Thursday, March 22, 2007

Drug War Casualties: Prisoner Rape Victims

It is widely accepted that the U.S. “war on drugs” has been both costly and ineffective. Less known is the devastating link between current U.S. drug policies, prison overcrowding, and rape behind bars. In "Stories from Inside: Prisoner Rape and the War on Drugs," a report released today, Stop Prisoner Rape makes clear for the first time how the war on drugs has contributed to the sexual violence that plagues prisons and jails across the country, derailing justice and shattering human dignity.

"Stories from Inside" offers first-hand accounts by 24 prisoner rape survivors, all of whom were sexually assaulted while serving time for a non-violent drug-related offense. The report also offers an overview and analysis of the war on drugs, highlighting how it affects the sentences and prison experiences of hundreds of thousands of Americans and making policy recommendations. Anyone can become a victim of prisoner rape, but non-violent drug offenders who are unschooled in the ways of prison life tend to be targeted, especially when they are housed in cramped cells or in poorly monitored dormitories that were never meant to hold inmates in the first place.

Read more of the SPR press release here, via Jacob Sullum at Reason Magazine.

If there was a single issue that made turned me into a libertarian, the War on Drugs was near the top of the list. If these testimonials of non-violent drug offenders getting raped in prison (3 are from Michigan) don't convince you that the War on Drugs is misguided, senseless and immoral, nothing will.


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