Prison sexuality (or prison sex or penitentiary sex) deals with sexual relationships between confined individuals or those between a prisoner and a prison employee (or other persons to whom prisoners have access). Since most prisons are separated by gender, most sexual activity is conducted with a same-sex partner. Exceptions to this are sex with an employee of the opposite sex, as well as conjugal visits.
As of September 2013, condoms are available inside prisons in Canada, most of the European Union, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, and the US state of Vermont (on September 17, 2013, the Californian Senate approved a bill for condom distribution inside the state's prisons, but the bill was not yet law at the time of approval). Consensual sexual relationships between women in UK prisons are described as "commonplace" by the Telegraph.
According to a 2001 Human Rights Watch report "No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons", sexual slavery is frequently posed as a consensual sexual relationship inside prisons. Rape victims are often intimidated into feigning consent to sexual activity, to the point of becoming "slaves" and the figurative property of their rapists. HRW also stated that many studies report the prevalence of rape perpetrated by black prisoners against caucasian prisoners.
Prospective slaveholders will sometimes use intimidating innuendo, as opposed to overt threats of violence, which the prospective slave unwillingly accepts, thereby disguising the coercive nature of the sexual activity from even the enslaver. Slaves might not even see themselves as being coerced, if the enslavement is negotiated as repayment for a debt. Also, some consider themselves transformed into a homosexual. The HRW report contains an account in which an inmate is coerced in this way. It is argued that in prison, consent is inherently illusory.
Prisoner and other relationships
Around the world many prisons offer conjugal visits to the partners of inmates, in which prisoners are permitted to spend time in private rooms with their partners in a prison-facilitated environment. Conjugal visits are restricted to only inmates with good behaviour, and in some jurisdictions this is only permitted for married couples, while others allow domestic partners.
Relationships also occur between correctional staff and prisoners. Prisoners and staff spend a great deal of time together, and much of the time the staff would be the only venue for sex with the opposite sex. This applies to security staff, teachers and counselors, medical workers, contractors and religious workers.
Government report in the UK found that female prisoners in England and Wales have been coerced into sex with staff in exchange for alcohol and cigarettes.
- Holly Richmond (18 September 2013). "Everybody wants condom vending machines". Grist Magazine. Grist Magazine, Inc. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Ava Vidal (26 Feb 2014). "Women prisoners: Sex in prison is commonplace, the male inmates just hide it more than girls". The Telegraph.
- Kate Johns (6 May 2013). "Many prison inmates are 'gay for the stay'". Independent Voices (Opinion).
- "No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons". Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch. 2001. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- "Body And Soul: The Physical And Psychological Injury Of Prison Rape: Psychological Impact". No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons. Human Rights Watch. 2001.
- "Rape scenarios". No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons. Human Rights Watch. 2001.
- Holland, Megan (April 11, 2007). "Ex-Hiland Mountain prison guard charged with having sex with inmate". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008.
- "Women prisoners 'coerced into sex with staff'". BBC. 25 Feb 2014.
- Hensley, Christopher (editor). Prison Sex: Practice & Policy. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002. ISBN 1-58826-087-9, ISBN 978-1-58826-087-1.