Relationships and sexuality of imprisoned men in the German penal system-a survey of inmates in a Berlin prison.

Published: March 15, 2012


The lack of concrete scientific data on the sexual behavior of inmates in German prisons is surprising, especially given the extant international scholarship on prison culture and sexual violence. Historically, the most influential publications were Clemmer’s "The Prison Community", and Sykes’s "The Society of Captives", which both addressed the importance of sexual deprivation and analyzed the impact of sexual victimization on prisoners. Different forms of homosexual contact between inmates include prostitution and "protective pairing", both characterized as "dark" issues – nonconsensual sexual acts – which still have not been scientifically researched. The United States enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003, revealing nationwide data on the prevalence of sexual assault within correctional facilities. Prison inmates suffer not only from separation from their spouses or partners, but also from sexual harassment, extortion, and the threat of rape, which has multiple implications for their mental and physical health. This article presents the first German study to record data about the relationships and sexuality of imprisoned men, and was conducted in an adult correctional facility for long-term prisoners in Berlin-Tegel. The survey, which is based on results from a questionnaire taken by voluntary study participants, had a special focus on the occurrence of consensual homoerotic contacts between heterosexual inmates. The emphasis was on the potential impact of such contact on role behavior during confinement, as well as the impact on sexual identity after release. The survey revealed the first data on the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence and coercion within correctional facilities. This article presents the results of this survey for the first time.

Full text of article available at link below –

Leave a Reply