Jay Borchert, Failing to Extend the Spirit of Lawrence v. Texas to Prisoners and the Persistent Socio-Legal Control of Consensual, Same-sex Sex in US Prisons

Jan. 15, 2016
12:20-1:30 p.m.
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Room 4371

Jay Borchert, PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, will discuss his research on the rules banning sex between prisoners.

Despite socio-legal change for LGBT citizens, including the legality of same-sex sex, prisons remains steadfast in their understanding of consensual same-sex sex among prisoners. Every prison nationwide maintains rules barring sex between prisoners. Punishments can be severe. Through interviews with twenty-six state correctional department leaders, the work uncovers beliefs that frame same-sex sex as dangerous for the safety and security of the prison. Findings demonstrate that while prison leadership support exogenous social change for LGBT citizens and the decriminalization of consensual same-sex sex, they also insist that prisons are not suited for similar changes. While sexual misconduct rules may not be explicitly homophobic, the rules in action are certainly homosexual status rules and require reconsideration in light of socio -legal change for LGBT citizens. And, since current jurisprudence reifies the expertise of prison officials in due deference doctrine (Turner v. Safley, 1987) there is no impetus in prison law to redefine and decriminalize prison sex.

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