Prison Rape
An American Institution?
by Michael Singer
February 2013, 195pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0271-3
$55, £43, 48€, A76
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0272-0
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Rape is a fact of life for the incarcerated. Can American society maintain the commitment expressed in recent federal legislation to eliminate the rampant and costly sexual abuse that has been institutionalized into its system of incarceration?

Each year, as many as 200,000 individuals are victims of various types of sexual abuse perpetrated in American prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, and lockups. As many as 80,000 of them suffer violent or repeated rape. Those who are outside the incarceration experience are largely unaware of this ongoing physical and mental damage—abuses that not only affect the victims and perpetrators, but also impose vast costs on society as a whole. This book supplies a uniquely full account of this widespread sexual abuse problem.

Author Michael Singer has drawn on official reports to provide a realistic assessment of the staggering financial cost to society of this sexual abuse, and comprehensively addressed the current, severely limited legal procedures for combating sexual abuse in incarceration. The book also provides an evaluation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 and its recently announced national standards, and assesses their likely future impact on the institution of prison rape in America.

Michael Singer, MA, PhD, JD, is professor at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College London, England. He was previously law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, and is a member of the State Bar of California. His many previous publications include Praeger's Jury Duty: Reclaiming Your Political Power and Taking Responsibility, The Law of Evidence (with Jack H. Friedenthal), and The Legacy of Positivism. He holds a juris doctor degree from Stanford University, bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Cambridge University, and a doctorate from the University of London.


"The book, written with lucid, eloquent language, is highly readable and suitable for a broad audience. I would recommend it for college students, law students, faculty, legal scholars, criminal justice and corrections professionals, investigative journalists, and activists for prison reform and human rights."—Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books, November 1, 2014

"This is an outstanding work that illuminates a terrifying problem in American jails and prisons that merits more attention and discussion that this well-researched book finally provides."—Bryan A. Stevenson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, Alabama, and Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law

"Michael Singer has produced an essential primer on prison rape in the United States, exploring the empirical, legal, and socio-cultural dimensions of the phenomenon. He elegantly combines technical detail with the human element, moving seamlessly between the social science research that documents the magnitude of the problem and the heartbreaking stories of individual victims that underscore its urgency. In a country that prides itself on its commitment to justice, Singer suggests, the persistence of prison rape is an ongoing source of national shame. This accessible account is an invaluable resource for scholars, policy makers, and anyone interested in prison reform."—Mary Sigler, Professor of Law, Arizona State University College of Law

"With singular clarity, Michael Singer reviews the Department of Justice's efforts to bring about desperately needed reforms to address prison rape in American prisons. He is similarly adept in reviewing prisoners' constitutional protections and legal obstacles in seeking redress for prison rape. Throughout the book, Singer interweaves the documented testimony of men and women who have experienced prison rape. The book leads up to an elucidation of the national standards to eliminate prison rape released by the US attorney general in 2012. While praising the content of these standards, Singer raises disturbing concerns about the DOJ's true commitment to ending prison rape. This book is a must-read for those in the public, corrections, the legal system, human rights, and academe who desire to bring an end to rape in American prisons." —Cindy Struckman-Johnson, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of South Dakota, Prison Rape Researcher, Former Member of the National Commission to Eliminate Prison Rape
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