Meet The New War
Sexual violence, against any victim, is an assault on human dignity and an affront to American values. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) was enacted with bipartisan support and established a "zero tolerance standard" for rape in prisons in the United States. 42 U.S.C. 15602(1).
My Administration, with leadership from the Department of Justice, has worked diligently to implement the principles set out in PREA. Today, the Attorney General finalized a rule adopting national standards to prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape. This rule expresses my Administration's conclusion that PREA applies to all Federal confinement facilities, including those operated by executive departments and agencies (agencies) other than the Department of Justice, whether administered by the Federal Government or by a private organization on behalf of the Federal Government.
How exactly the government plans to achieve this goal isn't clear. While it's another "zero tolerance" thing (which apparently means you don't get your first prison rape free?), the presidential memo cites to the AG's having finalized "a rule," which apparently means they have cut the rule of combat sufficiently to the quick so that prison guards can follow it.
But nothing in the memo suggests what this rule is. My first guess is that it's "No rapes allowed," and the implementation of the zero tolerance standard will involve big yellow signs with an erect penis and a circle with a line going through it. If there was a second rule, it would be "Just say no" to rape, due to its effectiveness during the War on Drugs.
I'm only speculating here, but I do not believe the model for this symbol was Jewish.
When Ed at Blawg Review sent me a link to President Obama's implementing memorandum, the question was posed where this war might be going. Ed responded with the Connecticut scheme to label prison masturbators as sex offenders,
"This would be something that would be with them for the rest of their lives," she said. "This isn't something where you lose commissary privileges within the walls of the facility. Typically, a male prisoner does not want to be labeled as a sex offender."
Simultaneously, they plan to ban all the nasty stuff that contributes to prisoners self-stimulation.
The move to pass legislation comes at the same time that the department is removing all pornography, material that contains "pictorial depictions of sexual activity or nudity," from the prisons. Inmates were given a year to get rid of all their porn and the total ban takes effect in July.
The ban is intended to improve the work environment for prison staffers who might be inadvertently exposed to the material.
While Ed may be right, it seems that if this is part of the plan to eliminate prison rapes, no one explained to the screws in Connecticut how this whole sex thing works. Initially, if you want to prevent rape, it seems prudent to encourage the release of pent up sexual energy rather than prohibit it. Further, if your prison staffers dislike being inadvertently exposed to porn (as opposed to their intentional exposure at home), they're going to really hate having to watch an explosion of prison rape.
Where this is heading defies imagination. Were prison officials ignoring rape before? Was this embraced as part of prison culture up to now? And if they couldn't stop it without a law, how exactly is a law, with or without the AG's new rule, going to change this?
Despite the absence of any idea of the magical way the government has in mind to prevent this perpetual nightmare within the prison system, one thing is clear. There is a new War to be fought, and that means unintended casualties and collateral damage. And since it's zero tolerance, what could possibly go wrong?