This post continues and concludes the financial argument for protecting U.S. inmates and corrections workers from sex abuse in jails and prisons. If the ethical reason that prisoners are people too and deserve to feel safe in government facilities isn’t enough, then human rights advocates hope that financial reasons will help affect change within the system:
When a prisoner is raped or injured during an incident of sexual abuse, he or she is then often sent to an isolated cell, where they will be safe from other inmates. According to research, keeping prisoners in isolation is not only hard on their mental health, but it is expensive. In California, keeping an inmate in an isolated cell costs more than $14,000 a year.
Sources claim that facilities with lower incidents of sexual assault are safer overall for both prisoners and corrections employees and have lower rates of violent crime. A safer jail or prison means that less money has to be spent on security and the consequences that come with security breaches.
Advocates for better protecting inmates argue that prisoners who are sexually assaulted while incarcerated are less likely to thrive once they are released. By preventing rape in correctional facilities, the number of released prisoners who reoffend would decrease, and they would be more likely to succeed at making a living.
Less money would be spent on keeping repeat offenders in jail, plus there would be fewer former inmates in the community who would need financial help from the government. That is money in taxpayers’ pockets.
There is a large population of children whose parents are either currently incarcerated or who have been in the past. Because preventing sexual abuse in correctional facilities has been linked to former inmates’ success upon reentering their communities, sex-abuse prevention would also lead to more families getting the child support they need from their released family members.
The New York Review of Books, NYR Blog: Prison Rape: Eric Holder’s Unfinished Business (8/26/2010)