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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-24-96

New York Bill Seeks to Prevent Rape in Jail

A bill pending in the New York State Assembly would criminalize all sex, even consensual sex, between inmates and prison guards. Several reports of incidents in which female inmates who rebuffed guards' sexual advances or complained of sexual misconduct were cruelly disciplined have prompted law makers to expand the definition of rape in prisons. The relationship between the prisoner and guard, one that consists of dependence and psychological domination, would be classified as a situation in which women cannot safely say "no" to sexual advances. Women have reported being denied phone privileges, mail, and sanitary napkins, being put in isolation, or being brutally beaten by angry guards if they did not succumb to the pressure for sex. Fourteen other states have similar laws, which have been supported by social workers, prisoners, and the guards themselves.

Media Resources: New York Times -April 23, 1996


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