Prisoner abuse means the mistreatment of individuals upon arrest or incarceration. The actions such as needless beating, hitting, or other corporal punishment, taunting, sleep deprivation, or other forms of psychological abuse, occasionally white noise forced intercourse, genital mutilation, or other forms of sexual abuse, refusal of essential medication, humiliation, enhanced interrogation, or any act by which severe pain, whether physical or psychological, is intentionally inflicted all come under prisoner abuse. Generally, the duty of supervisors to inspect a jail for unsafe conditions did not impose a duty to protect prisoners from abuse by prison personnel.

Prisoner abuse is the mistreatment of persons while they are under arrest or incarcerated, therefore deprived of the right of self-defense against acting authorities and generally defenseless in actual fact.

Abuse falling into this category includes:

Physical abuse: Illicit beating and hitting, unlawful corporal punishment, stress positions, excessive or prolonged physical restraining, etc.

Psychological abuse: Verbal abuse, sleep deprivation, white noise, pointless/absurd or humiliating instructions, recurrent exhaustive inspections and shakedowns, arbitrary strip searches, denuding actions, exposure, etc.

Sexual abuse: Excessive vaginal or rectal contraband searches or other internal checks, forced sexual intercourse, forced insertion of objects into vagina or rectum, arbitrary strip searches, denuding actions, etc. (Sexual abuse is thematically widely overlapping with psychological abuse.)

Enhanced interrogation: methods implemented in the War on Terror purportedly needed to extract information from detainees.

Torture: any act, whether physical or psychological, which is deliberately done to inflict excruciating and agonizing pain upon a person under the actor’s custody or physical control for any reason such as extracting information or punishment.

Other abuse: Refusal of essential medication, etc.

Psychological abuse

White noise

The endless playing of random static (similar to that of unused TV frequencies) with no pattern; this can cause extreme discomfort and disorientation.

Verbal abuse

Prisoners may be subject to taunting, heckling, profanity, and malicious lies by prison authorities. Guards and other authorities may use verbal abuse as a means of frightening or demoralizing prisoners to make them more compliant, or simply out of sadism.

Enablement of sexual violence

Prisoners are sometimes intentionally housed with inmates known to have raped other prisoners, or protection from known rapists may be purposely withheld from the prisoners. These practices create a very high incidence of rape in US prisons, which was the topic of the 2001 report No Escape from Human Rights Watch.