[Pnews] Guards Commit Half of All Sexual Assaults
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 27 15:34:46 EST 2014
DoJ Report: Guards Commit Half of All Sexual Assaults
By Marisa Taylor, Al Jazeera America
27 January 14
*/Justice Department reports over 8,700 alleged sexual assaults in
adult prisons in 2011, up 11 percent from 2009/*
llegations of rape and sexual assault involving prison inmates are
increasing, and nearly half of those assaults are committed against
prisoners by correctional officers, according to a new report issued by
the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics
Prison and jail administrators reported 8,763 cases of alleged sexual
abuse of inmates 2011, representing an increase of 4 percent from the
8,404 that were reported in 2010 and an 11 percent jump from the 7,855
cases reported in 2009, the report said.
The report released late last week defined sexual victimization as any
non-consensual sexual acts, abusive touching, threats and verbal sexual
harassment. It involved surveying federal and state prisons, private
prisons, local jails, military prisons and jails located in Indian
country, all of which hold a collective 1.97 million inmates.
The issue of prison rape has received heightened attention since
Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act
<http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/programs/prisonrapeelimination.htm> in 2003, a
federal law calling for prisons and jails to keep detailed records of
incidents of rape to be published by the government annually.
This year's report, which crunched data from 2011, said that 10 percent
of the cases reported that year were "substantiated," meaning that they
were confirmed to have happened after an investigation was launched.
That means 90 percent of the cases reported by inmates but were not
substantiated. The report did not clarify whether those cases had also
been investigated and then dismissed.
Some 49 percent of the incidents that year involved prison staff members
committing what the report called "sexual misconduct," or otherwise
sexually harassing inmates, with the other 51 percent of cases
comprising inmates assaulting fellow inmates.
Among the substantiated staff-on-inmate cases in 2011, 54 percent were
committed by women, the report said. From 2009 to 2011, 84 percent of
the substantiated staff-on-inmate cases involved a sexual relationship
with a female staff member that "appeared to be willing," compared to 37
percent of the cases involving male staff members during the same time
period. The report noted, however, that regardless of whether the sexual
relationship between an inmate and a correctional officer was
consensual, it was illegal.
In the cases of sexual assault or "willing" sexual relationships with
staff members, more than three-quarters of the correctional officers
resigned or were fired, and just 45 percent were arrested or prosecuted.
Women prisoners appeared to experience disproportionate numbers of
sexual assaults; while they represented 7 percent of state and federal
prison inmates from 2009 to 2001, 22 percent of inmate-on-inmate cases
involved women, as they did among 33 percent of staff-on-inmate incidents.
Two-thirds of the inmates who had been sexually assaulted by other
inmates received medical examinations, and one-third were given rape kits.
The report did not indicate whether the increased incidence of alleged
rapes and sexual assaults in prisons and jails might have been due to
more reporting by inmates, or to heightened awareness of the problem by
BJS statistician Allan Beck, who was a co-author of the report, told
Reuters that a study from May 2013
<http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/svpjri1112.pdf> (PDF) conducted by
the same agency came up with much larger numbers, tallying some 80,000
inmate allegations of sexual abuse or assault during 2011 and 2012.
"Of course we find much higher rates of sexual victimization through
inmates' self-reports than what comes through in the official records,"
he told Reuters.
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