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1 in 10 State Prisoners Is Sexually Abused

Update Date: May 22, 2012 12:37 PM EDT

According to a Justice Department study released last Thursday, findings suggest that every one in ten prisoners is sexually harassed and abused while serving their time. The Bureau of Justice Statistics examined data collected in surveys of former prisoners about their time behind bars. The study shows that most of these prisoners were assaulted when in state prison while a few were sexually abused when in local jails or halfway houses. What was even more astonishing was that this rate of victimization was found to be 9.6 percent which in nearly double the rate that was reported in the year 2008.

"Among all victims of inmate-on-inmate sexual violence, a quarter said they had been physically held down or restrained, and a quarter had been physically harmed or injured," the report said. About 29% of the victims reported bruises, black eyes, sprains, cuts and scratches, but 23% reported more serious injuries, including stab wounds, internal injuries, and broken bones.

In response, the Justice Department announced it is establishing rules "to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse in confinement facilities"

The steps include screening inmates for risk of being sexually abused or sexually abusive, and training prison employees.

"The standards we establish today reflect the fact that sexual assault crimes committed within our correctional facilities can have devastating consequences for individual victims and for communities far beyond our jails and prisons," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a written statement.

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