Sexual Violence in Prison Is Not Funny

Rape is Not Part of the Penalty

By Dexter Yarbrough. Quite often, many of us chuckle or laugh at jokes about "Bubba" and what he will do to his new roommate in prison. Many people have no sympathy for criminals on their way into the penal system and feel that they will "get what they deserve," meaning raped. Like many of you reading this, I love a good laugh. However, rape or sexual assault in any way, shape or form is no laughing matter.

What made me decide to write about this is a hub written by a fellow hubber a couple of weeks ago. It has been on my mind ever since I read it. Her hub addresses the problems of rape in America's prison and jail systems. It is a fascinating article, which discusses the major issues concerning sexual violence in prison. What bothered me was a flippant remark by a person making a comment suggesting that "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime." I have not included the hub because I didn't want to embarrass the person making the comment.

Before I continue, let me say that I am not an apologists for criminals. If they commit acts against "the People," they should be prepared to suffer the consequences. By "consequences," I mean the legal penalty handed down. Where is it written that sexual violence against an inmate is justice?

Sexual Violence is Not About Sex

According to the Bureau of Justice (BJS), an estimated 60,500 inmates report experiencing sexual violence ranging from unwanted touching to non-consensual sex. This is "reported" cases.

While anyone can become the victim of sexual violence, those more likely to be victimized are generally younger than their assailants, mentally ill or intellectually impaired, gay, incarcerated for the first time and/or incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. Sexual violence behind bars is a widespread human rights crisis in prisons and jails across the United States. Twenty percent of inmates in men's prisons are sexually abused at some point during their incarceration. One in four female inmates are victimized at the worst institutions.

Criminals deserve to serve their time in jail or prison. Sexual assault and sexual intimidation is not a part of the sentence.

Where is the Outcry?

The data provided by the BJS only represents a fraction of the true number of detainees victimized, especially of those held in county jails. Criminals are human beings and deserve the basic human rights of protection while in custody. Quite often, survivors can be abused relentlessly, sometimes for a long time and be marked for attacks by other prisoners. In some cases, prisoners are treated like the perpetrators' property and "sold" within the facility.

In prisons and jails throughout the United States, simple preventive measures are rarely taken and reports of rape are often ignored. According to the BJS, in the worst facilities, corrections officials facilitate or participate in sexual violence, respond to inmates' cries for help with laughter and grant perpetrators impunity.

Is this justice? What about those that are truly innocent and wrongly convicted? Are they getting what they deserve? What if it were your daughter, son, husband, wife, mother, father? Would it still be a laughing matter?

The Aftermath

Survivors of sexual violence behind bars experience the same emotional pain as other rape victims. The absence of counseling in the aftermath of an assault causes many prisoners to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and drug addictions. Also, the high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in detention place incarcerated survivors at great risk for infection.

Once released, survivors bring their emotional trauma and medical conditions back to their communities, including yours. Many attempt to put the past behind them, however, these same psychological and medical conditions exist. These people are or may become members of our families, causing more damage to loving homes.


Whether committed by staff or by fellow inmates, sexual assault behind bars is a form of torture that violates international human rights, as well as the United States Constitution. When the government incarcerates someone, it takes on the responsibility to protect that person's safety. In federal court cases, the US Government has recognized that sexual violence in prison can amount to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Whether it be a woman facing four men in a dark alley or a man facing four men in a prison cell, sexual violence is not a laughing matter. It amazes me how supposedly "good" people, especially those that claim to have some measure of faith in a supreme being, forget about justice.

There are rightfully convicted persons in prison and jail. And there are wrongfully convicted people in prison and jail. Whatever the case, would it still be funny if you had to face a group of rapists with the intent to commit sexual violence upon your person? Yep. Just what I thought. It ain't a laughing matter.

Rape is not part of the penalty.

Dexter Yarbrough - Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.

More by this Author

Comments 92 comments

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Dexter, I'd glad that it's not at all a laughing matter, even when the person is actually guilty (at least, those who haven't committed violence against innocent victims). I can't say I care a whole lot about what happens to SOME convicts (child predators/molesters, rapists, violent and cold-blooded murderers). Even without caring what happens to such guilty people, however, the overall picture of the kind of assaults you're talking about happening in prison isn't funny. The reality of it happening to those who disregard the person-hood of others can be less objectionable than having the same kind of thing happen to people convincted wrongly and/or those convicted of non-violent crimes; but on the whole, the matter isn't a laughing one.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Lisa. I appreciate your comments. I am solely addressing the treatment of inmates in prison. As I stated, I am not an apologist for criminals, including child molesters and murderers.

