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DOJ Press Release letterhead

Sunday, July 30, 2006
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Stu Smith
Phone: (202) 307-0784
TTY: (202) 514-1888


      Washington –– Federal, state and local corrections officials reported an estimated 6,241 allegations of sexual violence in prisons and jails during 2005, according to a report released today by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The BJS report, Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities, 2005, said it was the equivalent of 2.8 allegations per 1,000 inmates, up from 2.5 per 1,000 inmates in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities during 2004.

     Federal and state prison systems reported 74 percent of the allegations and local jails reported 22 percent. The remaining 4 percent were in other types of facilities, such as privately administered prisons and jails, military facilities and immigration and customs facilities.

     About 38 percent of the allegations involved staff-initiated sexual misconduct against inmates; 35 percent involved inmate-against-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts; 17 percent staff-involved sexual harassment of inmates; and 10 percent inmate-involved abusive sexual contacts against other inmates.

     Of the 2005 incidents for which investigations had been completed, 885 incidents were substantiated (15 percent). There were 0.40 substantiated incidents of sexual violence per 1,000 inmates reported in 2005, down from 0.55 per 1,000 inmates in adult facilities in 2004.

     Half of the inmate incidents of sexual violence against other inmates involved physical force or threat of force. In more than two-thirds of such incidents, the sexual violence occurred in the victim's cell or living area. In only 21 percent of the incidents did the violence occur in a common area, such as a shower or dayroom.

     Victims received physical injuries in 15 percent of substantiated incidents of inmate sexual violence against other inmates. Medical attention, counseling or mental health treatment was provided in nearly two-thirds of the incidents of nonconsensual sexual acts.

     Almost 50 percent of the victims of nonconsensual sexual acts were placed in protective custody or administrative segregation. In half of the incidents of inmate against inmate sexual violence, the perpetrators were arrested or referred for prosecution; in more than two-thirds of the incidents, the perpetrator was placed in solitary confinement.

     Two-thirds of the incidents of staff sexual misconduct with inmates were reported to be romantic in nature. Fewer than 15 percent of the substantiated incidents involved physical force, abuse of power or pressure by staff. In federal and state prisons 67 percent of the victims of staff misconduct were male; while 62 percent of the perpetrators were female. In local jails 78 percent of the victims were female and 87 percent of the perpetrators were male.

     Most substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct and harassment involved correctional officers (69 percent). About 13 percent of the incidents involved contract employees or vendors. Nearly 90 percent of the perpetrators of staff misconduct were arrested, referred for prosecution or discharged. In incidents involving a romantic relationship between inmate and staff, more than half of the inmates were either transferred to another facility or placed in administrative segregation.

     The data were gathered through an administrative records collection of incidents of inmate and staff sexual violence against inmates reported to correctional authorities. It counted sexual violence in all state prison systems, the federal system and a sample of privately-operated and local jail facilities. The report also includes an update on activities related to implementation of the data collections required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-79). The publication of this report is mandated by statute. Data on sexual violence as reported to the juvenile justice authorities will be published later this year.

     The report, Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities, 2005 (NCJ-214646) was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison. Following publication, the report can be found at:

     Additional information about BJS statistical reports and programs is available from the BJS website at

     The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at