A (Double) Dose of Stupid v.72

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

The American Action Forum opposes eliminating prison rape because it is “too costly”

This is the sort of thing you could not make up. The Department of Justice released a report showing that the benefits of the Prison Rape Elimination Act would outweigh its costs:

Research shows that prison rape takes a heavy financial toll on the correctional system. Medical treatment, legal bills, the high costs of isolating abused prisoners in solitary confinement — these are just some of the expenses associated with rape and abuse, according to the authors David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow, who advocate against sexual violence in prison facilities.

Full compliance with the standards set out in the PREA would cost penal facilities about $468.5 million a year, according to the report. By contrast, the financial benefits to society from eliminating prison rape would come to almost $52 billion a year.

Implementing PREA seems like a common sense thing to do. Not only would it save money in the long run by avoiding having to treat inmates for their physical and psychological injuries and paying out settlements for whatever lawsuits they win, but it would also spare thousands of men and women the pain of being sexually assaulted.

The American Action Forum disagrees:

Despite an admirable goal, this “landmark rule” imposes a costly, complicated regulatory framework on states currently battling recurring budget deficits, offers little assurance of success, and fails to explain this new burden to the states as required by the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act.

The administration prescribes 43 different action items to combat prison abuse. Such tasks range from “Hiring and Promotion Decisions,” to the specific parameters of a “Sexual Abuse Incident Review.”  Under this new rule, federal requirements include minimum staffing levels for juvenile facilities, no time limit for “when an inmate may submit a grievance regarding [sexual abuse],” and “methods to ensure effective communication with inmates who are deaf or hard of hearing.” It requires that inmates be screened “for risk of being sexually abused or sexually abusive,” and that post incident reviews “consider whether the incident was motivated” by hate.

The administration cannot quantify how this regulation will reduce abuse.  It merely establishes a series of “best practices” and amorphous requirements on states and local governments.  There are no metrics for success.  The DOJ itself admitted, “a requirement for specific outcome measures would be impractical to implement.”

One has to wonder if anyone at AAF bothered to read the DOJ’s report because the report clearly outlines why the proposals are the best practices and provides responses to some of the criticism of those proposals. It should be self-evident, for example, why it is a good idea not to house children with adults, not to place in adult prisons, and to monitor children who have been placed in adult facilities. Likewise, it should be obvious why officials and guards would want to protect gay inmates or inmates suffering from mental illnesses.

But that is not really the AAF’s complaint. This is:

Not only is success questionable at best, the DOJ’s own estimates illustrate the fiscal effects of such a heavy-handed approach. The Department predicts that average total costs for each year will equal nearly $470 million.  Many of the annual estimates are slightly below that figure.  However, DOJ estimated roughly $745 million in costs for the remaining months in 2012.  This $300 million spike, compared to other years, demonstrates the steep learning curve for state correctional facilities.

DOJ also chose to ignore concerns about unfunded state costs.  The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) requires federal agencies to explain the burden their rules impose on state and local governments.  Currently, any rule imposing more than $162 million in annualized inter-governmental costs triggers UMRA’s threshold.

Let us work through this logic. The DOJ’s report shows a potential overall saving of $52 billion a year, and the AAF is complaining about a $300 million immediate increase a per year?

There may be an immediate short-term spike, but in a few years those programs will begin to save money. This is not difficult to understand. It costs money to set up all the programs, fund the training, and provide the services necessary to implement the proposals. But once they are in place, we would not need to keep spending the same amount of money because they are already set up. We would only need to maintain them.

More so, those programs will help prevent the spending the DOJ already incurs as result of dealing with a high rate of prison rape. They will have to pay for fewer medical services, fewer psychological services, fewer lawsuits filed against the state over abuse, and perhaps fewer instances of overall violence in the prisons.

But more than that, it is just plain stupid to think saving money is more important than people’s safety. Thousands of inmates are raped a year, the vast majority of whom are men and boys. Much that could be prevented by changing policies and laws so that non-violent offenders are not placed in prisons, but that is a separate issue. How can anyone put a price on protecting people?

Of course, that kind of stupidity loves company. Enter Manboobz himself graces us with this gem:

If the Men’s Rights movement were truly concerned with helping men, rather than playing “oppression Olympics” and complaining about feminists and women in general, they would be all over this issue. But I have seen nothing about this on any site in the manosphere, aside from one post on the Men’s Rights subreddit that drew all of six (mostly ignorant) comments. (Looking through one large thread on the subject of prison rape that was recently on r/mensrights’ front page, I found zero references to the Justice Department’s new initiative.)

What accounts for this obliviousness? It could be because MRAs tend to regard the Obama administration as a tool of our (imaginary) feminazi overlordsladies. Or because they would have to acknowledge that women are also raped in prison. But I think the real reason is that MRAs are so disconnected from real activists working in the real world to combat prison rape that they are completely unaware of any of this.

You mean like most feminists? After all, the vast majority of feminist blogs are not talking about this issue, and one could practically count the number of feminists working in the real world to combat prison rape, particularly rape against heterosexual male inmates.

Perhaps the reason for the lack of a men’s rights activist response to this is because it is not getting much media coverage.

The irony is that Manboobz spends more time attacking men’s rights activists for not talking about the report than he does talking about PREA or lambasting AAF for their opposition, as do his commenters. It seems they are more concerned with scoring points against men’s rights activists than actually helping prison rape victims, although Manboobz did link to Just Detention International at the end of his post.

If the Manboobzers could just learn to curb their hate of anyone who talks about men’s issues and takes sexual violence against males seriously, they might come across as genuinely concerned for male victims rather than making the American Action Forum look compassionate in comparison.

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2 thoughts on “A (Double) Dose of Stupid v.72

  1. Futrelle’s purpose is entertainment. He and the others who frequent his site are there to affirm their view of the world and the big bad mra component of it. It is irrelevant to them if that means lumping every indivdual who is attempting to address many concerns of men’s rights. A mentor of mine once quipped a funny.

    “The world is 50% shit, 50% sugar, you choose where you put your focus. But just remember, if you stand in shit long enough it dries around you”

    Futrelle and friends seem to be neck deep. 😉

  2. While I continue to wonder why TS even bothers reading the Manboobz site, I have to admit that the post he quotes has a point, sort of: I haven’t found many so-called MRAs online who seem concerned with issues like prison rape or other topics addressed on this site (I doubt many of the sites linked to in this blog’s “Men’s Issues” list would support the ones on the “Stop the Abuse” page). It would be great to find some MRAs who engage in actual activism, especially on issues like this.

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