However, we have laws and human rights to live by. How can we call ourselves a civilized people when we laugh or support ill treatment, even of the worst people in society? Sometimes those worst people in society have turned out to be innocent of child molestation or murder. I have seen it happen time and time again.

Nope, it ain't funny. Thanks again for your comments.

Sooner28 4 years ago

Hey Dexter!

This is going to sound really mean, but this is the fault of the general public. When it comes to crimes, many Americans turn into animals, rapid for some kind of pain to be bestowed upon the victim. They literally do not care about prison inmates, like the commenter you mentioned. All they care about is themselves.

It really does bug me that we would even allow such violence to go on under our own roof, and knowingly so! Where is the civilization we often hear about? Where is the humanity? I guess humanity does have a dark past when it comes to the way it treats certain members of its species. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised at all that some people are just disgusting.

Why this really irks me is that many people in prison aren't educated, have a mental disease, or grew up in a really poor environment. The people laughing about their rape should KNOW better, since they often have not experienced such things. Our society has a lot of work to do. I'm voting this up and sharing it. People need to see this.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

This is a very interesting topic of discussion. I agree that though criminals should do time, rape is an entirely different thing--they still deserve basic human rights and rape is an outright violation of that. I wish that something can be done in the prison system to eradicate that. Thanks for sharing and thumbs up for this informative well-written hub. Rated up.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sooner! I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for your great comments. I certainly don't condone the acts of criminals. Yet, we are supposed to live by the rule of law, not emotions. I don't see how anyone can condone and/or laugh at the rape of an inmate (male or female) and see it as justice. It ain't!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Anglnwu. I appreciate your comments. Criminals should be protected from this behavior because ultimately, they come come back into society and have the potential to impact it in negative ways.

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

What a Powerful Hub Dexter. A subject made Fun of by the Media and the Movies, with the Bubba type...But far from a Laughing matter when it is your Son or Daughter who is behind bars and must rely on the Jail System to take care, and protect them, while they serve their time. What is the Answer? No one deserves to be RAPED or made to do ACTS that are unthinkable under normal circumstances in the outside world. The system needs to change and also get rid of Guards, or Correctional Officers who turn their backs and let this happen under their watch. The prisoner should serve the time, but not leave in Fear of being Raped.

David Warren profile image

David Warren 4 years ago from Nevada

Hey Dexter,

Well written! Definitely not a laughing matter although many "educated" people in fact do make many jokes about such behavior. This hub should be published in a national news column. Voted up and useful.

twaggoner profile image

twaggoner 4 years ago

Having spent time working in prisons, I can say that this kind of thing happens all too often. I agree with Sooners statement of the kind of people that are incarcerated. They are more often than not uneducated, mentally ill, socially inept due to conditional stimulus. I also liked Dexters statement of living by the rule of law not emotion. I agree totally, but find it interesting that while the penalty for the crime committed is incarceration, we continue to punish people by placing them in a situation where rape occurs (whether forcible or coercion) and then they get out and are still punished with the stigma of having done time (unable to find work, cant vote, etc.). Prison systems, government controlled not privatized, have come a long way in preventing abuse but unless people are willing to see that we need reform in the way of educational and medical/mental health programs, and are willing to spend the money to institute them, we will continue the warehouse style penal system that is the breeding ground for more criminal activity.

alian346 profile image

alian346 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I don't know what happens in the US but here in the UK there are many trials of prisoners who have inflicted non-sexual violence on other prisoners, but I have only heard of very few trials for sexual violence. This implies to me that it's swept under the carpet. This is totally unacceptable.

A very thought provoking Hub, Dexter.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi b. Malin. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I couldn't agree more. NO ONE deserves to be raped under any conditions - including those that have been incarcerated.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi David. Thanks for your kind remarks. This issue had been bothering me for sometime. I finally had to vent. I hope that people realize that rape is a horrible experience - for anyone.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Twaggoner. You raise some really great issues in your thoughtful comments. I really wish that I had the answer to some of the social stigma concerns. I do know that the government has a responsibility to protect prisoners. And I know that it can do so with better training, housing conditions and severe penalties for sexual violence.

