STOP PRISONER RAPE, INCORPORATED. (SPR) is a small, but growing national non-profit organization dedicated to Combating the Rape of Prisoners and providing as much assistance as we can to survivors of jailhouse rape.
The New Jersey Chapter of STOP PRISONER RAPE is but one of the many planned state organizations which have been formed to bring about awareness of this violent sexual crime occurring in the incarcerated setting.
Both the current SPR president and past presidents are survivors of jail gang-rapes which followed arrests for protesting the war in Indochina. SPR's late president, Stephen (Donny) Donaldson spent five years in federal prison.
SPR maintains a prisoner's practical perspective rather than an academic or administrative one. We believe that prisoners themselves can be most effective in discouraging rape in their own institutions, but believe there is much that administrators and outsiders must and can do to address this horror.
Rape is frequently used worldwide by jail, prison and penal administrations against political prisoners. In that vein, SPR has a particular interest in the political prisoner.
According to the best and most thorough statistical survey of a prison (a medium-security California institution, reported in 1982 by Prof. Wayne Wooden and Jay Parker):
--14% of the prison population was sexually assaulted in that prison.
The authors believed that this under-reported the extent of rape, and being limited to events in that institution it did not count prisoners who had been raped in jails or other prisons and/or learned to pair off with a protector as soon as they arrived.
A still unpublished 1994 statewide survey has found an even greater sexual assault rate.
The only survey of a jail, by Philadelphia District Attorney Alan Davis in 1968, reported that:
--Over 3% of the men who passed through the jails of that city were sexually assaulted while incarcerated.
Davis also stated he believed it to be an undercount. We do not know how many boys are raped in juvenile facilities, but, by all accounts, the situation is the worst at that level.
Female prisoners are raped by guards and staffers to a great but unknown extent, and, nonetheless, SPR DOES consider it a serious problem.
SPR does what it can with very limited resources to educate prisoners, the public, (ONE out of Every TWENTY Americans, according to the federal government, will spend time in state or federal prison during their lifetimes), and incarceration professionals, and to reach out to survivors both inside and outside the walls.
SPR works with lawyers for survivors filing damage claims and encourage class actions against institutions which do nothing to protect the youngest and least violent residents against the terror of sexual assault;.
SPR previously entered a brief on prisoner rape to the U.S. Supreme Court (Farmer v. Brennan) in late 1993. This brief had a marked influence on the Court's opinion (decided June 6, 1994).
SPR also seeks to suggest and recommend that public officials deal with this problem and grim reality. On the other hand, we want to cooperate with administrators willing to face this problem by providing realistic staff training.
Eventually SPR would like to provide face-to-face counseling for incarcerated survivors.
SPR also provides free literature to prisoners and free copies of a 90-minute audio tape, BECOMING A SURVIVOR, to prisoners who have been or expect to be sexually assaulted and who request and are able to receive them.
SPR worked closely with the SAFER SOCIETY PRESS to produce the PRISONER RAPE EDUCATION PROJECT (PREP), of which the BECOMING A SURVIVOR audiocassette is a part.
Another tape is designed for prisoner orientation programs and emphasizes rape avoidance, while a 46-page booklet for institutional staff members discusses realistic ways that the institutions can discourage rape and improve the quality of life for the survivor.
SPR Seeks and Enlists Your Support in the Humanitarian Effort!
Much of the work of SPR consists of attempts to get the public and the media to end the Curtain of Silence which has so long shrouded the truth about the rape of prisoners in the incarcerated setting.
Rape of males has long been a taboo subject for public discussion. As a result, numerous myths and misconceptions have been allowed to flourish.
It is important to know that ANYONE can be raped, and that rape is a both Sex Crime and Crime of Power which can alter the victim's personal perception of his masculinity or sexual orientation.
It is Important to note that nce a prisoner is raped, he is stigmatized and marked as a victim for repeated sexual assault for as long as he remains locked up.
Most victims are young, small, and non-violent, unable to defend themselves against ruthless exploitation.
It is estimated (applying the findings of previously published systematic surveys of a jails and a prison to the 1.3 million males locked up in America in 1994) that some 60,000 unwanted sexual acts take place behind bars in the United States EVERY DAY, victimizing in the course of a year some 130,000 adult males in prisons, 30,000 in jails, and 40,000 boys held in juvenile and adult facilities.
Full of rage and without the opportunity to receive psychological treatment for Rape Trauma Syndrome, these men and boys will usually return to the community far more violent and antisocial than before they were raped.
Some of them will perpetuate the vicious cycle by becoming rapists themselves in a misguided attempt to Regain their Manhood in the same manner in which they believe it was lost.
The number of women sexually victimized by male guards and staff is large but unknown, and only comes to light when the prisoner become pregnant.
The Primary Purposes of SPR are:
--to provide education;
--to provide information; and
--to provide advocacy at all levels with regard to this ongoing nightmare of sexual assault and enslavement;
--to provide encouragement;
--to provide advice;
--to provide counseling, and legal support to survivors;
--to train the staff which must deal with them; and
--to combat this systematic horror in every way possible manner.