Should Prisoners be able to do WHAT?

So we are all adults, right? So it’s okay  for us to talk about “Tripping the switch,” “Abusing the wicked stick,” “Beating around the bush,” or “Adjusting the antenna.” Yes, you’re not seeing things…I’m referring to masturbation. Historically the old adage was that 98% of all people over 14 masturbate and the remaining 2% were lying. However, recent studies suggest that masturbation may not occur as often as previously thought. Check out this ARTICLE on “How Common is Masturbation, really?” One of the more interesting findings for our discussion is that

“…sex involves both physical and emotional closeness…any disconnect between these two elements, i.e., physical contact but no emotional closeness or visa versa, was associated with increased masturbation. In fact, for women, one of the best predictors of masturbation was a relationship that lacked emotional intimacy.”

So how does the above relate to prisoners?

Should prisoners be allowed to masturbate while incarcerated? More to the point, should they be punished for being caught engaging in this behavior? Read this ARTICLE from Slate Magazine that addresses the issue. A good number of state prisons and local jails not only forbid inmate masturbation, but issue formal violations for such behavior. Some of you might think  the subject weird, but let’s take it seriously for a moment, Thoughts?


13 responses to “Should Prisoners be able to do WHAT?”

  1. Michael Brody says:

    The Slate Magazine article makes some good points for allowing inmates to satisfy their sexual urges, most pointedly reducing the problem of prison rape.
    With that aside, I could care less what inmates do with themselves.
    However, to take a side, I think they should not be allowed to do it. Likewise, punishments for the sexual act, especially if exhibitory should be allowed.
    To be blunt, inmates are incapacitated for a reason, and they are entitled to many rights, however, masturbation, to me, falls short of a critical right that prisoners should be afforded.

  2. Jessica Kaemerer says:

    I personally think they should be punished if they are performing these acts right out in the open and in front of staff and other inmates. But I also believe they should have a right to do what they choose if they are being very discrete about it. It is a hard topic to argue, though, because when you are incarcerated, there really is no such thing as being in private. The Slate Magazine article talks about how it can reduce issues such as prison rape. This is an important matter so I believe this issue as a whole needs more discussion over whether or not to allow masturbation.

  3. Elizabeth Jackson says:

    Masturbating should be granted to inmates to an extent of exposure. It’s not an unlikely thing to do most likely in a prison full of people who most likely will not see their partners for a long time/ever again, and they should be allowed to do whatever helps their sexual health. After reading The State Magazine, it’s clear to see that masturbation can help prevent prison rape and STDs. However, to the extent of public indecency, prisons are public places as well as in the cells, so rules should be set up for bunk mates, cell mates, etc. according to what is deemed public and private. Of course, exposure to a guard (male or female) should be considered a violation followed with a write up or punishment.

  4. Paxton Bergin says:

    I am torn in half about the issue. I think that yes, if people want to masturbate that is their right and they should be able to do so. However, when going to prison people are fore fitting rights that they used to have because they did something wrong. Seeing that most prisons are State funded and technically a public place I can see how people are being charged with public indecency. Obviously correctional officers do not want to see that, and because a prison is their workplace they should not have to be exposed to that during at their jobs. Yes the article argued that it could be bringing prison rapes levels down, but the first article offered up the statement that even people in sexual relationships will masturbate. So does it really lower prison rapes or is it just a correlation?

  5. Kasey Miller says:

    This topic has never really crossed my mind. So it’s kind of interesting to read about and look into it. There was one line in the Slate magazine that stuck out to me. It said “They want the state either to nix the nudie-mag ban or provide access to X-rated cable TV in order to alleviate their sensory deprivation”. This stuck out to me because it says alleviate their sensory deprivation. But isn’t that one of the main purposes of a prison. That’s why they sit in a cell or solitary confinement. So they can sit there and sit about what they did, and being deprived of positive things. I believe that they should be punished for engaging in this to some extent. I think there is gray area to go along with this. It could maybe be given out to ones who are on good behavior. It may be a very big upside to get inmates to behave so they aren’t deprived of that any longer.

  6. Sydney Hanick says:

    Masturbating should be allowed to inmates up until a line is crossed. If it becomes excessive, in exposure, or inappropriate in anyway, it should immediately be punished. I believe this would greatly decrease the amount of sexual crimes that are committed in prisons between inmates. If the act is kept low key, I do not believe it negatively effects anyone enough to be punished.

  7. tiarra says:

    This is a very interesting topic to discuss, I never really thought about masturbation in the context of prisons. I believe that inmates should have the choice of what to do with their bodies; they forfeited their rights to society not their body. Well in which i believe, although i think when it comes to masturbation it is a private act that should be done on their own time in private. I know that inmates do not have that much privacy but i am sure that they can find somewhere to do it. If this reduce the rape percentage that is good; this would also end up reducing the risk of AIDS. Rape is a more serious act than masturbation, prisons should help reduce the serious act oppose to something so minor. I know that mastrubating is inappropriate when it is done out in the opening; if this occur then the inmates should be punished. It is natural for guys to mastrubate it reduces the urge to rape others in prison.

  8. Katie Bucher says:

    Before reading this article, I had not realized that masturbation was such a problem in prisons. I think that masturbation should be allowed in prison as long as it is done in a respectful manner. Prisoners are humans and they have certain wants and needs, and if masturbating helps with that, then they should be allowed that freedom. I think that if prisoners abuse their freedom, then they should be punished. Especially if they are abusing the freedom in open spaces. I think that this would help with rape and sexual assaults within the prison because it lessons the sexual tension that some prisoners may be feeling if they have not seen their significant other. Again, masturbation power should not be abused, and if it is, then the prisoner should get the correct punishment.

  9. Brandon Layber says:

    The idea of masturbation being banned or allowed in prisons in my opinion falls on a fine line of public versus private. The State Magazine made a interesting proposal in favor of allowing masturbation stating that it can help prevent STD’s and even prison rape. Another reason adding to the pro argument about allowing masturbation in prison is that, it is a basic human right. It only can hurt or benefit the sole inmate, unless, by-standards happen to witness or intervene on the sexual act. Prisons are very public, meaning inmates are constantly monitored and surrounded by other people. Being caught in the act of masturbation can lead to a sanction such as indecent exposure. In my own opinion, masturbation should be banned, leaving it up to the prisoner’s discretion of risk versus reward of the act.

  10. Shannon Lefebvre says:

    Masturbating is a topic I’m on the fence about. I do believe that inmates should be able to do it if they feel comfortable doing it, but it should not be done in public areas or around guards. It should be done in the shower or somewhere private. I think that if inmates were able to masturbate they would be less aggressive and might even be more willing to cooperate with guards. It is also a right that shouldn’t be taken away from them, because it’s their own body.

  11. Kelsey Schoenherr says:

    I didn’t realize that this was an issue in prisons either. I think that an inmate should be allowed to masturbate, but I think that it should be discrete enough to where nobody has to know its being done. It is their body, and I guess if they have those needs then they should be able to do it to their own body. However, I don’t think there is enough evidence to affectively say that it would lower rates of sexual harassment, rape, and STD’s in prisons.

  12. Tim Dies says:

    This wasn’t really something that I had thought about prior to today but i don’t see as why it should be prevented in prisons. It isn’t harming anyone and as long as the prisoners don’t make a mess, I don’t see as though why this should be an issue. It could be different for some prisons if inmates don’t have their own bathroom or if the prisoners have roommates but generally I think it should be allowed. I also think that by allowing masturbation in prisons it would allow prisoners to de-stress more that they are allowed to right now. As the article points out there are many prisons that prohibit masturbation so even if a prisoner was able to complete the task without being seen they would still be under some level of stress due to the fact that they would have been looking over their shoulder so to speak all the time. I think more prisons should implement the idea of allowing prisoners to masturbate, if there are any glaring consequences simply remove the rule and revert to the old system.

  13. Adam Earle says:

    After reading these articles my thoughts are generally the same, I think that inmates should be allowed to masturbate, but I don’t feel that they do have the right to have access to pornography and other tools for masturbation. As inmates should be able to releave themselves, however it should be done in their cells or a private place because I believe that other inmates have the right not have to deal with inmates masturbating in front of them.

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