act out many of the functions allotted to the wife in civil
The complement is the "stud broad" or "daddy" who assumes the male
role, which in its turn is accorded much prestige for three reasons:
1) the stud invests the prison with the male image; 2) the role is
considered more difficult to sustain over a period of time because it
goes against the female grain; 3) the stud is expected not just to
assume certain symbols of maleness, but also to personify the social
norms of male behavior.In sharp contrast with the men's prison,
homosexual relations are established voluntarily and with the consent
of the partners; no physical coercion is applied to the weaker or
feminine partner. Interpersonal relations linked with homosexuality
play a major role in the lives of the female prisoners. Cast as a
quasi-marital union, the homosexual pair is viewed by the inmates as
a meaningful personal and social relationship.
Even though for previously heterosexual women this mode of adjustment
is difficult, the uniqueness of the prison situation obliges the
inmate to attach new meaning to her behavior. When a stud and a femme
have established their union, they are said to be "making it" or
to "be tight," which is to say that other inmates recognize them
socially as a "married" pair.
Since the prisoners attach a positive value to sincerity,
the "trick" - one who is simply exploited sexually or economically -
is held in low esteem by the inmate subculture. Tricks are also
regarded as "suckers" and "fools" because their lovers dangle unkept
promises in front of them. The "commissary hustler" is the woman who
establishes more than one relationship; besides an alliance with an
inmate in the same housing unit, she also maintains relations with
one or more inmates in other housing units for economic advantage.
The other women, labeled tricks in the prison argot, supply her with
coveted material items which she shares only with the "wife" in her
own unit. The femme may even encourage and guide the stud in finding
and exploiting the tricks. The legitimacy of the primary pseudo-
marriage is not contested, though the tricks may anticipate replacing
the femme when a suitable opportunity arises.Writers on female
institutions agree that, apart from sexual relationships, such
institutions are marked by quasi-family social units which provide
emotional support to their members, in sharp contrast to the ever-
competitive male environments.
There is, as may be expected, a wide range of administrative
attitudes towards both violent and consensual homosexuality in their
confinement institutions. Consensual activities are accepted as
inevitable by some, hunted out and seriously punished when discovered
by others, while most tend to look the other way so long as the
behavior does not become disruptive or too open.Convicts have charged
that administrators too often exploit rape as a tool to divide and
control the inmate population, particularly in connection with racial
tensions. A state commission investigating the unusually violent New
Mexico prison riot (1980) found that officials used the threat of
placement of new inmates in cells with known rapists to recruit
informers. Other administrations have been charged with setting
vulnerable prisoners up for gang-rape in order to discharge tensions
within a housing unit or reward it for keeping quiet. Administrators
are aware that a difficult or disliked prisoner can be maneuvered
into a position where he will be sexually victimized by his fellow
inmates. In other cases the staff is simply resigned to what is
happening inside the institution and turns a blind eye to the sexual
violence. Administrators themselves deny such actions and universally
proclaim their opposition to rape, while often denying that it is a
problem in their own institution.The uniformed guards often have a
different set of attitudes. Some of them consider all participants in
homosexual activity to be homosexuals; some display considerable
homophobia and engage in private witch-hunts. Others, especially
those with long experience as guards, may encourage a "man" prisoner
whom they consider to be dangerous to get "hooked up" with a catcher
on the theory that paired-off "men" are less likely to cause major
trouble. Guards are also involved in setting up some rapes and sexual
encounters, in exchange for payoffs or for such diverse reasons as to
destroy the leadership potential of an articulate prisoner. The
guards are capable even of ignoring the screams of a prisoner who is
being raped. The guards may even tell the prisoner that to file
charges against the aggressor would be tantamount to publicizing his
own humiliation, just as a public rape trial in the outside world
exposes the female victim to shame and embarrassment.
