Male Rape. Part 3.
Over crowded Prisons.
American prisons went from semi reasonable numbers to being the overcrowded, violent, dangerous places they are today. This in large part due to the war on drugs.
The aspect of American jails that gets joked about, brushed aside, but not discussed in a serious enough manner is that of male rape.
Racism in Prison.
"Prison is the best recruiting ground the white power movement has!" pg. 58
This is from the book- No escape: male rape in US Prisons.
Apparently prisons are divided along gang line, racial lines, and so forth, so it turns out it's a wonderful breeding ground for racism. Apparently many enter the prisons ignorant of racism or without any gang affiliations and in order to survive that is one of the things that happens you join a gang, crew or stick to your own kind along race and color lines. Thus why any attempts to desegregate prisons have to take this into consideration. They also have to take into consideration that this set up in some ways is ued for protection of some prisoners to stop other groups from brutally raping some group members.
The Rapes themselves happen in a variety of ways. Some of them are physically forced rapes, some are threats, some are extortion, many are psychological or praying on vulnerabilities. I was surprised that many of the same techniques that are used on women in society are also used in these jails. Meaning that rape is not always about force, it's often about getting power over your target. Men in jail do use force, but they also use psychological techniques to break down their targets and to get them to submit, or become indebted to the aggressor.
Part of what happens with rapes along race lines is likely what is playing a part in changing attitutes and creating racism in these jails. Eg. White males, young males, gay males, and effiminate looking males are prime targets for sexual assults and rapes. However there are no hard and fast rules, in jail anyone can be a target.
Dividing along race lines can provide some protection, but only so much, because men are then often hit upon by members of their own groups for sex as a means of protection.
HIV is a very real concern for the US prison authorities. An estimated 2% of the US prison population is HIV-positive – a prevalence four times greater than that of the general American population. The exact prevalence of HIV in prisons varies from state to state: in New York 7% of inmates are infected with HIV, compared to less than 1% in California.
This is a real problem in prison, the prison population has a 4-7 times higher HIV rate than the general population.
HIV rise in the Black Community
I found what I thought might be a correlation between the higher rates of HIV in the black African/American population and the incarceration rates. I was happy to find a couple of articles on this and one study.
[quote]It is one of the most puzzling mysteries of the AIDS epidemic: Why did blacks, in little more than a dozen years, become nine times as likely as whites to contract a disease once associated almost exclusively with gay white men?
Two researchers say they found the answer in an unlikely place: prison.
Rucker C. Johnson and Steven Raphael of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley analyzed census data and a federal database containing detailed information on about 850,000 men and women who contracted AIDS between 1982 and 1996.
They discovered that the surge in black AIDS patients -- particularly women -- since the early 1980s closely tracked the increase in the proportion of black men in America's prisons, which by the 1990s had become vast reservoirs of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.[/quote]
What I also found surprising is the number of men estimated to be having male on male sex willingly or unwillingly behind bars. Some research has it at 50%
[quote]Whatever the cause, the AIDS gap is not going away. Other studies suggest that half of all prisoners engage in homosexual sex. But safe-sex programs, key to controlling AIDS in the gay community, are unwelcome inside prison walls.[/quote]
Remember there are 2.1 million men behind bars. if the studies are correct that would be about 1.5 million at any given time engaging in male on male sex at some point, in many cases unwillingly and unprotected. When I say unwillingly, I mean that outside of forceful rapes, and psychological cohesion, some men do engage in male on male sex, but if they were not forced to for protection, many men would not choose to engage in male on male sex.
[quote]"Our women are sharing men who've gotten HIV. It's swirling around us. We cannot pretend it's not happening and can't ignore a chance to try and fix it." While 21% of the state's population is black, black women represented more than 80% of new HIV cases among women in 2006, the News & Observer reports, adding that a recent study found that most HIV-positive women reported that their last three sexual partners had been in prison the previous year.[/quote]
The men are being released back into the communities and then they are infecting new partners. This most likely why there is a rise in HIV amongst the black population
[quote] According to prison estimates, screening and treating HIV-positive inmates would cost $21 million annually. However, according to the News & Observer, the estimate is based on a 10% infection rate, which is much higher than any state has reported. An estimated 1.8% of North Carolina's prison population, about 700 inmates, has HIV or AIDS (Locke, Raleigh News & Observer, 4/13).
It's interesting that they base it on 10% infection rate, are they just being over pessimistic or do they have figures that we do not?
I then went to have a quick look at the North Carolina infection rates.
[quote]HIV Transmission Among Black Women --- North Carolina, 2004
In 2003, women constituted 28% of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) cases in the United States; approximately 69% of those cases were among non-Hispanic black women (1). Heterosexual transmission is now the most commonly reported mode of HIV transmission among women (1). In North Carolina, black women make up a growing proportion of newly reported HIV infections and, in 2003, the HIV-infection rate for black women in North Carolina was 14 times higher than that for white women (2). Despite this disparity, few epidemiological studies have examined HIV transmission among black women in the United States, particularly those residing in southern states.[/quote]
There has been at least a few studies done however and the findings were interesting.
[quote]The magnitudes of the resultssuggest that higher incarceration rates among black males explain the lion’s share of the black-whitedisparity in AIDS infection rates.[/quote]
It seems along with create more racism for society, prisons are also likely the main reasons for higher HIV rates in the Black African American community based on reentry of the prison population, back into communities.