In the US correctional facilities, inmates are faced with numerous challenges. This is based on gang affiliation, the physics of the inmate, and the offence they have been convicted for. The most affected are male correctional facilities. This is because men are more violent compared to their female counter parts. This paper summarizes and gives an analysis Alan Prendergast’s article, “Prison Sexual Abuse survivor Speaks Out” which was published in Prison Legal News. The article mainly focuses on enlightening people on what goes on behind the high electric prison fences. It has comprehensively discussed the issue of sexual abuse in prisons.
The author of the article uses oral evidence that was given by a survivor of sexual abuse to shed a light on what happens behind prison walls. The author argues that it is the ignorance of the prison staff on cases that have been reported worsens the situation day in day out. The fact that highly organized gangs operate in prison is also an indicator that there is laxity on the part of those who are supposed to maintain law and order in prisons. Prendergast (2012) estimates that 88500 adults were sexually assaulted, while serving there jail terms in American correctional facilities. He also goes ahead to name a prison gang, “The 211”, that is well known and has members in all correctional facilities all over the country. According to the article, a report released by the department of justice indicates that 200,000 rape cases and other forms of sexual abuses in American prisons were recorded in 2008.
The key points raised in the article are the relationship between being gay and finding yourself locked up behind the bars. In addition to this is the fact that even after sexual violence is reported, little is done in order to curb the vice. However, the article fails to give recommendations on what should be done to save the situation and instead focuses more on trying to prove that indeed what is said about prison sexual violence is true.It has done so by quoting the survivor’s own words. On the other hand, the article has also fails to indicate what the commission agreed to do after listening to the testimonies of the ex-convict. The author should try to give a number of recommendations that might be used to reduce the number of sexual assaults.
The theoretical value of the whole article is the emphasis it gives on the role of organized gangs in sexual abuse in correctional facilities. Organized gangs in incarceration centers aggravate the situation, because they seem to be less controlled by prison officers. The use of violence and intimidation makes those who are abused to suffer silently, because they fear for their safety. One would rather suffer at the hands of the gangs than report and be branded a snitch, which is equivalent to a death sentence inside the prison perimeter wall.
The article has also raised the issue of case managers blaming those who declare being openly. They refer to them as trouble makers which gives offenders a loophole to operate inside correctional facilities. Whenever a gay person reports that he has been sexually abused, the case manager accuses him of being responsible for what happens to him. The victim is turned away by the people who are supposed to ensure his safe custody.
The article was written with the sole aim of trying to bring to the lime light the failure of prison officials to control sexual abuse in incarceration centers. According to the article, many victims do not report the cases to the authority due to the laxity in which the issue is handled. The cruelty of the gang is also another reason why victims fail to report when abused. They simply fear for their lives.
The USA has experienced a significant rise in crime rates for the past 30 years. This can be attributed to the emergence of drug networks across the state. In addition, racism has also contributed as it has led to the mushrooming of racial gangs, notably black Americans and Mexicans. This has seen a rise in population in correctional centers. In the view of this, the paper draws from the ideas presented by Carey Biron in the article “U.S Population Seeing ‘Unprecedented Change”. The article presents studies that indicate that the population in prison has grown by 790% in the past three decades. The paper concentrates more on giving reasons that have led to overcrowding in federal prisons and rise of juvenile incarceration.
Biron (2013) argues that incarceration is no longer an assurance of decreasing crime levels. For instance, if a drug lord is imprisoned, another person immediately fits into his shoes and it becomes hard to combat the trade. The author also notes that the high number of elderly people being sent to prison is not the best option. He states that the prison facilities are not equipped to take care of such people. In addition, he observes that juvenile incarceration as an immediate cause of the population pressure in the correctional facilities, with more than 95000 juveniles being sent to prison last year.
The key points noted in the article are reasons that have led to congestion in prisons. Nevertheless, the article has failed to address the reasons that have seen more people engaging in crime. However, some suggestions that will lead to decongestion of the prisons have been raised. Among them is doing away with the mandatory minimum sentence in given situations. Some legal groups have given ways of reducing incarceration. However, a lot needs to be done in order to address the situation in a more meaningful approach.
The theoretical value of this article is that it has drawn attention to some of the reasons that contribute to population pressure in prisons. Among them is juvenile and elderly incarceration. The imprisonment of juveniles can be replaced with reform institutions. The elderly on the other hand can be put under probation instead of having them behind the bars. Some of the long prison terms can also be reduced all in attempt to reduce the population in prison.
Doing away with minimum mandatory sentence is also another aspect that Biron has raised. This interferes with the judgment made, as it leaves the judges with no option. Unfortunately, according to McNaughton (2012), this requirement does not decongest the prisons. The article has been written with the sole aim of trying to pin point some of the contributing factors that have led to overcrowding in prisons. It has identified the main reason to be harsh sentencing policies. However, a more open approach has to be used if decongestion in prison is too achieved. This can be done by trying to look at the factors that have led more people to venture into crime other than partaking gainful economic activities.