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Report: 90,000 Inmates Sexually Victimized

The numbers are staggering. The problem is overwhelming.

The government reported Thursday that in the past year, 4.4 percent of inmates in prison and 3.1 percent of inmates in jail report being victimized sexually by another inmate or staff member.

According to a study by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, those percentages mean that 88,500 inmates behind bars were the victim of sex crimes nationwide from October 2008 to December 2009.

Other facts revealed from the study:

* Female inmates were more than twice as likely as male inmates to report experiencing sexual victimization by another inmate.

* Among inmates who reported victimization by another inmate, 13 percent of male prison inmates and 19 percent of male jail inmates said they were victimized within the first 24 hours after being admitted to a corrections facility. In contrast, the figure for women was 4 percent for prison and jail.

Pat Nolan, vice president of the Prison Fellowship said in a statement he,

“Finds the problem is even worse than we thought.”

A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Baptist Convention issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month urging that he approve standards designed to eliminate prison rape.

Justice Department spokesperson Hannah August who expects to send the proposed rule to the White House Budget Management in the fall had this to say,

“We are working diligently to implement these standards soon as possible.”

With tens of thousands of rapes occurring in America’s prisons each year, sexual victimization is one of the many ills of the current prison system. The actual number of rapes that occur in prisons are sure to be much higher as countless numbers of assaults undoubtedly go on unreported.