The following excerpt is from A Public Defender Blog, To Read The Full Article: http://apublicdefender.com/2012/04/30/neutered-animals/
There seems to exist a rule of lawmaking that every good policy decision must not go unpunished and must be equally balanced by a completely bone-headed one. That logic and good sense must be sacrificed at the altar of fear-mongering at least once every legislative session.
This particular euphemism would not only make it a Class D felony - punishable by up to 5 years’ incarceration – but also place the offender on a public sex offender registry. The act? Committing a “lewd act” while in prison.
The bill, says the Department of Correction, is necessary because inmates often expose themselves and masturbate in front of staff members. In 2011 alone, there were 390 such incidents committed by 94 inmates.
Wait. Hang on.
94 inmates? Out of approximately 17,000 at any given time? That’s 0.55% of the inmate population. That’s barely half of one percent of the entire population in all of CT’s prisons.
And for this we need a new crime? One that would impose a mandatory consecutive sentence no less? And one that would land the offender on a sex offender registry for 10 years, presumably with the short description that “this person exposed himself in prison”.
Although the masturbation aspect of this bill will garner the most headlines, it is important to note that the bill is broader than that. It criminalizes any “lewd exposure”. What that is will be known when we see it. Presumably, any exposure than a correctional officer decides they do not like will be lewd.
When not in prison, this act is designated as a Class B misdemeanor, worthy of no more than 6 months in jail. In that same jail, it is apparently 10 times more despicable.
Rapes in prison go unnoticed, condoms aren’t passed out, disease is rampant and staff exert immense physical and sexual control over their wards. And yet all we want to do is flog the prisoners more. Treating them like animals isn’t enough, we want to neuter them.
[Let's not forget the preposterous cost implications of this 5 year consecutive requirement: the current average cost of housing an inmate is $44,000+ per year. For every inmate who is convicted of this nonsense, we're adding $220,000 to the DOC's already bloated budget.]
This has become ridiculous. Do you realize what this will do? No wonder CCA has offered to buy out 48 states of prisons. These are inmates that are locked up for years. To now tell them that they cannot relieve themselves is going to cause some hot tempers and more problems, which of course is only going to add more time to the inmates. To put an inmate then on a sex offender registry list for 10 years? For masturbation? I have a solution that is much more cost effective. There is already a problem with staff working with the opposite sex. Five female officers admitted at Montana State Prison of having sexual relations with an inmate, yet they were not charged with anything. Why don’t we NOT allow women to work at men’s facilities and NOT have men work at women’s facilities? This has gone to stupidity on the equal rights issue. Men and women are not the same. I suppose next it will be women in the men’s locker rooms then crying about sexual inappropriateness when they have to change clothes or shower. Let’s use some common sense America. These laws don’t make sense except for someone’s wallet.