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More Than 2,600 Inmate-on-Inmate Sex Victimizations In 3 Years

Between 2016 and 2018, corrections authorities nationwide reported 2,666 incidents of inmate sexual victimization by another inmate and 2,229 incidents by staff, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. During the same period, were 1,023 inmate-on-inmate incidents of nonconsensual sexual acts and 1,643 substantiated incidents of abusive sexual contact. Inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization involves nonconsensual sexual acts or abusive contact with a victim without his or her consent or with a victim who cannot consent or refuse. Nearly a third of nonconsensual sexual acts occurred in the victim’s cell or room and a third of abusive sexual contact incidents occurred in common areas, such as bathrooms, showers and dayrooms. Half of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization incidents occurred in an area not under video surveillance.


About nine percent of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization incidents resulted in physical injury to the victim and four percent resulted in major injuries, such as stab wounds, broken bones or internal injuries. The victim was given a medical examination in 61 percent of nonconsensual sexual acts and in 36 percent of abusive sexual contacts. The perpetrator was placed in solitary or disciplinary custody in 62 percent of nonconsensual sexual acts and 55 percent of abusive sexual contacts. Half of nonconsensual sexual acts resulted in some form of legal action for the perpetrator. Correctional officers or supervisory staff perpetrated about two-thirds of staff-on-inmate incidents, while maintenance or facility support staff (13 percent) and medical or health care staff (10 percent) were less likely to be staff perpetrators. The findings are based on data from the Survey of Sexual Victimization, which BJS conducts annually, partly under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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