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U.S. News

Report: 90,000 Inmates Sexually Victimized

August 31, 2010

A new study by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that 4.4 percent of prison inmates and 3.1 percent of jail inmates reported being sexually abused by another inmate or staff member in the previous 12 months. Nationwide, the percentages translate to the sexual victimization of 88,500 inmates in 2008-09.

Tens of thousands of rapes are being committed each year in U.S. prisons, and the new study "finds the problem is even worse than we thought," said Pat Nolan, vice president of Prison Fellowship.


Earlier this month, a coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Baptist Convention called on Attorney General Eric Holder to approve standards aimed at eliminating prison sexual assault. Proposed by the bipartisan Prison Rape Elimination Commission, the standards include screening inmates for risk of victimization; putting in place procedures to manage inmate predators and prosecuting them when appropriate; and focusing on treatment and care of victims.

"I regret that we will not meet Congress' deadline" of June 2010 for completing work on the standards, Holder wrote in a recent letter to the two main sponsors of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which set up the commission. The attorney general explained he believes it is "essential to take the time necessary to craft regulations that will endure."

According to the study, female inmates were more than twice as likely as their male counterparts to report sexual abuse by another inmate. Among those who did, 13 percent of male prison inmates and 19 percent of male jail detainees said they were victimized within the first 24 hours of admission. For women in prison and jail, the figure was 4 percent.

To view the report, visit

Back to other news for August 2010

Adapted from:
Associated Press
08.26.2010; Pete Yost

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More Statistics on HIV-Positive Incarcerated Populations in the U.S.

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