Several times in recent weeks, commenters on this and other LGBT blogs have feuded over reader statements that the perpetrators of hate crimes deserve to get raped in prison. This has generated a number of complaining emails to me, including a couple from LGBT prisoner activists. Pertinent to that issue, the photos above are part of a new awareness campaign from Just Detention International, a group working to reduce the number of sexual assaults on prisoners.
JDI works to end the sexual abuse of all detainees, in the U.S. and internationally. When the government takes away someone’s freedom, it has a responsibility to protect that person’s safety. All inmates have the right be treated with dignity. No matter what crime someone has committed, sexual violence must never be part of the penalty. The reason JDI does this work is simple: sexual abuse in detention is a perversion of justice and an affront to our society’s essential values. But sexual abuse in detention is preventable. It is possible to put an end to this type of violence. JDI is the only organization in the U.S., and perhaps in the world, that focuses exclusively on ending rape behind bars.
As satisfying as some may find such casual wishes of revenge, we really need to rein that stuff in, folks. It doesn’t help.