12 Percent In Juvenile Facilities Report Sexual Abuse
According to a survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the Department Of Justice released yesterday, 12 percent of youth (3,220) held in custody in state operated and large locally or privately operated juvenile facilities reported experiencing one or more incident of sexual victimization by another youth or, what is even more troubling, by facility staff in a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
About 2.6 percent of youth (700) reported an incident involving another youth, and 10.3 percent (2,730) reported an incident involving facility staff. The 2008-09 National Survey of Youth in Custody was conducted in 195 juvenile confinement facilities between June 2008 and April 2009 with a sample of over 9,000 youth in custody. In 13 facilities, the reported sexual abuses were at the incredible rate of between 25 percent to 30 percent.
In the US penal system, 91 percent of youth in juvenile facilities are boys and 9 percent are girls. Youth in custody who are not heterosexual are at particular risk with 1 in 5 reporting sexual abuse by staff or other youth.
The widespread sexual abuse of children in juvenile facilities, especially sexual abuse from staff members, is yet another example of the incredible failure of the US penal system. The high rate of abuse is a testimony of the US government failure to safeguard the youth in the care of the state. Once the boys and girls held in custody in juvenile facilities are released to the outside world, the scars of countless sexual abuse will remain with them for life. And the 12 percent who were abused are likely, in return, to become the rapists and the child molesters of tomorrow. The US penal system is a scandal and a shame in needs of urgent reforms.
To read the complete survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics click here.