You are a deputy warden at a maximum security state penitentiary. The facility houses 1,200 inmates on average, with convictions for a variety of violent and/or drug related felonies. You manage several hundred correctional officers, full and part-time, as well as dozens of administrative personnel.
There is a local reporter who has a significant interest in the daily operations of your facility as a result of complaints lodged by the family members of certain members of the population. The complaints are similar in nature: certain inmates at your facility are being raped on a regular basis with very little or nothing being done to prevent these assaults, even in cases where officers are in the area where the assaults are occurring.
The warden tells you that something has to be done about this because he doesn’t like the attention being paid to the facility. He states that he doesn’t really care what happens to a convict – they’re convicts after all, but we can’t deal with the negative publicity and the potential lawsuits, so he needs you to do something about it and fast.
Write 500-750 words that respond to the following questions with your thoughts, ideas, and comments:
- What do you think are the legal issues involved in the scenario, and how does the Prison Rape Elimination Act factor into this situation? Explain.
- What do you think are the ethical issues involved in the scenario? Explain.
- What are the possible consequences of not addressing these ethical issues? Explain.
- Should correctional facilities be required to try to prevent rapes from occurring? Why or why not? Explain in detail.
- Considering the directive given to you by your warden that he wants results and not excuses, what are some of the factors that you should take into consideration?
- How do policies on use of force interact with policies on preventing assaults in prison? Can an officer risk liability for using too much force while trying to prevent a sexual assault?