Some 8,763 allegations of sexual victimization were reported in U.S. adult correctional facilities in 2011, an increase over the 7,855 total for 2009 and the 8,404 reported in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) said today. However, only 902 allegations of sexual victimization were substantiated, about 10 percent, a percentage that has not changed significantly since 2005. The findings are based on annual surveys under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of adult prison systems, public and private jails, private prisons, jails in Indian country and facilities operated by the U.S. military and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A little over half of the allegations involved nonconsensual sexual acts, ranging from penetration to unwanted touching, grabbing and groping among inmates Nearly half involved staff sexual misconduct directed toward an inmate by staff or sexual harassment of inmates. Of the substantiated victimizations, an estimated 44 percent involved physical force or threat of force. More than half (54 percent) of substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct were committed by female staff. Among all substantiated incidents between 2009 and 2011, 84 percent of those perpetrated by female staff involved a sexual relationship that “appeared to be willing,” compared to 37 percent of those perpetrated by male staff. Any sexual contact between inmates and staff is illegal, regardless of whether it “appeared to be willing.”