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Rape in Prison

Rape in prison is an ugly reality that most people have learned to ignore or have grown to accept, but prisoner rape is an institutionalized form of cruelty that infringes upon basic human rights, contributes to the spread of disease, and perpetuates violence both inside and outside of prison walls. (from Stop Prisoner Rape)


Stop Prisoner Rape is committed to ending sexual violence in all centers of detention. Their website details state-by-state rape and sexual assault laws. They also offer suggestions and assistance for political action to stop prisoner rape as well as survivor stories, articles and research information.

Amnesty International's Rights for All program has a list of recommendations for treatment of inmates in prisons and jails.

The California Coalition for Women Prisoners
informs the public about the conditions under which women in prison live and advocates for positive changes.

Human Rights Watch's Prison Project documents abuses, including prisoner rape, in U.S. correctional facilities and worldwide. Their research into the issue resulted in a comprehensive 378-page report on the problem of prison rape. The report is available for free download here:


"Sentenced to Rape", CounterPunch, February 6, 2002


Stephen Donaldson, former president of Stop Prisoner Rape, was the first victim of prison rape to speak out about the issue publicly. In 1973, Donaldson was arrested for participating in a peaceful Quaker protest against US bombings of Cambodia. He spent two days in jail during which he was brutally gang raped 60 times. After his release he underwent rectal surgery as a result of the violence of the attacks. Donaldson later discovered he had been infected with HIV during the prison rapes and eventually died from AIDS-related complications. READ MORE

"In about 85 percent of
cases, sexual assaults
occur between people
who know each other."

Source: Diana Russell,
The Prevalence and Incidence of
Forcible Rape and Attempted Rape of Females, Victimology: An International Journal 7, 1-4 (1983).