Prison Inmates' Views of Whether Reporting Rape Is the Same as Snitching: An Exploratory Study and Research Agenda


Although the prevalence of sexual assault in U.S. prisons is debated, it is known that the consequences for victims can be quite severe. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) requires prison officials to keep track of incidents of sexual assault, but accurate figures will be generated only to the extent that inmates regularly report these acts. Male rape itself is a highly underreported phenomenon and even less reported in prisons due to inmate cultural norms that frown upon forwarding inmate information to correctional authorities. This article examines whether prison inmates believe that reporting prison rape is equivalent to snitching and analyzes possible explanations for the inmates' responses. Results indicate that inmates are less likely to view the reporting of prison rape as snitching earlier in their current commitment periods, and White inmates are more likely than Black inmates to think reporting rape is snitching. As this topic is extremely under studied, a number of suggestions for future research are advanced.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Document Type





male victims, offenders, sexual assault

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence