Texas juvenile prisons led the nation in incidents of sexual violence during 2005 and 2006, says a new survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported by the Dallas morning News. The bureau cautioned that the survey was “not designed to rank systems” but provides “an understanding of what corrections officials know [and] what information is recorded.” The survey said Texas reported 21 substantiated allegations of staff sexual misconduct with youths in 2005 and 2006. No other state reported more than nine. Texas reported 26 substantiated allegations of “youth on youth nonconsensual sexual acts.” The next highest was Wisconsin, with nine.
Texas accounted for 29 percent of substantiated allegations nationwide, though the state’s share of youth incarcerated was only 11 percent of the national total. The Texas Youth Commission, which incarcerates juvenile offenders, collapsed in 2007 after revelations of widespread sexual and physical abuse of inmates. Commission spokesman Jim Hurley said many improvements have been made to combat sexual assault, including the installation of surveillance cameras and complaint hotlines and a strengthened inspector general’s office.