The Bureau of Justice Statistics just released a new report on Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities based on a sample of over 9,000 adjudicated youth in 2008-2009. Overall, about 12 percent of youth in these facilities report some form of sexual victimization by staff or other residents. Many of these involved contact between female staff and male youth where no force is involved. Nevertheless, 4.3 percent of the youth reported being sexually victimized by facility staff who used force, threats, or other explicit forms of coercion.
I charted a couple of the differences in victimization by staff and other residents below. Male residents are more likely to report sexual victimization by staff (10.8%) than other residents (2%), while the reverse pattern holds for female residents. And sexual orientation is an important predictor: over 20 percent of “non-heterosexual” youth reported some form of sexual victimization, with 12.5 percent reporting victimization by other youth.
The report “names names” by identifying the rate of sexual victimization in particular institutions (as well as the survey response rate in each institution). In the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Red Wing, for example, about 2.8 percent of youth reported sexual victimization. In Pendleton Juvenile Correction Facility in Indiana, in contrast, the rate was over 36 percent.
While such surveys are now mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, I’m both disturbed by this report’s statistics and impressed by its clear and unflinching presentation.