Thanks again, Twaggoner.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Ian. Thanks for your comments. I would guess that it is swept under the carpet and the victims simply refuse to report the crime due to shame and intimidation. As such, the crime of rape has occurred as well as the crime of intimidation.

This person now has to deal with sexual violence against their body as well as the psychological damage due to the incident. How is this humane? Nope, it ain't funny.

Thanks again, Ian.

Charlu profile image

Charlu 4 years ago from Florida

Great hub that lets people take a look at reality in your local jails along with state and some federal prisons Here is some food for thought for those of you that think it's the child molesters and rapist that are getting raped, newsflash their still raping they just had a geographical change. When the 18 or 19 year old gets locked up for DUI (male or female it doesn't matter) and cries their eyes out until another inmate offers them protection and guess what the price is. In this state 80% of those diagnosed with hepatitis C have spent a mere 24 hrs in jail A blood to blood contagious disease you do the math. Staph infections that leave scars that last a lifetime. Next time you think about Bubba and his new cellmate think about your 17 or 18 yr old honor roll student in the wrong place at the wrong time and how they walk out 24 hrs late a very changed individual then tell me about Bubba's. Oh yeah and don't forget about some of those wonderful guards and counselors.

Please tell how condoning the act (guards do it all the time) or allowing it to continue is any different for those victims because of an extra beer, a stolen shirt, some dope someone else had in the car, riding in a car they didn't know was stolen or my personal favorite when the young naive girlfriend covers for her punk boyfriends crime because another charge would put him away for 10 and shes never been arrested. Sorry to rant but this is a sore spot for me when you've seen the results and watch them never even look into the crime or perpetrator. Up useful and interesting Again sorry so long just some people don't have a clue.

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Dexter, you've written an excellent post here and I hope it helps enlighten folks. Violence of any kind to a prisoner is just not acceptable and that commenter who said that flippant thing to the other Hubber sounds very mean-hearted.

Voting up!

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

You make some good points and too; although it may not happen that often, what about ones falsely accused and then have this added to being imprisoned unjustly. The American system is so corrupt though it is not surprising our judicial system knowingly looks the other way. Look at all the drug problems in prisons of all places! Just more of a pitiful world we live in. You are taking a great stand. I am sure we have no idea just how bad it really is.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

It is not a laughing matter and turns my stomach when people are violated. It was a rape victim a long-time ago and that experience has effected any relationship I have been in, including my marriage. Although people commit crimes, there should not be crimes committed against them. Rape is a crime and those who have committed that crime against a victim while they are in prison, should be charged. Nobody should be afraid of another person. Everyone has rights and are human beings. voted up and shared. Thanks for writing this piece.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Son,

I'm so proud of you. I really didn't want to read this article and I forced myself to. This is a subject that is so painful for me to even think about.

I am a peace-loving nurse. I had a most violent assault involving horrific situations against myself/ someone I cared about was killed and I have had unkind thoughts towards "one" individual, that I continue to work out in my healing process.

For someone to make a public, perhaps unthinking remark about "doing the crime/ doing the time" is indeed insensitive. Your essay is so sensitively and accurately expressed that I am reminded of the need to continuously look within, maintain a decent perspective and always do the right thing.

You are beautiful inside and out, sweetheart. As always, you can do no wrong, baby.

Voted UP & UI. Love, Momma

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Charlu! No need to apologize. I am happy that you took the time to read and comment. You are right. What about the 18 year old college student, who is in jail on a minor charge and housed with violent criminals? They are sometimes subjected to cruel acts and, because of fear, decide not to report. They are changed, mentally and physically for life.

You have raised some very good points. Thanks again for leaving a great comment.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Beth. Thanks for the great comments. This is a really tough subject and I realize that a number of my usual followers aren't commenting. However, sexual violence is unacceptable, whether in an urban alley or in prison. No one should be forced to do anything of the sort, anywhere, anytime.

