After the conviction of the Steubenville rapists and the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons after her alleged rape, it's natural to look for a way to keep crimes like these from happening to anyone else. But disturbingly, making the punishments harsher does not seem to be the answer.
We looked at the punishments that each state doles out in response to forcible rape. The FBI defines forcible rape as vaginal penetration of a female victim without her consent and by use of force. The Bureau tracks forcible rapes of female victims annually in their Uniform Crime Report.
BuzzFeed compared 2011's state-by-state statistics per 100,000 people with the punishments that each state imposes for the crime. The findings were alarming. The places with stricter punishments had the most rapes. This may be a product of laws catching up to the frequency of the crime in the states where it's most prevalent. But the laws apparently haven't yet done their job.
Higher fines are associated with higher rates of rape.
So are longer sentences.
As are stricter residency requirements when rapists are released.
Data analyst at BuzzFeed.
Contact Jake Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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