Prison Rape: Law, Media, and Meaning

Synopsis

Focusing on discourse generated between 1969 and 2006 in the legal arena and in the print news media, the author takes an historical-interpretive approach to illuminate the role of cultural forces and attendant ideologies in shaping the contours of the phenomenon commonly known as 'prison rape.' Locating this work within the sociology of punishment, the author employs frame analysis and draws on two previously unrelated literatures 'Garland's cultural analytic model and constitutive legal scholarship' to produce a genealogy of discourse about sexual assault in carceral settings as manifest in two important arenas of meaning making. In addition to providing a detailed analysis of the often counterintuitive relationship between these discourses over time, the book considers the recent unanimous passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (2003) at a highly punitive historical moment in a nation that has traditionally preferred to litigate rather than legislate questions around the treatment of those it incarcerates.

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