Turned Out: Sexual Assault Behind Bars

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Published on 26th May 2017 by

A 50 minute long 2004 documentary directed by Jonathan Schwartz which explores the taboo subject of homosexuality behind bars, particularly non-consensual, and how a sexual hierarchy exists inside America’s prisons. At the time of filming there were more than two million men in American prisons at any one time and around one in five of those inmates will be “turned out” during their time inside, which means sodomized by fellow inmates. Many of them will have to serve their sentence as sexual slaves to dangerous and violent inmates who are above them in a primitive hierarchical system.

The victims, who are often non-violent drug offenders who don’t know how to fight, become the “boys” or “sissies” to the “men”, often the “men” have several “boys” at once to form “families” and the “man” is the head of the family. In the film inmates at several different American correctional facilities share an insight into the sociology of power in prison and the need of prisoners for protection or companionship. There are also conversations about the sexual exploitation of some prisoners by prison guards, and the culture of silence which is perpetuated among not only inmates but also among the guards.

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