Inmate Sexual Victimization Rises; Feds Stall On New Rules


Back in June, I posted a piece titled Attorney General Holder misses prison rape prevention reform deadline. I had previously posted about the same thing here.

A couple of excerpts from my posts:

Holder’s inaction will result in more cases like that of Bryson Martel, who got AIDS after being repeatedly raped in prison.

Two women were repeatedly raped (Nicole Garza and Kimberly Yates), and those in power ignored those, too.


Think about that. Imagine if this were your child. Or friend. Or anyone you care about, for that matter.

I’m having flashbacks of Abu Ghraib. Our system of justice should include guarantees of safety for juvenile offenders, and yet look at those statistics.

As I said back then, we cannot afford delays.

I'm sure though, after all this time, A.G. Holder is all over this. One could hardly imagine he'd put it off any longer, what with all the violence and ruined lives.

Or not (via Dan Froomkin):

A new study released Thursday by the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 88,500 adults held in U.S. prisons and jails are sexually abused annually, either by staff or fellow inmates. [...]

Overall, the survey paints a grim picture of a system of mass incarceration where all too many prisoners, stripped of their autonomy or ability to defend themselves, spend their sentences terrorized by sexual predators.

Defying some of the pop-cultural stereotypes, however, it turns out most of that predation is carried out by guards, rather than inmates...

But wait! That's not all! Via The Hill:

Based on those recommendations, DOJ was charged under the 2003 law with finalizing new rules by June 2010.

It didn't happen.

Instead, Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this year that the agency has delayed the process over concerns from the prisons that the proposed guidelines would be too expensive to implement. [...]

A DOJ spokeswoman said earlier this month that the agency will issue proposed standards this fall — meaning the final rules likely won't take hold for months afterward.

Prison reform advocates don't like the delay, and they're pointing to Thursday's BJS report as reason the agency should quicken its pace.

"Every day that the Attorney General doesn’t finalize the national standards is another day of anguish among prisoner rape survivors, of preventable safety breaches in prisons and jails, and of significant spending of taxpayers’ money on medical treatment, investigations, and litigation that could have been avoided," Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International, a prisoner-rights group, said Thursday in a statement.

Please follow the links above to read more.

Then reach for the Pepto Bismol.  You'll need it.

Via the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Allen J. Beck, PhD, Paige M Harrison

August 26, 2010    NCJ 231169

Presents data from the National Inmate Survey (NIS), 2008-09, conducted in 167 state and federal prisons, 286 local jails, and 10 special correctional facilities (operated by U.S. Armed Forces, Indian tribes, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)) between October 2008 and December 2009, with a sample of 81,566 inmates ages 18 or older.   The report provides a listing of facilities ranked according to the prevalence of sexual victimization, as required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79). The prevalence of victimization as reported by inmates during a personal interview is based on sexual activity in the 12 months prior to the interview or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Included are estimates of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, inmate-on-inmate and staff sexual misconduct, and level of coercion. The report also presents findings on reported sexual victimization by selected characteristics of inmates, including demographic characteristics, sexual history and orientation, and criminal justice status. It includes details on victims’ experiences and the circumstances surrounding incidents of sexual victimization.

Highlights include the following:

  • An estimated 4.4% of prison inmates and 3.1% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months.
  • Female inmates in prison (4.7%) or jail (3.1%) were more than twice as likely as male inmates in prison (1.9%) or jail (1.3%) to report experiencing inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization.
  • Among inmates who reported inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization, 13% of male prison inmates and 19% of male jail inmates said they were victimized within the first 24 hours after admission, compared to 4% of female inmates in prison and jail.

Press Release.

Here, this may help. Take a swig and call me in the morning: