Media and Prison Sexual Assault: How We Got to the “Don’t Drop the Soap” Culture

Kristine Levan, Katherine Polzer, Steven Downing


Sexual assault among inmates has become a topic which is generating considerable interest. For many years, public perceptions have been nonchalant and dismissive of this phenomenon. Because the general public has little practical knowledge of the correctional system, these attitudes are likely, at least in part, a result of the media depiction of sexual assault among the incarcerated population. This paper will seek to understand the ways which popular movies characterize sexual misconduct that occurs among inmates. Ultimately, this discussion will help not only understand why individuals hold their beliefs of prison sexual assault, but also allow the public to understand the seriousness this topic.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782