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The Myth of Prison Rape

Sexual Culture in American Prisons

Mark S. Fleisher and Jessie L. Krienert

Hardback
Paperback
eBook
The Myth of Prison Rape provides a nuanced glimpse into the complex sexual dynamics of American prison. Drawing on results from the most comprehensive study of inmate sexuality to date, Mark S. Fleisher and Jessie L. Krienert analyze the intricacies of sexuality and sexual violence in daily inmate life. Pulled from over 500 interviews from male and female high-security inmates, their research assesses inmate perception, belief, opinion, and explanation of their own behavior as it relates directly and indirectly to sexual life and sexual violence. Dynamic case studies and interview excerpts enliven this cultural study of sexuality, safety, and violence in American prisons, and an appendix introduces readers to prison sexual vocabulary. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 218Size: 6 3/8 x 9 3/8
978-0-7425-6165-6 • Hardback • January 2009 • $87.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7425-6166-3 • Paperback • January 2009 • $33.00 • (£22.95)
978-0-7425-6599-9 • eBook • January 2009 • $32.99 • (£22.95)
Mark S. Fleisher is senior research associate and project director at the Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence at Kent State University. A cultural and linguistic anthropologist, he is a former administrator in the Federal bureau of Prisons and is the author or editor of several books.

Jessie L. Krienert is associate professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University. Together, Fleisher and Krienert are the editors of Crime and Employment.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Intellectual History of Prison Sexual Culture
Chapter 3 Research Design and Methodology
Chapter 4 Learning the Rules of Prison Culture
Chapter 5 Prison Sexual Culture
Chapter 6 The Culture of Sexual Victimization
Chapter 7 Safe Zones
Chapter 8 Sex and Prison Safety
Beyond producing a must-read book for anyone with a serious interest in prisons, Mark Fleisher and Jessie Krienert have created a virtuoso example of the science of cultural analysis and its power to address complex social problems.
Christopher A. Innes, Chief, Research and Evaluation, National Institute of Corrections


Mark Fleisher and Jessie Krienert take readers deep inside the realities of the incarcerated world through hard-hitting, open, and direct conversations with prisoners across the country. Their book, through their research, provides critical insight into the culture of our prisons through the experiences, perceptions, interactions, and observations of incarcerated men and women. The Myth of Prison Rape develops an ability to better understand the prison environment through the voices of the prisoner. This book provides significant knowledge to identify and focus on opportunities to make our prisons more hopeful, healthy and positive institutions.
Doug Dretke, director, Sam Houston State University Correctional Management Institute


The Myth of Prison Rape is controversial, both for the arguments presented and because many scholars, policymakers and issue advocates believe that the study is (or should be) something very different than what it actually is. The book is an excellent example of scholarship, and a book that provides readers with a nuanced understanding of how prison inmates establish and maintain a cultural system. This is a book that is highly recommended for students of institutional corrections, as well as those scholars, policy-makers and advocates interested or focused on institutional violence (of all forms, not just sexual). The Myth of Prison Rape is a well-done, informative, and very valuable study of prison culture and the place of sexual violence folklore within prison culture.
Richard Tewksbury, University of Louisville; Columbia Journalism Review


The Myth of Prison Rape is controversial. Some readers will be offended because the book disputes their view of the 'myth.' Other readers will find the book informative. Mark Fleisher and Jessie Krienert assert that their purpose is not to provide a study of the prevalence of prison rape, rather it is to describe the meaning of sex and sexual violence within the prison culture using the voices of those incarcerated to provide that meaning. Fleisher and Krienert provide an important interpretation of sexuality and violence with prisons and one based upon extensive research conducted with many prisoners. This book makes a significant contribution to the classical theories of prison culture.
Kevin Wright, Binghamton University


• Winner, AJCS Book Award 2009
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