Guards may be responsibile for half of prison sex assaults in US

Palesa Manaleng
According to Al Jazeera a report issued by the USA Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, shows allegations of rape and sexual assault committed against prisoners by correctional officers. Correctional administrators reported 8 763 allegations of sexual victimisation in prisons, jails and other adult correctional facilities in 2011. Representing an increase of 4% from 8 404 that was reported in 2010.
About 51% of the allegations involved non-consensual sexual acts (the most serious, including penetration) or abusive sexual contacts (less serious, including unwanted touching, grabbing and groping) of inmates with other inmates. Nearly half involved staff sexual misconduct (any sexual act directed toward an inmate by staff) or sexual harassment (demeaning verbal statements of a sexual nature) directed toward inmates.
Among the substantiated staff-on-inmate cases in 2011, 54% were committed by women, the report said. From 2009 to 2011, 84% of the substantiated staff-on-inmate cases involved a sexual relationship with a female staff member that “appeared to be willing,” compared to 37% of the cases involving male staff members during the same time period.
Any sexual contact between inmates and staff is illegal, regardless of whether it “appeared to be willing”. More than three-quarters (78%) of staff perpetrators were fired or resigned. Nearly half were arrested, referred for prosecution or convicted. While solitary confinement was the most frequent sanction imposed on perpetrators of inmate on inmate sexual victimisation.
The report showed that the most common location for inmate on inmate sexual victimisation was in the victim’s cell or room, while the most common location for staff on inmate sexual victimisation was in a program service area for example, a commissary, kitchen, storage, laundry, cafeteria or workshop.

Read more on the report here:
Government: Guards may be responsible for half of prison sex assaults
Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities
Prison Rape Elimination Act


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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