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