Rape as Punishment

I watched the film Deja Vu (starring Denzel Washington), and it’s a pretty good action/drama based on a science-fiction device of time travel. I have two minor complaints about the story. First, it contains gratuitous and baffling references to religion. Second, it contains the following line, spoken by Washington’s character to the central villain:

“You better have some KY; you’re going to need it.”

This is a not-so-subtle reference to prison rape. Where did we get to the point in our culture where rape is seen as a satisfying and socially accepted form of punishment? (Actually, the villain of the movie is so horrible that he would probably be protected from rape by maximum security, but the line references a common occurrence in America’s prisons.)

Some day, some clever lawyer is going to figure out that rape (or even the high probability thereof) constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Not only might that lawyer force major reforms in America’s prisons, but he might bring a multi-billion dollar lawsuit on behalf of the victims.

Is it not an obvious point that rape is bad and that it should not be used as a form of punishment? Or should we also bring back torture, mutilation, and lion pits?