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Controlling Consensual Sex Among Prisoners

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018


Despite recent legal advances for LGBT citizens, including the Supreme Court's recognition of a constitutional right to engage in private, consensual, same-sex sex, prisons continue to regulate sex in much the same way they have been doing since the nineteenth century. Nationwide, prisons bar consensual sex among prisoners, and those who violate this policy face severe punishment, including administrative segregation. Interviews with prison officials from twenty-three states uncover beliefs linking consensual sex with violence that places the overall security of the prison at risk. While supporting LGBT rights and the decriminalization of same-sex sex in society, officials insist that prisons are not suited for similar change. This article explains why prison officials have been so committed to this policy and argues that the time has come to reconsider prison regulation of consensual sex.

Copyright © American Bar Foundation, 2016 

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