The U.S. Department of Justice reported hat nearly 10% of the prison population has suffered some form of sexual abuse or rape. In fact, rape can occur in prison at the hands of other inmates or guards responsible for their well being.
The report is based on the input from more than 518,000 former inmates on supervised parole that answered questions on the first National Former Prisoners Survey, in 2008.
Surprisingly less reported a nonconsensual encounter with another inmate than with facility staff, with 3.7 percent reporting sexual assault with another inmate and 5.7 percent reporting an unwanted encounter with staff.
“For too long, incidents of sexual abuse against incarcerated persons have not been taken as seriously as sexual abuse outside prison walls,” the Justice Department said in a statement on the standards. “In popular culture, prison rape is often the subject of jokes; in public discourse, it has been at times dismissed by some as an inevitable — or even deserved — consequence of criminality.”
25% of those who were abused by other inmates said they suffered physical injuries from the encounter when forcefully restrained. A third of those who say they suffered abuse at the hands of facility staff members were either talked into it or promised favors and privileges for agreeing to a sexual encounter.
As a result of the survey, new standards of how to handle and prevent such cases occurring at such a rate have been implemented according to Attorney General Eric Holder.
“The standards we establish today reflect the fact that sexual assault crimes committed within our correctional facilities can have devastating consequences — for individual victims and for communities far beyond our jails and prisons,” Holder said in a statement.