The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) "has not been able to identify the prevalence and scope of inmate-on-staff sexual harassment," says a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general, adding that the problem, mostly affecting female officers, is "widespread," reports ABC News. "Despite the inadequacy of BOP data on inmate-on-staff sexual harassment, we were able to determine that inmate-on-staff sexual harassment occurs across BOP institutions and that BOP staff believe that it particularly affects women," the report said. A staff survey by the inspector general found that 47 percent of female officers had an inmate expose themselves to the officer and 34 percent of female officers reported inmates stalking them. Only 1.8 percent of male officers reported inmates stalking them. Between 2015 and 2021, the IG found that there were at least 12,127 offenses related to sexual acts between inmates and staff victims.
"We found that high security facilities had a substantially higher average number of sanctioned incidents each month compared to administrative security facilities, low security facilities, and the component-wide averages for the most severe prohibited act codes," the IG said. "Throughout this evaluation, we found that when inmate-on-staff sexual harassment is not appropriately and consistently addressed and mitigated it could harm the reputation and credibility of the BOP and that BOP staff believe that it also compromises the safety and security of BOP staff and reduces staff morale." The BOP replied that it takes seriously "our duty to protect the individuals entrusted in our custody, as well as maintain the safety of correctional staff and the community."