[Pnews] Guards Commit Half of All Sexual Assaults

Prisoner News 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 
prison staff.

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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