Magazine article Corrections Forum

Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09

Article excerpt

Between October 2008 and December 2009, BJS completed the second National Inmate Survey (NIS-2) in 167 state and federal prisons, 286 jails, and 10 special confinement facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Military, and correctional authorities in Indian country. The survey, conducted by RTI International (Research Triangle Park, N. C), was administered to 81,566 inmates ages 18 or older. The NIS-2 is part of the National Prison Rape Statistics Program, which collects administrative records of reported sexual violence, and allegations of sexual victimization directly from victims. The survey consisted of an audio computer-assisted self-interview in which inmates, using a touch-screen, interacted with a computer-assisted questionnaire and followed audio instructions delivered via headphones. Some inmates completed a short paper form. Most were in segregated housing or were considered too violent to be interviewed.

The NIS-2 collects only allegations of sexual victimization. Because participation in the survey is anonymous and reports are confidential, the survey does not permit any follow-up investigation or substantiation of reported incidents through review. Some allegations in the NIS-2 may be untrue. At the same time, some inmates may remain silent about sexual victimization experienced in the facility, despite efforts of survey staff to assure inmates that their responses would be kept confidential. Although the effects may be offsetting, the relative extent of under reporting and false reporting in the NIS-2 is unknown.

National Inmate Survey, 2008-09 Highlights


* An estimated 4.4% of prison inmates and 3.1% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Nationwide, these percentages suggest that approximately 88,500 adults held in prisons and jails at the time of the survey had been sexually victimized

* About 2.1% of prison inmates and 1.5% of jail inmates reported an incident involving another inmate. An estimated 1.0% of prison inmates and 0.8% of jail inmates said they had nonconsensual sex with another inmate (the most serious type of acts), including unwilling manual stimulation and oral, anal, or vaginal penetration

* About 2. …

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