Thanks, Beth. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Jackie. You are absolutely correct. Great comments. Inmates can get more items in prison than we can as free persons! And this goes for the buying, selling and intimidation of weaker inmates. A blind eye is being turned and it is not right. Thanks for reading.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

HI AEvans. I am horrified and saddened by your experience. Thank you for reading and commenting. Rape is a crime and should not be allowed or winked at as though it is acceptable. Human rights must prevail. I appreciate your kindness.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Momma. This indeed was a tough subject to write about. I am well aware that a myriad of people have suffered from this type of traumatic incident.

I certainly understand having feelings of anger and even hatred towards someone that has wronged us. And I certainly believe that criminals should get harsh penalties and serve out their sentences. But I don't believe that anyone should suffer the degradation of being forced to have sex with someone against their will, while prison and jail officials (as well as the public) ignore it. It just ain't right.

You are a beautiful woman with honest feelings. May you continue to heal and be a blessing to others.

Thank you so very much for taking the chance to read and comment.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I've written about this several times through the years, so I'm pleased to see it here. Those who think "Bubba" rape is funny or deserved would change their mind in a hurry if the victim was their child.

One case I remember was a young man who attended a party, drank too much, and rammed another car on the way home, killing a couple of people. It was his only crime, but of course, he went to prison where he was brutally raped almost daily, and finally committed suicide.

These are the prisons of "We the People", and as such, we should demand humane and safe treatment.

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

What I do know, especially in a culture like mine, these acts are rarely reported because of the stigma of being labelled a certain way. This behaviour is kept on the down low but we do know it happens because the effects of the person leaving prison will show signs of the emotional and even physical trauma. Something needs to be done because the men and women that are incarcerated are our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nephews, nieces and spouses.

LuxmiH profile image

LuxmiH 4 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

Bravo Dexter!.

For such an enlightened society, we still have a long way to go within the 'corrections community'. This is a powerful and compassionate Hub. Although the topic is something that most people don't want to think about... what if it was your son, or your brother? How many families are tortured because their loved one has been convicted and may be subject to additional torture?

I have taught workshops to men who are long term residents in correctional facilities. Without exception they were basically good people. Good people who made bad decisions or stupid mistakes. Generally speaking they are not the stereo-typical 'bad guy' portrayed in the movies.

I applaud you for tackling this subject.

Voted up and awesome... because it takes awesome courage to speak up about such a topic.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Dexter, This is something i never thought about. It hurts me to think a young man could be treated this way and the people in charge look away or worse are involved. They should be separated from the hardened criminals. This is just one more wrong committed against a victim that has to stop..

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I agree with everything you say. Rape is never funny. I remember reading a play by Michel Tremblay set in Montreal when I was in university for an English Class on Screenplays. He is a well-known Quebec screenwriter. In one scene, the sisters in law are joking around and one tells the joke about a nun who is raped to the point where she is in danger of dying. She is trying to say something and someone goes and kneels down to hear what she is saying and she says "More." The characters all laugh.

I was absolutely outraged. I was in tears. But my classmate who was raised in Montreal wasn't offended. Why she wasn't offended, I don't know.

But that was almost 13 years ago and I still remember it clear as if it happened yesterday. Thanks for the excellent article. Sexual violence is never funny.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

I totally agree with you Dexter. There is most certainly nothing funny about this problem, but I have to say I can't see it becoming a burning issue for most people. The only time anyone takes note of the violence is when a guard is involved which happens more often than we are led to believe. Up and awesome, Dex.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Will. I couldn't agree more. I don't even like to watch prison movies because of the sexual violence. I feel bad for that young man. Rape is not a joke. Thanks for the comments, Will.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Cardisa. You said it all. Those rightfully or wrongfully convicted potential victims of sexual assault could be one of our relatives. It ain't funny. The emotional and physical trauma is devastating.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi LuxmiH. Thanks for sharing your comments on this subject. You are right. A number of inmates are good people that did something stupid. They are deserving of respect as well as protection.

I appreciate your kind words. It is a tough subject, but I am happy to know that people like you are supportive.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

HI AE. Thanks for responding. It is indeed a sad situation. Hopefully more people will take notice and work to put a stop to it.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Flora. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share that story. I would have been saddened as you were after viewing that scene. I wouldn't have found any humor in it.

Thanks Flora for your comments and support. it is not funny.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Pop. I know you are right. Many people wouldn't take notice - until it happened to them or a loved one. Thanks for commenting and the vote up. I appreciate it.

Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Dexter,

I believe criminals should pay for their crime but under no circumstance is sexual violence acceptable.

Voted up and awesome.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sue! I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for commenting.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Anyone who thinks this subject is a laughing matter, Dex, would change their tune in a heartbeat if they were unfortunate enought to become a victim. Sexual violence against both men and women is commonplace in our prisons. I appreciate your shining a light on the subject. Voted Up.

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

This is a subject that has bothered me for a very long time. Prisons are meant to be a place of punishment by taking away a persons freedom to do what ever they choose. Does the prison system have no more control of the prisoners than to have this happen right under their noses? We know there are people in the prison system that do not belong there. They are also meant to be a place of rehabilitation. What kind of rehabilitation is the fear and degradation of being raped. Other then the rapists, child molesters and murderers, no one should be put through such a horrible experience. The people that have to endure such horrible experiences may have gone into prison a "bad" person, but will leave prison a much worse person. We need more control of our prisons. I am shocked and ashamed at the amount of drugs and violence in our prison system. I am glad you have brought attention to this matter. Voted up and sharing! Thank you!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Dr BJ. Thanks for commenting. it is a serious matter indeed. I really love a life full of laughter and fun. But somethings just aren't funny. Thank you.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sgbrown. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. You bring up some very good issues. Prisons are supposed to be places where rights and movement are restricted and people are rehabilitated. The prison system has failed in both regards.

The amount of illegal drugs and violence in prison is shocking. And it is getting worse. Let's hope there isn't anarchy and they are released. it really wouldn't be a laughing matter.

Thanks again for your great comments.

mrslagibb profile image

mrslagibb 4 years ago

Hi Dexter,

I say shout it from the roof tops. Someone, once said to me, it’s how parents bring up their off-spring up. I honestly, think is the mentally of society these days on how some people will go to great lengths to have control and manipulative means over a persons life just for self satisfaction. Through my studies of sexual abuse, (an experience years ago via marriage.) got me going on this subject. I am outraged on how people treat victims too. I do agree with you Dexter whole heartedly, with everything you say. Sexual Violence also goes on outside prison and jail, and it is still laughed at and not understood. 100% voted up. Perhaps you might see what I mean with this if you would like to read it. I myself too, have written articles on the subject. KEEP GOING MY FRIEND. SHOUT! SHOUT!

Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

Bold, Dex, and absolutely necessary in today's world. It seems that even those of our brothers and sisters who seem to be compassionate lose sight of what compassion really is when it comes to our prison population. I am so grateful to know that you are not one of them...and that you speak up for the victims of these horrific acts.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Mrslagibb. Thank you so much and I really appreciate you sharing your opinion. Sexual violence OUTSIDE of prison is no joke as well. There are a number of men and women that are carrying scars from incidents that are no laughing matter. It is very difficult to look upon the good in life when you carry this kind of burden. I am so happy that people like you realize it and want to do something about it.

I am looking forward to reading your article. Thanks again!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Mo. It does my heart good to see you and for your comments. I know that we see a lot of issues along the same lines. We have no love for those that take from and harm others. They belong where they end up. But some people make mistakes and others are innocent. An 18 year old student thrown in jail with hardened criminals is a victim in waiting. He/she should be protected and not subjected to sexual terror. No one should.

Thanks so much, my friend. I trust you are doing well.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA

Voted up. Well written and an interesting article. Maybe we need to complain to our congressmen. I wonder if they will pay attention though.

lawdoctorlee profile image

lawdoctorlee 4 years ago from New York, NY

Short, sweet, and to the point, Dexter. Excellent job summing up the issue. Definitely, rape is not part of the penalty. Glad I could inspire you to address the issue. Prisoners' rights is a tough issue to fight. Society treats them like throwaways, but eventually they do get out of prison (the majority). This is a wake-up call people need. They will get out of prison. But how do they ever become a productive member of society when they are subjected to this repeated abuse and stripped of their constitutional rights.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Barbara. Thanks for reading and commenting. I wonder if politicians even care. They really should. We are talking about human rights.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi, Lawdoctorlee. Thank YOU so much for the inspiration. I really appreciate your perspective and concern.

cherrycrime26 profile image

cherrycrime26 4 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

Thank You for writing this Dexter, I use to work in the system for awhile as a jail nurse, and what people don't understand is, there are a lot of innocent people who are locked up daily, no one deserves to be raped even if they committed a crime, thanks for bringing awareness to people who just don't understand.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Dexter. Thank you for writing about such an important and somber topic. There's a great need for the general public to be educated and understand the "jokes" are in fact, a real problem for both men and women in the prison system.

