Fishman Accuses U.S. Prisons of Fostering Sex Degeneracy

In “Sex in Prison,” a book dedicated to the Guggenheim Foundation, Joseph Fulling Fishman charges that failure to solve the sex problem in American prisons is in a large measure responsible for present prison unrest.

Mr. Fishman, as chairman of the jail committee of the American Prison Association and as inspector of prisons for the federal government for a period of ten years, has investigated every penal institution of importance. He reports that there is a flagrant sex degeneracy in American prisons and that prison authorities refuse to recognize existence of the evil or to take steps towards its eradication.

He advocates, as a means of curtailing sex perversions and abnormalities now rampant, the possibility of furloughs for prisoners of one day a month so that they may visit their wives and families, a solution used in many European countries, particularly in Soviet Russia.

He laments the fact that prison administrators do not face the problem squarely and states that there is a “conspiracy of silence” among them. He urges frank and open discussion of the problem at official meetings of the American Prison Association, something that so far they have been unwilling to do, in his opinion.

Mr. Fishman condemns the enforced idleness and bad living conditions which characterize American prisons.

“In our prisons,” he writes, “the two great topics of conversation are crime and sex. The enforced idleness, the lack of diversion, accentuate and contribute to the seriousness of the problem.”

The author denounces the practice of placing two or more men in a cell which is in effect in so many American prisons.

As his solutions to the problem, Mr. Fishman urges hard work, vigorous exercise and a reasonable amount of fresh air and recreation as a means of keeping homosexuality in prisons at a minimum.

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