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Rape in Prisons

Prison rape has gone largely unaddressed by programs intended to help communities, correctional institutions and lawmakers in this country. When prison rape is mentioned in the media or general public, it is often in the form of a joke or jest. The passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003 requires all correctional facilities (for adults and juveniles) to address sexual assault and harassment.

Victims of prison rape are at high risk of becoming victims again, largely because they may be too fearful to reach out for help or when they do, they find services specific to their needs are unavailable. They often fear experiencing further trauma and shame if they come forward, or retaliation. If they do choose to tell someone, their cries are sometimes ignored or disregarded.

When victims of prison rape are released — as the majority of inmates are — and rejoin our communities, they often suffer long-term effects from their victimization.