Writings on Sex in Confinement
A good deal has been written in scholarly style, in North America at
least, concerning homosexual behavior in prisons, jails, and
reformatories. Much of this literature is fraught with controversy,
and the views of penologists, often concerned more with institutional
control and abstract theorizing on "the problem of homosexuality"
than with actual behavioral patterns, tend to differ both normatively
and descriptively from the accounts of inmates. Penologists reflect
the concerns of their employers, who usually seek to minimize aspects
of life in their institutions which would arouse public indignation,
and who are usually hostile to all forms of sexual contact among
The conclusions of a recent paper cited in Criminal Justice
Abstracts, that "greater efforts to deter . . . consensual homosexual
activity" are needed, are not untypical for penological
writings.Complicating the matter is the extreme difficulty, which is
often glossed over, of a non-imprisoned investigator, usually someone
associated with the administration (at least in the eyes of the
prisoners), seeking to obtain reliable data on behavior which
violates disciplinary codes and which is as secretive as the most
sensitive aspect of underworld life can be to the prying eyes of
outsiders. As a result, armchair theorizing, remote from the actual
behavior which is supposed to be its subject, is endemic to the
formal literature.A few non-penological psychologists and at least
one sociologist (Wayne Wooden) have published useful studies in the
1980s, but it is noteworthy that only one comprehensive survey of
sexual behavior in a prison (a low-medium-security California
institution) has found its way into print (the Wooden-Parker book Men
Behind Bars, for which Jay Parker gathered information while a
prisoner). The only systematic investigation of sexual behavior (in
this case rape) in jails (the Philadelphia system) was reported in
1968 by Alan J. Davis. Reliable statistics for juvenile institutions
are apparently non-existent, though reform schools have been
described as the incarceration facilities where sexual activity is
most common, and as the locus in which habitual criminals first
acquire the mores governing sexual expression in the prisoner
subculture. Accounts written by prisoners or ex-prisoners have
usually taken the form of autobiography or fiction, and these also
tend to draw veils over areas which might reflect unfavorably on the
writer in presenting himself to the general public, such as rape and
homosexuality. Former prisoners also tend to remain silent concerning
their sexual experiences in confinement when conversing with people
who have not shared that environment, former "punks" being most
loathe to disclose anything about their humiliating sexual role.
Novels by Jean Genet have depicted homosexuality in French reform
schools and prisons, and these are the only widely read books dealing
with the subject, though one must hesitate to draw too much from
Genet's hallucinogenic-fantastic writings.
Billy Hayes' autobiographical Midnight Express (1977) gave an
explicit account of the author's homosexual experiences in Turkish
prisons. Karlheinz Barwasser wrote from a gay inmate's point of view
on German prisons in Schwulenhetz im Knast (1982), while Robert N.
Boyd did the same on the California prison system in Sex Behind Bars
The only systematic account from a "punk's" perspective can be found
in Donald Tucker's "A Punk's Song" in Anthony Scacco's 1982
anthology, Male Rape. A third-person novel which has dealt candidly
with prison sex, based on the author's experience in the California
system, is On the Yard (1967) by Malcolm Braly; a play by Canadian ex-
inmate John Herbert, "Fortune and Men's Eyes" (1967), made into a
movie in 1971, revolves around sexuality in a reformatory. There are
numerous gay pornographic books featuring an incarceration setting,
but very few of them have been written by former inmates and they are
generally extremely inaccurate.
Theories of Prison Homosexuality
Two major theories have been advanced by penologists to account for
prison homosexuality: the Importation Model and the Deprivation
Model. The Importation Model suggests that the "problem" of
homosexuality exists in a prison because it has been brought in from
outside, the Deprivation Model assigns it to the conditions of
incarceration where it is found.The Importation Model rests on
studies showing that the variable of previous homosexual experience
is significant for predicting homosexual activity in prison. It alone
accounted for 29% of the variance of the individuals' scores on an
index of homosexuality. Its major flaw is that much of the prior
homosexuality - including aggression against other prisoners - is
likely to be imported from other incarceration programs rather than
from the larger society outside prison. The variable of prison
homosexuality is not a pure measure of importation free of the
effects of imprisonment, since convicts have often served previous
sentences, some as adolescents in reform schools. The aftereffects of
such periods of incarceration are difficult to unravel from the
impact of the outside world. In one study, two-thirds of those
reporting prison homosexuality indicated that their first experience
had occurred in a reform school. However, the validity of this
finding is weakened by the absence of comparable data from non-
correctional institutions: how many young adults involved in
homosexuality had their first experience while enrolled in high
school? An Importation Theory might more legimitately be focused on
the concepts applied to sexual activity in confinement by the
prisoners. There is little doubt but that the dominant group seeks to
apply the heterosexual models with which they are familiar from the
outside world to the female-deprived prison society; if there are no
females around, they will be created. The particular application of
this model draws from lower-class ideas of masculinity and
homosexuality already mentioned. Only with respect to the punks -
admittedly an indispensible element - does the prisoner culture
depart from these ideas in upholding the notion of the "fall from
manhood" and rationalizing its violent inducement through the act of
rape.The Deprivation Model focuses on the negative aspects of the
prison experience as a cause of homosexuality. The deprivation model
predicts that persons and institutions that associate high pains and
intense suffering with imprisonment are more likely to have
homosexual experience. Advocates of this view also assume that the
harsh, depriving conditions of custody oriented, maximum-security
prisons would favor the development of homosexual patterns. Yet this
prediction is belied by a study finding more prison homosexuality in
a treatment- oriented prison (37%) than in a custody-oriented one
(21%). The only positive correlations found are with the degree of
isolation from the prisoner's family and friends, and the distance
from home. The element of loneliness caused by the deprivation of the
prison experience may contribute to the need for sexual affection and
gratification. Perhaps it would be too much to suggest that
penologists consider a Deprivation Theory which posits that
homosexuality results from the sexual, affectional, and emotional
deprivation of prisoners who would, if given the opportunity,
otherwise continue their heterosexuality. Such a theory, however,
would also have to take into account the question of power
deprivation, which might motivate sexual assaults on other prisoners
even if females were readily available. Another question which has
yet to be addressed is why pecking-order contests are resolved in a
sexual rather than some other manner.