Obviously, it is much too easy to close our eyes or turn our backs to "abuse" taking place in prisons (against inmates). There's a general consensus that "no one cares" about prisoners.

The enlightenment needs to begin with helping people to understand (SEE) that not every single individual who has been locked up, fits the stereotype of "evil, nasty, disgusting, life-long, hard-core criminal." This simply isn't so and I'm afraid that this mindset gives people the attitude that they needn't care about such creatures.

Many many of those incarcerated are there for the first time, for a first offense, perhaps of a non-violent nature. They are human beings....someone's son, husband, brother. While it may be fair to have them pay their "debt" to society, NOTHING excuses beating, raping or torturing. This is a topic that should be discussed often and at length. Up +++

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Cherrycrime. Thanks for your comments. People tend to forget about those in jail - not realizing that these people are humans. You are right in that innocent people are in jail/prison. Lots of them. Thanks!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Fpher! I couldn't agree with you more and I am so happy you took the time to comment. This is a very serious subject. What some people fail to realize is that these victims bring their new physical and psychological issues back home when they get out. This can affect families and entire communities. Thank you for your great remarks.

ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada


You are absolutely correct and I sat here chastised as I read this because, I too, have easily fallen into the "Bubba" jokes now and then over the years.

Truly, you have to wonder how close to 100% of the people sentenced are thinking of this as they are led to the prison van.

I think to end it you would need to reevaluate the entire penal system and identify who actually is running the show in there (even without bad guards) once the lights go out. You are right...being assaulted is certainly not part of the minimum sentencing guidelines.

Voting this Up and Sharing.



Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

I spent 10 years working with the worst inmates and wards that California has to offer, and I wish you could slip into my boots and walk my job because nothing has changed. Sure, you can say how unfair these prisoners are because they are being raped in prison. Therefore, you will not understand that there is more to prison life than someone being raped behind those bars. What you have totally missed here are the victims of these crimes and who remain the walking wounded because of these incarcerated felons. These are people on the outside who will never be the same again, and at the same time, they are treated worse than the criminals who are thrown into prison for rape and murder. Sure. Go ahead and "discuss" this all you like. But it is what it is. Prison has no happy ending. Yeah, I could tell you all I've seen and all I had to learn on how to cope. I can tell you how tall Manson is and how he tried to throw his hypnotic act on me as I fed him his state-issued breakfast. I was 17 when Helter Skelter was written, and I was 40 when I slammed his food port and walked away. Well, fiddle dee dee. The only way you will totally understand the way a prison works is to be there. And to most of you, the real truth of what goes on in prison will sicken as well as disappoint and depress you. But when it comes to committing a crime, no one cares if they are going to be thrown into prison. That's the last thing on a criminal's mind. No matter what goes on in prison, the mere mortals who go to work and contribute to society will never have their say when it comes to the prison system and the death penalty. As long as a prison system like this exists, prison is big business. If you haven't figured it out by now, inmates come way before the children and the elderly. You can write all the articles you want on the sad treatment of inmates, but I know better because I was there. And for my own sanity, I had to do my job and take care of my inmates so that they did not kill each other or harm staff. You have, through your Hub, only skimmed the surface. If I'm going to shed tears for anyone, it's going to be for those poor victims on the outside--trying to cope and get by. Want to know a secret? I used to be one of them, so I know.

onlooker 4 years ago

Truly sad. Thank you, for bringing this into light. When sexual need becomes about raping it crosses the line. There should be a no tolerance policy for the rapists, some kind of law that makes it even uglier for those bullies.

cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 4 years ago from Cebu

This is a very serious subject matter and something that we are aware of but civilization have turn a blind eye of. Prison is a place where you reflect on your sin and hopefully come out to be a better person than you go in. With this occurrence in prison I doubt that the people who are victim to this will come out better.

Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Dex this was such a great article and a subject that should not be so easily dismissed. I am not an apologists either..I have family who have worked in corrections for many years and I hear the stories. It goes beyond the walls of the prison once they are released. Some are first time offenders, young, non violent crimes, and to have this happen is devastating. The whole system needs to be revamped in my opinion. Texas prison systems to me are not even safe for the correctional officers as they carry their little pepper spray cans, and have one officer to many inmates. The ratio is staggering. Thanks Dex for a well written piece. No one deserves to be rapped in or out of prison.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi ThoughtSandwiches! Many of us have made these jokes over the years so I understand. I am glad you took the time to read and share this hub. Thank you very much.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Arlene. Thanks for commenting. While I am sensitive to your employment in correctional facilities, I think you missed the entire point. This hub is not about the victims of the inmates who suffer daily. Those stories are written everyday. This hub is about inmates (some of whom are innocent) who become victims of rape in prison and how it is not funny - period. And if you read my hub thoroughly, you would know that I am not an apologists for criminals.

Seeing that you don't know me or others that have commented, it is really unfair for you to assume (in a condescending way) that we have no idea what goes on in penal institutions. As a black man, I do know. And I too have been a victim.

In any event, you can disagree all you want. Regardless, rape of anyone, in prison or on a street, is not funny nor is t justifiable due to what THEY did to someone previously. That is what was written and I don't need to work in a jail or prison to know what is wrong from right.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Onlooker! I agree. Rape is about violence and not sex. Thank you so much for your comments.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Cebutouristspot! You are correct. Just because you committed a crime against another does not justify rape in prison. How can you become a better person when faced with this type of violence? Thanks for your comments.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Hi dex, sorry I missed this one.

I think our whole prison system is loaded with corruption. Nobody "deserves" to be raped...nobody. It sickens me to think of such "evil"...because that is ALL this is, is pure evil, for anyone to commit such an act.

Sometimes, I think maybe returning to some of the old ways...of hard labor....perhaps a shorter sentence busting rocks all day. Work hard, serve time, get out.

Great hub dex, disturbing, but yet well done.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sunnie! Thanks for commenting. I agree with you wholeheartedly. The impact of this violence, at some point, can effect our own communities. That is very scary to me. No one should be victimized by sexual violence no matter who they are - or what they did.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi CMerritt! Good to hear from you. No problem. I couldn't agree with you more. It is pure evil. And it sickens me.

This is a tough subject and hard to write about. There needs to be an overhaul of the system. Prison and its isolation and hard labor should be feared. Not prison conditions and inmates that enjoy sexual violence.

Thanks so much for your great comments.

Someguy 4 years ago

Hi thanks for bringing it into light. Not many people do that. I know first hand what prison is like. A Biblical hell is probably more tolerable for a first time non violent inmate than modern day prisons of some western countries.

I also think that death penalty should be brought back. As you said some (actually many vulnerable) life sentence/other prisoners are marked for repeated rapes/assaults. The least we as a society can do is give them a choice to die or serve their sentence if we can't provide a safe place for their punshment. Note: I am not advocating forceful death sentence, just based on choice. If opposers to this actually knew/felt the extent of "evil" that happens in prisons, they wouldn't oppose it on unethical grounds.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Someguy. Thank you for providing a great perspective on this issue. Some inmates really do suffer at the hands of despicable creeps in prison and it is not right.

mrslagibb profile image

mrslagibb 4 years ago

Where’s the human compassion for another human being. In biblical terms, were we not taught to love one another as human beings, NOT ABUSE ONE ANOTHER.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hello Mrslagibb. You are so right! Thank you for commenting. I hope more people read what you have to say!

mrslagibb profile image

mrslagibb 4 years ago

Thank you for your reply, I do hope people do see the comment. Like I keep saying Dexter SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Mrslagibb! Thanks you so much! I will keep shouting!

Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

It's not a laughing matter, but sometimes people will present those "jokes" as warnings to not commit crimes in general. My brother told me that if the stereotype of being sexually assaulted in prison becomes what everyone believes as typical in the prison system, then most will avoid doing illegal activities. It's twisted, but it scared the heck out of many people because they didn't want to be attacked.

It's not funny, but maybe it's better to be well-known by sick commentary instead of not saying anything at all.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks for your response. But your solution obviously doesn't work because people go to and return to jails and prisons everyday.

