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Financial Value of Stopping Sex Offenses in Prison, Part 1

Last week, we began a series of posts discussing sex offenses that take place within the walls of U.S. prisons and jails. First, we presented the statistics of sex crimes occurring among incarcerated men and women, and then we presented the case of former Colorado prisoner Scott Howard, who was often raped and forced to perform sexual acts on inmates before his release.

Attempts to change the correctional system are at work, and the advocates for prisoner rights and safety have wisely assigned financial benefits to preventing sexual assault in U.S. correctional facilities. This is a smart tactic, because efforts to change the system have been put off before due to financial restrictions. The following begins a series of posts presenting the financially-wise reasons to better prevent sex offenses from occurring within our jails and prisons:

Health Costs 

When a prisoner is a victim of sexual assault, they often have to get medical treatment for sustained injuries, and it is not just one time that these prisoners have to be treated. For those inmates who claim that they have been sexually victimized, they have been raped an average of three to five times a piece.

Mental health treatment is also important for sex abuse victims, and that service does not come cheap. Sources report that the cost of mental health services for each sex abuse victim is almost $10,000. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics study, more than 100,000 U.S. inmates are sexually assaulted every year, so that number multiplied by the money necessary to get victims counseling begins a convincing argument for fixing the correctional system. 

The next post will list the various other reasons why the U.S. could save money by protecting inmates from sexual assault. Check back soon.

Resource

The New York Review of Books, NYR Blog: Prison Rape: Eric Holder's Unfinished Business (8/26/2010)

 

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