Incarceration as Punishment for Homosexual Conduct
Imprisonment for homosexual offenses is a comparatively modern
innovation. For no infraction of its commandments does the Mosaic Law
prescribe imprisonment as a penalty, and as the punishment for
sodomy, late medieval law decreed castration, banishment, or death.
In practice, if not in law, eighteenth-century England commuted the
death penalty for buggery to exposure in the pillory - a fate almost
worse than death - together with a term of imprisonment, and when the
punishment of hanging established by 5 Eliz. I c. 17 was finally
abolished in 1861, the sentence was reduced only to penal servitude
for life. In 1885 the Criminal Law Amendment Act prescribed a
sentence of two years for "gross indecency" between males. One can
question the logic of sentencing a man found guilty of homosexual
acts with other males to confinement for years or even for life in an
exclusively male community, but the legislatures of the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries evidently had no qualms. Though until
recently homosexual acts were illegal in most American states,
relatively few men and fewer women were imprisoned for violating such
laws. More frequent was the incarceration of convicted pedophiles,
which still continues. Far more homosexuals arrive in local jails for
prostitution (particularly "street transvestites"), and other,
usually non-violent, offenses.
The patterns of sexual behavior and sexual exploitation documented in
recent studies have a long history. In the nineteenth century such
behavior could simply be dismissed as another sordid aspect
of "prison vice," but with the coming of a more scientific approach
prison administrators have had to confront this issue at least in
terms of the effect on the inmates whom they held in custody.
Isolation and maximum-security wards for obvious homosexual prisoners
were part of the solution, but they did not keep the young and
physically slight prisoner with no previous homosexual experience
from being victimized. The lurking danger for the individual prisoner
has become so overt that an appellate court has even upheld the right
of a prisoner to escape if he surrenders to the authorities within a
reasonable time, and courts of the first instance have hesitated to
send convicted persons to prison because of the likelihood that they
would be exposed to sexual violence.Proposals for reform include new
systems of inmate classification based on scoring devices designed to
indicate the level of security required for each prisoner. However,
the state often does not have available space within suitably
differentiated facilities to provide the correct berth for each
prisoner. A more fundamental flaw with such proposals is that they do
not address the reasons for sexual aggression, so that present
patterns are likely to replicate themselves within each
classification level. One strategy which, so far, has yet to be tried
would be to legalize consensual sexuality and encourage the formation
of stable, mutually supportive pair-bonds in that context, while
reserving the full weight of administrative attention and discipline
With administrators continuing to regard both rape and consensual
homosexuality as problems to be equally eliminated, such suggestions
have produced only "we can't sanction homosexuality" replies. So long
as the sex-segregated prison remains society's answer to crime, the
issues of rape and of consensual homosexual behavior behind prison
bars are likely to persist.
So, also, will the strong suggestion that most sexually active
heterosexuals, deprived of access to the opposite sex and not
discouraged by their peers from doing so, will eventually turn to
another person of the same sex, and may even become emotionally
attached to that person. The full implications of that statement,
supported as it is by a considerable body of experience, for our
concepts of sexual orientation and potential, have yet to be fully
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