People are attacked regardless. The fact is, IT IS NOT FUNNY and it doesn't work to joke about it as a deterrent. Sexual assault of men and women is serious and is not to be taken lightly. Period.

mrslagibb profile image

mrslagibb 4 years ago

Hi Dexter,

I hope you do not mind but I have added your article to mine To try and raise people’s awareness about abuse.

feenix profile image

feenix 4 years ago

Hey, Dex,

This is a useful, awesome, interesting and very informative article.

And due to the fact that I am one who has "done some time", I am well aware of the "forcible-rape crisis" in penal institutions.

Now, there is a great irony here:

(1) The primary reason why many are confined to prisons and jails is it is impossible to have enough cops around to stop or deter individuals from committing crimes.

(2) The primary reason why there are so many incidences of forcible rape in detention centers is it is impossible to have a sufficient number of (honest) guards on the scene to stop or deter those crimes.

The reality is, the world is what it is, which means that this planet always has consisted of both the bitter and the sweet, and things will always be that way.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Mrslagibb. Sure no problem. I have already read and commented on your hub! Thank you!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Not funny at all. Kudos to you Dex for letting that be known.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Feenix, my big brother! Thank you so much and your comment is noted and of course admired! Thank you so very much!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sunshine! Absolutely! There is so much we can laugh at but sexual violence isn't it. Thank you!

mrslagibb profile image

mrslagibb 4 years ago

Hi Dexter,

I have left a comment on For those who have tried to read the above link from my comment earlier on Dexter’s hub I think the link was broken. If you wish to read it please follow this link above. It is When will it end part two you are looking for. Thank you again Dexter for your comment and support.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Sure. Thanks, Mrslagibb!

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Dexter, great article my friend. I use to work at a prison, both as a guard and in food service. Rape is no laughing matter. It happens a lot more then people speak of, especially in prison, jails, detention centers, ect. To my knowledge, it is mainly those who are facing long terms. I never heard of any issues with our detention center. Most inmates were only there for a few months to a year or so. But once again, it is kept private. When I moved to the prison, wow! It seemed like once a week we would have an issue. Although I no longer work in this field, I would hope they take this matter in hand and make appropriate changes. Great write up Dex.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Thelyricwriter. Thanks for the great comments. It is always good to hear from someone that has worked in that environment and knows, first hand, the realities of the situation.

I agree and hope that changes will come so that this crime is drastically reduced. Thanks again!

billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas

Well organized and well written - too many people have the "well it serves them right" attitude - abuse of any sort, anywhere, under any circumstances, must not be tolerated - congratulations for shining a clear and strong light on the subject - regards - B.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Billips! Thank you so much! Yes, this is a serious issue and some people take it lightly. I agree, abuse of any sort should not be tolerated.

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

This subject reminded me of the time a few years ago when a couple of inmates in California died during a severe heat wave. They were on a medication that prevented sweating. A lot of people had the attitude that since they were in prison, they deserved what they got. I heard them say things like, "We don't have air conditioning, why should they." But they seem to be missing the point that these people can't go outside and hose off, or go down to the river for a dip. Those prisoners were not sentenced to death for their crimes, but they ended up dead while in a public institution.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

You are so right, Sherry. Criminals should be sentenced for their crimes. Anything above the punishment received is unfair and inhumane. Thanks for sharing.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Hi Dexter, this is a very good article on the subject of violence and rape in prisons. There are a lot of problems with prisons and this is one of them. I am not sure what can be done to correct it. In the past it was partly due to having personnel who were of less than qualified to haandle such things and probably did not care much. I understand that requirements have become better but I do not know how much good it has done.

Prison has a culture of its own and I do not know how that can be managed. It is food for thought though. sharing.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Dahoglund. I'm not sure what else can be done. But I do know that changing the culture of prison rape acceptability can work wonders, Increasing training for guards and increasing penalties for those that engage in rape can help also.

Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

This is an excellent hub and needs to be read by as many people as possible. No one should have to live in fear like this. The whole prison system is a sham. Not every inmate is a monster, I hate how judgemental society is. When prisoner's finish their sentence, it stays with them as they'll never find work again with a criminal record. Sorry, I was going off the point a bit there but rehabilitation just doesn't exist. Voted up and shared.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Hi Peanutritious! Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree that the prison system is a sham. It needs to get back to rehabilitation and not just housing people.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article