If prison rape is as prevalent as it is thought to be, it stands as one of the nation’s most frequent human rights abuses, says The Nation. As a matter of public concern, when the victims are male, the issue remains little more than a dirty joke, the magazine says. Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003, but the law has n’t made a dent so far. Although it act sets out to define new standards for detection, prevention, reduction and punishment of prison rape, no new standards have yet been established–and when they are, they are unlikely to go into effect before 2010. Even then, it is by no means certain that they will be effectively enforced.
If the male victim is behind bars, Louise Kindley, a veteran rape-crisis counselor who recently opened New York’s first program for male survivors, says, “There is an idea that they deserve it.” A commission established by the law, which has held five hearings in its three years of existence, is not scheduled to issue its recommendations until July 2007. At that point, the Attorney General’s office plans to spend another year consulting with state corrections departments and industry officials before issuing its guidelines. No federal fines will be enforced until 2010 at the earliest.