Why Prison Rape Jokes Are Really Not Funny

With hundreds of thousands of sexual assaults behind bars annually, prison rape is no laughing matter.

Infamous internet rag TMZ isn't the only entity to ever laugh at prison rape. Chances are a person close to you has joked about "dropping the soap" at least once in your life. Humor like this is pretty cheap on its face but new data from the U.S. Department of Justice makes it even worse.

According to an article in the July issue of Reason magazine, the federal government's first ever inquiry into prison rape found that nearly 217,000 American inmates, both those in the penitentiary and juvenile detention facilities, were raped in 2008. Worse still is that each victim was assaulted an average of three to five times over the course of the year. Most of the rapists weren't other inmates but prison staffers. It's no wonder the vast majority of rapes go unreported for fear of retribution.

America's leadership has yet to take prisoner rape seriously, which exacerbates the problem. Writes Lovisa Stannow in Reason, "In 2009 [Attorney General Eric] Holder essentially rejected standards recommended by a bipartisan commission that spent years studying the problem of prisoner rape, claiming that the recommendations ... would have been too expensive."

Not only should the constant threat of sexual violence be considered cruel and unusual punishment for our nation's prisoners, it also suggests that we shouldn't be surprised when many American felons come out of jail angrier than when they went in. Which once again calls into question what the goal of our prison system is: To rehabilitate or brutally abuse?

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Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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