Wednesday, May 02, 2007 05/02/07-Prison

In today's excerpt--rape in U.S. prisons and children in Haitian prisons:

"Recent studies of prisons in four midwestern states suggest that approximately 20 percent of male inmates are pressured or coerced into unwanted sexual contact; approximately 10 percent are raped. Rates of sexual abuse in women's facilities, where the perpetrators are most likely to be male staff, seem to vary more by institutions but are as high as 27 percent of inmates."

"Since the U.S. now incarcerates more people than any other country, both relative to the population and in absolute terms, these percentages translate into horrifying real numbers. The congressional authors of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 ... estimate in the bill's "Findings" section that in the twenty years preceding its passage over one million inmates were victims of sexual abuse in American facilities."

David Kaiser, "A Letter on Rape in Prisons," The New York Review of Books, May 10, 2007, p.22.

"The boys warehoused at Fort Dimanche [Port-au- Prince's children's prison] are the products of poverty, child abandonment, rampant homelessness and an educational system that has failed to enroll 1 million school-age children. Their plight reflects a country overwhelmed by the problems of its young--more than 200,000 Haitian children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and 300,000 work as unpaid domestic servants in a system of bonded servitude, according to the U.N. Children's Fund. ...

"Some of the children were as young as six when they arrived, although determining their true ages is an inexact science. The street kids who show up at the prisons in Haiti generally come without birth certificates or parents; some don't even know their birthdays."

Manual Rolg-Franzia, "Haiti's Lost Boys," The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, March 12-18, 2007, p. 11.


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