December 12, 2018

                         Advocating for the just and humane treatment of those who are incarcerated.


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IS MASTURBATION AN INSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION?

Historically, masturbation was socially prohibited as a physically and psychologically destructive behavior.  Today it is more widely accepted as a normal and enjoyable part of human sexuality (Hillman 1975).  However, masturbation, when it occurs in a Florida prison, can result in a subsequent jail sentence..

FDOC Chapter 33-601.314 Lewd or lascivious exhibition by intentionally masturbating, exposing genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner, or intentionally committing any other sexual act in the presence of a staff member, contracted staff member or visitor.This infraction carries a maximum of 60 days in confinement plus a cost of 90 days gain time or any part thereof.

That’s understood when it comes to the flagrant, explicit, lewd exposure of one’s private parts or sexually harrassing behavior.  But what about masturbation within the privacy of one’s own cell. In a 2007 article posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, a Broward prisoner  was found guilty of indecent exposure when he masturbated alone in his cell.  And he was not the only one.  There was a total of 8 charged by the same female officer.  Terry Lee Alexander, 20, unsuccessfully fought the charge, which had been brought by a  Broward Sheriff’s Office detention deputy who saw him perform the sex act in his cell from the master control room.   At his court trial, defense attorney Kathleen McHugh asked 17 prospective jurors if they had never masturbated. No hands went up although snickering could be heard throughout the courtroom.  Nevertheless, the jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 60 days jail time after he completes his current 10 year prison sentence.  While most prisons deal with such an offense internally, Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne  and Miami-Dade Corrections officials  are hoping to curb the practice among inmates by prosecuting them.  How ridiculous is this?  And every prosecution is costing tax payers.

The sexual desire is the strongest physical desire known to man, masturbation releases the normal sexual tension that builds in an environment where a loss of freedom is coupled with other irrescapable  frustrations. It is an outlet for inmates who would otherwise engage in other forms of sexual perversions, including rape, as an alternative.

When our Legislative think tanks convene, do they forget they are setting policy for real people with human needs and desires?    If masturbation is a criminal act, when do we begin to prosecute those in boarding schools, seminaries, barracks, college dorms, rooming houses and the like, that privately engage in self-gratifying behavior? Let us know how you feel about prosecuting inmates whose only sensory outlet is to masturbate privately within the confines of their own cells.

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