Half of Sexual Assaults in Jail and Prison Committed by Guards and most by Female Staff

Saturday, January 25, 2014
Orange is the New Black

Sexual assaults are on the rise in America’s prisons and jails, largely because of prison guards, particularly female ones.


The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced (pdf) 8,763 allegations of sexual attacks were reported in 2011, “a statistically significant increase over the number of allegations reported in 2009 (7,855) and 2010 (8,404).”


Nearly half (49%) of the 2011 allegations involved prison guards or staff.


Furthermore, more than half (54%) of all reports involving guards or staff that were substantiated were committed by women. Female guards/staff were also responsible for a quarter (26%) of all incidents of staff sexual harassment.


BJS analysts found that 84% of all substantiated incidents between 2009 and 2011 perpetrated by female guards/staff involved a sexual relationship that “appeared to be willing,” compared to 37% of those perpetrated by male guards/staff.


“Any sexual contact between inmates and staff is illegal, regardless of whether it ‘appeared to be willing,’” the BJS noted.


The vast majority of guards/staff caught committing sexual misconduct (78%) were terminated or resigned. Nearly half (45%) were arrested, referred for prosecution or convicted.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Allegations of Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Rose from 2009 To 2011; Substantiated Incidents Remained Stable (Bureau of Justice Statistics)

Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 - Statistical Tables (by Ramona R. Rantala, Jessica Rexroat and Allen J. Beck, Bureau of Justice Statistics) (pdf)

Inspector General Finds a Wide Range of Prison Employee Misbehavior (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)


John Watson 5 years ago
Only half? You must be kidding. It's the US, Good Lord! Not Sweden or New Zealand.

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