The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission spent five years investigating a horror that everybody already knows about and then made recommendations that are obvious:
The commission’s report makes for disturbing reading. It estimated that in a year’s time, at least 60,000 prisoners were raped. The commissioners also noted that rape in prison is not inevitable. In some places, strong, engaged managers had created “a culture within facilities” that promoted safety instead of tolerating abuse.
Attorney General Eric Holder didn't implement the commission's recommendations. He is taking more time to hear comments while state and local prisons lobby to maintain the rape culture they oversee. The NYT, in the editorial excerpted above, calls on the attorney general to "issue the toughest possible standards."
But Holder is willing to tolerate prison rape because Americans tolerate it. They like it. It's funny to them that some scofflaw is strong-armed in his cell or her cell and raped without a condom. But rape shouldn't be the punishment for theft or drugs or any crime. And transgender people, gay men, weak men, and nonviolent men—typically involved in the least reprehensible crimes that put someone in prison—are the primary targets of these rapes, which are motivated more by desire to abuse than reach sexual gratification. Many victims contract HIV after being punked out for years. The actual rape stats are far greater than the 60,000 estimated by the federal government. These are their horror stories. Until Holder acts, he's complicit in these crimes. There is no more required research or needed input or excuses.