from Clinical/Therapeutic Issues
The study, conducted by Texas Tech University researchers J. Travis Garland, Robert D. Morgan, and Amanda M. Beer, was based upon surveys of the sexual attitudes of 185 male prisoners in minimum and maximum security prisons.
The study used the Index of Homophobia-Index Of Attitudes Toward Homosexuals, The Gay Identity Questionnaire (GIQ), and the Sexual Opinion Survey (SOS) to learn about the sexual attitudes of those incarcerated.
The study found that 1% of those in minimum security prisons had a homosexual orientation, while 99% described themselves as heterosexual before prison. A similar pattern was found in maximum security prisons: 1% homosexual; 4% bisexual; and 95% heterosexual.
According to researchers, "These results [of their surveys] indicated that the more time an inmate spent in prison, the greater was the likelihood that he would acknowledge a homosexual identity."
The study also found that those serving shorter prison sentences were more likely to maintain a heterosexual orientation. "...however, inmates currently serving a longer sentence experience a significant shift toward a sexual preference for the same sex," note the authors.
They also observe: "These results suggest that inmates housed in higher security facilities tend not to suppress their interest in sexuality and, with a lack of heterosexual partners, are more willing to accept homosexual behavior."
The authors maintain that this study has implications for implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which was passed to deal with sexual victimization in prisons. They believe that while there are cases of forced rape in prisons, many inmates are engaging on consensual sexual behaviors for love or pleasure.
In conclusion, the researchers point out that length of sentence, total time served, and security level "are significant predictors of inmates' sexual behavior while incarcerated."