The problem is not limited to Delaware; prison guards having sex with inmates is a wide-spread problem throughout the nation but, according to a recent article on the subject, Delaware does have a major challenge regarding this near national epidemic. The problem was put into the spotlight when a high ranking Delaware official was credibly accused of having sex with an inmate. The editorial piece from “Delaware Online” states the case bluntly: “Guards force themselves on women. Inmates use sex as a bargaining chip. And somewhere in the middle, it’s become the norm. Just another spoke in the perpetual wheel of problems inside the American prison system.” The inherent power imbalance makes any sexual relationships between authorities and inmates highly problematic and extremely unprofessional.
Have we come to accept prison rape, sexual liaisons between guards and inmates and other violations as normal? People accused of crimes must receive the strongest possible defense of their rights. The Constitution requires it. But the Constitution also demands that people who get convicted of crimes are treated humanely and have their rights protected while they are incarcerated. If we fail to protect these rights, we are failing as stewards of the Constitution.