Jessica Stroop, BJS Statistician
June 29, 2018 NCJ 251672
Describes activities during 2017 and 2018 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to collect data and report on the incidence and effects of sexual victimization in correctional facilities, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) (P.L. 108-79). The report summarizes BJS’s efforts during 2017 and 2018, which included item-by-item assessments of the Survey of Sexual Victimization (SSV), National Inmate Survey (NIS), and National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC). The report also discusses findings from the 2015 SSV, competitive solicitations for the NIS-4 Prisons and NIS-4 Jails, and data collection for the NSYC-3. This report meets the PREA requirement to report on BJS’s activities for the preceding calendar year by June 30 of each year.
- Correctional administrators reported 24,661 allegations of sexual victimization in 2015, nearly triple the number recorded in 2011 (8,768 allegations).
- Substantiated allegations rose from 902 in 2011 to 1,473 in 2015 (up 63%). (Substantiated allegations are those in which an investigation determined that an event occurred, based on a preponderance of the evidence.)
- In 2014, unfounded allegations (8,372) exceeded unsubstantiated allegations (7,783) for the first time in SSV data collection. Prior to 2014, more allegations were unsubstantiated than were unfounded. (Unfounded allegations are those in which an investigation determined that an event did not occur. Unsubstantiated allegations are those in which an investigation concluded that evidence was insufficient to determine whether an event occurred.)
- Among the 24,661 allegations of sexual victimization in 2015, a total of 1,473 were substantiated, 10,142 were unfounded, 10,313 were unsubstantiated, and 2,733 were still under investigation.
- The sharp rise in unfounded or unsubstantiated allegations of sexual victimization coincided with the release of the National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape in 2012. It reflects improvements in data collection and reporting by correctional authorities, and increased reporting of allegations by inmates.
Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series
Full report (PDF 316K)
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About the Source Data
National Inmate Survey (NIS)
National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC)
Survey of Sexual Victimization (SSV) (Formerly Survey of Sexual Violence)
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