The new Justice Department survey of sexual abuse in juvenile prisons found that in some facilities in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas, more than 30 percent of youths reported they had been sexually victimized, reports USA Today. The study, the first of its kind, shows a rate of sexual assault more than seven times higher than that indicated by a 2008 Justice Department report that collected sexual abuse claims to juvenile facility administrators.
It is also higher than a similar study of adult prisons because of the “very high rate of staff sexual misconduct,” said Allen Beck, who directed the survey for the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The survey of 9,198 youths ages 13 to 21 – all in custody by court order – included methods to eliminate interviews considered unreliable. The survey covered 195 facilities, at least one in each state. Approximately 26,550 juveniles – 91 percent of them boys – are held in more than 500 such facilities around the country.