Prison Rape: Becker-Acton Model Confirmed
By Bryan Caplan
The latest U.S. Department of Justice National Inmate Survey confirms my earlier report that prison staff commit more prison rape than prisoners. Lovisa Stannow of Just Detention International boils down the results in Reason:
The U.S. Department of Justice recently released its first-ever
estimate of the number of inmates who are sexually abused in
America each year. According to the department’s data, which are
based on nationwide surveys of prison and jail inmates as well as
young people in juvenile detention centers, at least 216,600
inmates were victimized in 2008 alone. Contrary to popular belief,
most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff
members–corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe.
On average, each victim was abused between three and five times
over the course of the year. The vast majority were too fearful of
reprisals to seek help or file a formal complaint.
As Becker might say, “Incentives matter.” Or in Acton’s immortal words:
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike
other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If
there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of
power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has
to make up for the want of legal responsibility. All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Great men are almost always bad men… There is no worse heresy
than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
HT: Jason Brennan