ever, social scientists vigorously debate its fre-quency.
Just over half of U.S. states fail to col-lect data on rapes occurring in their jails andprisons.
Consequently, determining the na-tional rate remains elusive.Prison records greatly undercount sexualassaults because inmates infrequently reporttheir victimization.
Raped inmates fail to no-tify prison workers out of shame, fear of retali-ation by their assailants, adherence to an inmatecode that labels such conduct as “snitching,”and concern that staff will disbelieve or ridiculethem and/or do nothing.
Disparate findings emerge from prevalencestudies. In 1968, Davis
conducted the firstmajor study of male custodial rape. He inter-viewed 3304 male inmates housed in Philadel-phia’s jails and concluded that 3% had beenraped.
In 1978, Lockwood’s interviews
withsome 100 randomly selected inmates revealedthat 28% had been targets of sexual aggression but only 1.3% experienced coerced anal or oralcopulation. By contrast, 14% of the 200 Cali-fornia inmates responding to an anonymoussurvey during 1979–1980 reported being “pres-sured into having sex against their will.”
The three major studies conducted over thenext 14 years found a low incidence of rape. In1983, Nacci and Kane
reported a rape preva-lence of 0.3% upon surveying 330 male inmatesin 17 federal prisons. Five years later, Tewks- bury
anonymously queried 150 male inmatesin an Ohio prison and received no reports ofrape from the 137 respondents. In face-to-faceinterviews with 106 inmates confined to aDelaware prison in 1994, Saum et al.
reporteda prevalence just under 1%.Later in the 1990s, Struckman-Johnson et al.
undertook the two most rigorous and general-izable surveys to date of male custodial rape.Approximately 30% of 1708 men in two mediumsecurity and one minimum security prisons inNebraska returned anonymous surveys in thefirst of the studies.
Twenty-two percent of therespondents reported coerced sexual contactand 12% reported coerced anal or oral sex dur-ing their confinement in Nebraska correctionalfacilities.
In 1998, Struckman-Johnson et al.
surveyed7032 male inmates in seven midwestern states.Twenty-one percent of the respondents re-ported coerced sexual contact during confine-ment in their state prison system.
Seven per-cent of the respondents reported coerced oralor anal sex in their current prison.
Among theseveral prisons, the prevalence of coerced sex-ual contact ranged from 4%–21% and the inci-dence of coerced oral or anal sex ranged from0.0%–11%.
The largest prisons, with over 1000inmates, had the highest rates. One of every 5respondents confined to the largest prisons re-ported staff involvement in a sexual incident.
Commentators have attributed the disparatefindings of the aforementioned studies to sev-eral methodological limitations. They include:(1) small, unrepresentative samples; (2) highrates of illiteracy among surveyed inmates; (3)respondents’ underreporting of victimization,especially in personal interviews; and (4) dis-similar management practices, some of whichtolerant rape.
Moreover, these studies assumed a mean-ingful distinction between coerced and con-sensual sexual acts. Inquiries into consensualsex have reported participation rates rangingfrom 25%–65%.
Sexual practices that areoutwardly consensual, however, are usually bounded by fear, threat, and intimidation. Co-ercive techniques include the threat of harm,the presence of a weapon, and the size andstrength of the aggressor.
For instance, acommon tactic involves extending credit for aday at an interest rate of $2 for every $1 loaned.When the “mark”—usually a naive, drug-addicted inmate—cannot make good on hisdebt, he will be given the option of “servicing”the debt through copulation or face repeated beatings.
The etiology of custodial rape resembles thatof female rape: both are more about power andcontrol than sexual release.
Indeed, the pris-oner subculture regards the rape of a fellow in-mate as one of the premier forms of masculinedomination. Accordingly, most inmate sexualaggressors view themselves as heterosexual.
“Turning out” an inmate (prison argot forraping him) assigns assailant and victim to so-cially constructed, hierarchical gender roles.
RAPE AND INCARCERATED MEN425