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Publication Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009–11

Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., Ramona R. Rantala, BJS Statisticians, Jessica Rexroat, BJS Intern

January 23, 2014    NCJ 243904

Presents counts of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported to correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011. An in-depth examination of substantiated incidents is also presented, covering the number and characteristics of victims and perpetrators, location, time of day, nature of the injuries, impact on the victims, and sanctions imposed on the perpetrators. Companion tables in Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 - Statistical Tables, include counts of types of sexual victimization reported for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, state prison systems, facilities operated by the U.S. military and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sampled jail jurisdictions, privately operated jails and prisons, and jails in Indian country. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Survey of Sexual Violence (SSV), which has annually collected official records on allegations and substantiated incidents of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate sexual victimization since 2004.

Highlights:

  • Correctional administrators reported 8,763 allegations of sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2011, a statistically significant increase over the number of allegations reported in 2009 (7,855) and 2010 (8,404).
  • About half of all allegations (51%) involved nonconsensual 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 (49%) 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.
  • In 2011, 902 allegations of sexual victimization (10%) were substantiated (i.e., determined to have occurred upon investigation). The total number of substantiated incidents has not changed significantly since 2005 (885).
  • Victims were physically injured in 18% of substantiated incidents of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization, compared to less than 1% of incidents of staff-on-inmate victimization.
  • More than half (54%) of all substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct and a quarter (26%) of all incidents of staff sexual harassment were committed by female staff.
  • Overall, more than three-quarters (78%) of staff perpetrators were fired or resigned. Nearly half (45%) were arrested, referred for prosecution, or convicted.

Part of the PREA Publications Series

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Survey of Sexual Victimization (SSV)

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